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GUEST COMMENT Navigating the technological and consumer landscape: Insights into ecommerce trends for 2024

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In 2024, the ecommerce and logistics landscapes are evolving at a rapid pace. Ed Turner, from Asendia UK, predicts widespread adaptation of AI and VR to meet the changing needs and preferences of consumers.

One of the primary drivers of our industry’s transformation is the adoption of cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR). These technologies are changing traditional business models and processes, particularly in logistics operations. 

Not a day goes by without news of technology being deployed to streamline fulfilment and delivery operations, automated warehouses, AI-powered route optimisation, and VR-enhanced supply chain management are just a few examples of how technology is being deployed to drive efficiency and scalability to unprecedented levels. As businesses strive to meet the growing demands of an increasingly digital market, and overcome challenges such as labour shortages, these innovations are becoming indispensable tools for staying competitive and agile in the ecommerce ecosystem.

However, the technological revolution is not confined to the logistics side of ecommerce. Consumer behaviours and preferences are undergoing a significant shift, fuelled by advancements in technology and changing expectations. There is the rise of hyper-personalised shopping interactions and immersive product engagements as key trends shaping the e-commerce landscape. Consumers are seeking more than just transactions; they crave personalised experiences that resonate with their individual preferences and lifestyles. By leveraging AI and VR technologies, businesses can deliver tailored experiences that foster customer loyalty and satisfaction, ultimately driving long-term growth and success. Recent launches by Amazon and Mr Porter, of virtual try on tools, are a case in point. 

Despite these technological advancements, authenticity remains a crucial factor influencing consumer behaviour in 2024. Asendia’s recent survey reveals that a significant majority (70%) of UK shoppers are willing to pay more for authentic brands, prioritising factors such as delivering on promises, supply chain transparency, and sustainability commitments. This underscores the importance for e-commerce businesses to maintain transparency and authenticity in their operations to build and retain consumer trust.

In the midst of an ongoing cost-of-living crisis, striking the right balance between service and cost has become paramount for ecommerce businesses. With consumers feeling the pinch of rising expenses, factors such as delivery and return costs weigh heavily on their purchasing decisions. Globally, 43% of online shoppers consider delivery costs as pivotal alongside value for money and product quality, highlighting the importance of cost-effective and efficient logistics solutions in the e-commerce industry.

Moreover, sustainability practices are increasingly influencing purchasing decisions in 2024. Eco-conscious consumers are actively seeking out brands that prioritise green initiatives throughout the supply chain, reflecting a growing awareness and concern for environmental issues. As sustainability continues to gain momentum as a key consideration for consumers, e-commerce businesses are under pressure to adopt and promote environmentally friendly practices to remain competitive in the market.

The ecommerce landscape in 2024 is characterised by technological innovation, shifting consumer preferences, and a growing emphasis on authenticity and sustainability. Businesses that adapt to these changes and leverage emerging technologies to enhance consumer experiences and streamline logistical operations will be well-positioned to thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Ed Turner, chief information officer, Asendia UK

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