Whether you’re an online-only merchant or a retailer with physical and virtual stores, part of your business model includes getting your products to the buyer as quickly as possible. Some businesses take care of fulfilling their orders, while others use a third-party logistics (3PL) company to handle the process of picking, packing, and shipping their products.
As an e-merchant, you want to sell high-demand products that do not require large storage areas. The lower the cost of storing and shipping, the greater the profit margin, especially as more consumers expect free shipping. A January 2022 survey of online shoppers found that the number one item they look for when considering a purchase is free shipping. In fact, 76% looked for free shipping before looking at the price (73%).
As you’re deciding what to include in your product line for 2023, consider the following trending products for online merchants.
Apparel refers to more than clothing. It includes shoes, hats, gloves, or any item that can be worn on the body. Online merchants sell everything from handbags to socks. McKinsey sees the fashion industry returning to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022 or early 2023. Easy return policies have encouraged more consumers to purchase apparel online.
However, many retailers are starting to charge a return fee. With shipping costs rising and an uncertain economy, retailers can no longer afford free returns. As you look at your business plan for 2023, ensure you have a cost-effective solution for return processing.
About half of US consumers search for information online ahead of purchasing electronics. Before the pandemic, consumers researched online but purchased their electronics in stores. Now shoppers are more comfortable purchasing electronics online. Consumer electronics ranks fourth on the list of most products sold online as of 2022.
Electronics isn’t just TVs, computers, and large-ticket items. Wearable electronics such as smartwatches, wireless earbuds, or sound-canceling headphones are all items that sell online. They are easily stored. However, electronics are sensitive to extremes in weather and can be damaged if not packaged appropriately. Ensuring that the items arrive in working order saves on returned items and unfavorable reviews.
Food and Beverage
People are more comfortable purchasing food and beverages online. They are also trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Online sellers of food or beverages should consider the following trends:
- Supply chain transparency
- Sustainable packaging
- Plant-based foods
Consumers are extending their wellness focus to beverages. Sales of non-alcoholic and low-calorie beers have increased as people look to lower their alcohol consumption. For non-alcoholic beverages, such as coffee, tea, bottled water, juices, and soft drinks, the industry trends also focus on health. Shoppers are interested in low-calorie options and beverages that add nutrients or other benefits.
While looking for a healthier lifestyle, many adults are also concerned about the health and well-being of the planet. They want to know where the products are sourced and how they are processed and delivered. Finding a 3PL partner that offers transparent fulfillment services and sustainable packaging alternatives may be a faster route than trying to do it yourself.
Health and Beauty
According to Statista, the pandemic and associated digitization have moved buyers to purchase more cosmetics and personal care items online. People want products that provide reliable sun protection and have anti-aging capabilities. Because consumers use these products as part of their self-care routines, they expect them to arrive on time so their daily routines are not disrupted.
As an online merchant, you’ll want to ensure you have inventory in place to handle last-minute requests and sufficient supply to meet routine demand. If products are unavailable or arrive late, shoppers will look for an alternative. You want to have a fulfillment service that can deliver orders on time and in pristine condition, even if it means finding an alternative route.
Jewelry is a personal statement. Whether a diamond tennis bracelet or a top-of-the-line watch, people want their jewelry to reflect who they are. Selling luxury jewelry online means having security in place to ensure your merchandise is safe. It also demands a secure method of shipping.
If the item is a gift, it needs to reflect the sentiment of the buyer. Jewelry is often given to celebrate life-changing moments or to let someone know they’re loved. For those special moments, the process from purchase to delivery must be flawless. You’ll need a logistics partner that knows how to deliver white-glove fulfillment service.
Nutraceutical supplements are part of the growing trend toward a healthier lifestyle. Many people are unable to meet their nutritional needs through diet alone. For vegans, supplements are often necessary to meet their B12 needs. Vitamin D is used to compensate for fewer hours of daylight in northern locations.
Supplements come in various forms, from pills to powders. No matter the shape, these nutraceuticals require special handling. Extracts may require climate-controlled storage to maintain shelf life. Others may be sensitive to humidity.
Having a distributed inventory can lower shipping costs and expedite delivery times. As with many health and personal care products, reliable, on-time delivery is an essential part of doing business.
An increase in pet ownership has seen a rise in demand for pet supplies. Ordering pet and animal food online has made shopping for pet products extremely convenient. As long as the food arrives on time, pet owners are not faced with running to the store to pick up food at the last minute.
Whether toys or beds, 85% of pet parents purchase online. That’s a large market, given that the demand has increased by 450% in the last 25 years. Part of the increase occurred in the last three years when people traveled less. With more time spent at home, people devote more time and money to their furry friends.
Pets are four-legged family members. People are as concerned with their pets’ health, and any disruption to their food supply or medications is viewed negatively. Online stores need to ensure they have the appropriate level of inventory to meet demand.
With health playing a larger role in an individual’s lifestyle, exercise has become a daily routine for many. This change in focus has increased growth in the market to an estimated 4.1% over the period from 2016 through 2023. Sporting goods encompasses equipment, clothing, footwear, and memorabilia.
The flexibility in the market means online merchants can pick from easily stored items such as clothing or footwear to one-of-a-kind memorabilia. Consumers expect the same rapid delivery of sporting goods as they do for any other online purchase. Making sure you have a seamless process in place from order to delivery ensures that whatever item is purchased arrives on time.
With an experienced logistics partner, online sporting goods merchants can offer prompt delivery while maintaining an acceptable profit margin.
Toys and games are not just for children. A rise in “kidult” toys has opened another market. More adults are purchasing toys that they enjoyed as children. Board games or stuffed animals are items often purchased by kidults.
Just like the children’s toy market, the kidult market changes frequently. To stay current, you’ll need an inventory management system that tracks orders to ensure you have the right items on hand. Matching inventory to demand is much easier with an automated system.
Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG)
Packaged goods are items that are consumed and replaced consistently. Cleaning products and household supplies are two examples of CPG. These consumables require a consistent supply chain that manages inventory so you never have to display “out of stock” on your website.
With the right inventory management system, you can ensure you have enough items to meet last-minute demand without excess inventory. With end-to-end visibility, you’ll be in control of your product lines.
Whether your business offers toys or trinkets, you’ll need a 3PL partner with the experience to address your picking, packing, and shipping needs. Symbia Logistics has the knowledge and resources to meet online merchant needs. Why not contact us to get your business moving?