The Next Big Thing in Online Business – Trends To Watch Out For

By Farah Ahmed , May 24 2023

Featured Image: iStock/Lesia_G

This is one question that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. What’s going to be the next best thing in the world of eCommerce or online business? With the AI race changing the world as we know it one day at a time, how are things going to look for businesses in the future? Or even a year or a few months from now.

So I discovered quite a few things that we are going to talk about here. While you may be familiar with some of the trends, others might be quite surprising!

What Has Changed in ecommerce

For the past few years, the eCommerce industry has been growing rapidly. In 2021, online businesses generated 19 percent of the overall retail sales across the globe. This number is expected to increase to a quarter of global retail sales by 2026.

Today, it’s not just Gen Z or millennials who prefer to look for products and services online. Its everyone. The change in buying patterns and consumer behavior is causing businesses to shift shifting towards eCommerce quickly and explore opportunities to generate higher revenues.

Technology has also made it a lot easier for companies in the digital world to reach out to their target customers effectively. Businesses can use different UI and UX tools for eCommerce or leverage platforms to build a strong presence and create recognition online.

The Next Big Thing in Online Business

Now, it can be a bit overwhelming to keep track of all the latest developments or new technologies. To make this easier, let’s take a look at the next best thing in online business.

Personalization With AI

The competition within the eCommerce industry is increasing with time. It can be slightly challenging for brands or businesses to engage their audience and grab attention on various mediums. This is where personalization can make a huge impact on conversions and organic traffic.

Today, most people base their purchasing decisions on the user experience. In fact, the role of UX in eCommerce conversions is quite integral. For instance, if a website or eCommerce platform offers personalized recommendations for returning visitors or is interactive, it might be able to attract more visitors than the competitors.

AI technology and machine learning have simplified the process of tracking user journeys for marketers and business owners. You can create personalized content for your target audience and offer them options according to their interests or preferences.

This way, people can get a good user experience from the beginning to check out and return to the website too.


Many online businesses are already adopting personalization with AI. Just take a look at the website for Martes Sport where visitors can find information about any featured product by hovering over the image.

This allows consumers to interact with the website and get personalized recommendations based on their user journey on the platform.

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It’s certainly the next best thing in eCommerce as it allows small brands or startups to appear distinct from others. Other than this, your branding strategy also plays an important role in making a good impression on first-time visitors.

Before launching the website, it’s a good idea to get a professional logo for the website so you can maintain consistency with branding.


This term has become popular in the past two years when businesses around the world were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Q-commerce or quick commerce is known to be the next best thing in online business.

It focuses on improving customer experiences by providing fast delivery of products, foods, or any other item. With the pandemic shutting down businesses, many people got groceries, electronics, furniture, and clothes delivered in a few hours or minutes.

The trend has continued in the present with more companies offering quick deliveries to customers. People can also expect to get anything in less than an hour. Businesses can partner with a delivery service and automate their processes to shift towards Q-Commerce.


You can consider the example of Delivery Hero here. The service has leveraged this trend successfully and experienced growth quickly as well. Delivery Hero is now present in 70 countries across the globe.

It allows small to mid-range businesses to offer faster deliveries to their customers everywhere. The company realized that consumer behavior was changing quickly and adopted Q-Commerce to meet their requirements in a post-COVID world.

In this day and age, businesses should take advantage of this model and boost their sales and revenue over a few months.

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Live Chat Bots

Now, it is quickly becoming a standard feature within most online business websites. Live chatbots can help business owners interact with visitors in real time and convert leads too. With AI (hello ChatGPT!), this technology has become more advanced and targeted.

This feature allows eCommerce companies to find out what potential customers are looking for on the website and direct them toward the information or products. According to a report by Garter, almost a quarter of businesses around the world will be using chatbots to provide customer service by 2027.

AI-powered chatbots can also create personalized responses for queries that are not included in FAQs (frequently answered questions). You can add the tool to a professionally designed website and improve response time as well.

The feature makes it easier to offer responsive customer support without the additional cost of hiring a team or representatives. This also highlights the brand voice of a company and helps build recognition among the audience.


You may come across quite a few eCommerce websites that use chatbots to increase visitor engagement. Peloton is one example of a platform where the live chat option allows people to get instant answers to their questions.

The chatbot can also connect them to a team representative in case more details or instructions are required.

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Virtual Experience in Metaverse

If you think about it, the metaverse has become one of the biggest trends in the digital world. Businesses are using various tools to reach out to a younger demographic of consumers and generate higher sales through VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality).

Currently, established brands are actively leveraging the platforms and communities in the metaverse. They are using technology to improve customer experience and help people make well-informed decisions.


Amazon is increasing its reach in the metaverse with the new tool, Amazon View. It allows users to see their house or rooms in 3D and get a close look at how different furniture items or décor might look in that location. People can change the placement or sizes before purchasing the products.

The augmented rooms are presented in the metaverse and can help potential customers get a real shopping experience online. Since they cannot physically view or test the items, the tool gives an insight into how they will appear.

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This is just one way that businesses can provide consumers with a virtual experience in the metaverse. You can also host events and extensive tours to engage with the target audience in real-time.

This helps create a positive perception of the business and leads to an increase in the conversion rate as well. People will be more likely to signup for a subscription to the newsletter or latest announcements or give their contact information for further details.

Social Commerce

You might already be familiar with this next best thing in online business. Social commerce is being adopted by many companies today. Most consumers are likely to browse social media platforms such as Instagram and Tiktok, or even Facebook to look for eCommerce platforms or products to buy directly.

Social commerce allows people to look for certain items and purchase immediately without even leaving the page or network. Having a presence on different platforms is also essential for branding and promotions.

Your social media pages are an important part of the strategy. Visual posts, videos, infographics, and blogs can create familiarity among the customer base. You can draw attention to your brand colors, logo design, and tone of voice successfully. It also helps increase engagement and can boost traffic to the eCommerce platform or website.


According to a report, 77 percent of consumers are likely to choose a business over its competitors if they have a positive experience with it on social media. Social commerce continues to dominate the industry since it attracts smartphone users and reduces the ‘abandon cart’ too.

People can easily checkout via social media networks and return to the page or website too. Consider this example from Kylie Jenner’s feed. It allows people to easily shop Kylie Cosmetic products directly and find them on the website too.

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Search with Visuals

While it’s an ongoing trend in the eCommerce industry, you could also consider it the next best thing that is likely to dominate in the future as well. Visual search is being widely used by Gen Z and millennials to find products and locate websites or stores.

With tools like Google Lens, it has become a lot easier for people to browse for an item that they like. Image search allows consumers to take a photo of a product nearby and access the website that sells it.

This helps people enjoy their shopping experience online and save time on looking for similar items. Now, the visual search feature is available to consumers across the globe but it still needs to be completely adopted by businesses in the digital world.

When it’s incorporated within different applications and websites, consumers may be convinced to make a purchase instantly. This feature can have a huge impact on sales and revenue too.


To grab the attention of potential customers, it’s a good idea to optimize the visuals on your eCommerce store. This will allow people to view the relevant page or item within seconds. It also helps boost visibility in search engine results. Google, for instance, is likely to rank web pages that are optimized for visual search higher than others.

You can take the example of Pretty Little Thing here. The website has a visual search option that allows potential customers to upload an image and find their desired products. It can make the shopping experience great for people and turn them into loyal customers too!.

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Sustainable Goals

When it comes to online businesses, sustainability is another thing that most potential customers look for. As people become aware of the impact of their behavior on the environment and society, they tend to adopt ways to reduce it.

Mintel conducted research that established that 51 percent of consumers in the US were willing to pay a higher price for a product from a socially aware business.

This is where promoting sustainable goals can help an online business gain the attention of the target audience. It’s a good idea to align with a cause or social issue that helps consumers feel more involved and optimistic too.


Many businesses in this day and age are supporting eco-friendly practices and sustainability. Consumers can find out about recycling or how different products are created with natural ingredients. It helps them decide about the brand and visit the page or website later too.

Check out this example of Reve en vert. The headline on the home page hooks the visitor in with the promise of sustainable living. It is a good way to show how socially aware a business is and its impact on the environment as well.

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You can certainly take inspiration from this online business and incorporate your sustainable goals in your purpose or mission statement.

How Does this Help Online Businesses Increase Sales?

The eCommerce industry is changing quickly every year. This means that business owners need to follow trends and developments closely. It allows them to adopt new technology and practices to grab the attention of a wider audience.

If you think about it, companies that have been slow to shift or transform with time, have experienced difficulty in staying relevant today. Those online businesses that track and follow the next best thing can expand or adopt newer models for growth.

Today, AI tools are taking a central role in an eCommerce platform. Business owners can reach out to younger consumers successfully and promote their products on a global level. Machine learning and AI software allow online businesses to provide a great user experience to visitors that can help them build a loyal customer base as well.

Businesses can also integrate them with their platforms or websites easily and engage with visitors to keep them on the page for a long time. You can also leverage big data and analytics to market your products visually.

To maximize sales, retailers should streamline store operations both online on eCommerce platforms and in physical stores. Thus customers will have a better omnichannel shopping experience and you also can get better performance from multiple sales channels.

All of this can help business owners attract quality leads and increase sales quickly. Social media networks can also work very well for online platforms looking to earn higher profits. By setting up stores or shops on Facebook or Instagram, they can make it easier for people to discover and buy products.

Many companies are actively using the platforms to market different items and build awareness too. You can collaborate with influencers or create user-generated campaigns with catch hashtags to grab the attention of potential customers.

These are just some ways the latest trends can help online businesses increase sales. Once you know what is likely to dominate in the future within your industry, you can start making relevant changes to your platform or website.

The Bottom Line

Becoming familiar with the next best thing in online business is a good idea. This way, you can use different technologies or AI tools for better results. You can leverage them to stand out from the competitors and gain an edge in the digital world. The key is to focus on creating a smooth customer journey and user experience for visitors. It can help them remember your business and visit the website later on as well.

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Farah Ahmed is a content marketer who writes about branding and visual design for e-commerce and SaaS startups and SMEs. She has a keen interest in SEO techniques, analytics, and content strategy. Can talk endlessly about all things technology. Has a pile of books waiting to be read.


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