7 Ecommerce Trends To Watch Out For In 2021
The global coronavirus pandemic brought the significance of consumer internet and ecommerce to the forefront. In the midst of digital disruption, consumers and businesses are increasingly adopting online channels to meet their needs and conduct business respectively.
Retail closures, travel bans and lockdowns across the world forced consumers online, and big retailers soon followed suit.
Ecommerce has been growing at an average of 15 percent year-over-year, but it grew over twice that number in 2020.
A UNCTAD report revealed that the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 saw a dramatic rise in ecommerce with increased online retail sales’ share of total retails jumping up 3 percent from 16 percent to 19 percent.
The potential for ecommerce to grow in 2021 and beyond lies in some key trends, which can help brands better compete with retail giants and marketplaces while investing in richer, more personalized user experiences.
If you’re still in a quandary about the future of ecommerce, here’s a breakdown of the 7 ecommerce trends to watch out for in 2021 against a backdrop of an already steadily thriving industry.
In 2021, consumers dictate how and where they make a purchase. More than ever, ecommerce brands will need to adapt and communicate with their customers differently, which is why we’ve put together seven trends to help you navigate through the changing times.
For many businesses, 2020 was a challenging year with many experiencing issues with inventory, closures, and significant marketing and sales adjustments in a bid to meet a new retail landscape.
Some of these challenges spilled over to online marketplaces, for instance, Amazon, which experienced significant inventory issues and delays due to the pandemic.
Despite the issues, ecommerce sales have been growing constantly thanks to the exciting growth that came with the pandemic. Online marketplaces like Walmart, eBay and Amazon are thriving as consumers flock to the internet to fulfill their needs.
People across the world are increasingly turning to ecommerce stores in part because of the pandemic, but also because of the level of comfort it provides to online shoppers.
Online buyers are also increasingly trusting of ecommerce retailers when they purchase online, even as websites improve the user experience and become more customer friendly.
For instance, Target and Walmart invested in curbside pickup and same-day delivery options, both of which were met with enthusiastic responses from shoppers.
Customers want safer, more diverse and more convenient ways to make their purchases in 2021. Investing in convenient experiences such as digital selection, faster shipping and easy pickup services will continue to do well in 2021.
Ecommerce is extremely competitive, which is why brands need to work on the user experience and delivery frameworks. You can’t be telling your customers that shipments are delayed due to the pandemic when your competition is solidly back on next-day delivery.
Consider exploring third-party local delivery partners or configure your own local delivery to provide a self-managed option altogether.
The increase in usage of mobile devices has in part contributed to the growth of ecommerce. Payvision expects that the growth of mobile commerce that was experienced in 2020 will rise further from $2.66 trillion to $3.79 trillion by 2022.
Stores are investing in more convenient and diverse user experiences, which includes improving the ecommerce experience for their mobile customers.
This is because consumers use their mobile gadgets to research and surf the web before making purchase decisions.
As the consumers’ trust in online shopping increases, they start feeling more comfortable making purchases from their devices, especially with the digital natives who grew up surrounded by the Internet and computers.
Consumers are also hesitant to return to in-store shopping having shopped online since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A survey by Shopify revealed 38 percent of consumers who shopped in-store before are doing so less often now than earlier in the year.
In addition, new stores created on Shopify grew 71 percent in the second quarter of 2020 compared to quarter one in the same year, and a record number of merchants were added to Shopify in the third quarter that year.
More than half of consumers avoided shopping during peak hours or where there were crowds in the past six months while 46 percent said they were uncomfortable shopping in-store or in-person.
Ecommerce brands need to ensure that their sites are responsive and optimized for mobile devices in order to make online shopping simpler and more accessible for larger audiences.
Results of a survey dubbed Future of Commerce 2021 carried out by Shopify revealed five key predictions, the first one being that young consumers will change the ecommerce business landscape.
This is especially so for millennials and Gen-Z consumers whose buying behavior shifted to ecommerce since precipitated by the pandemic. This cohort of consumers will continue to drive forward this behavioral shift.
For this reason, brands need to invest in social media platforms and presence, strengthen their omnichannel strategies, and demonstrate authenticity to get fortitude with this generation.
Targeting the younger generation is a sure way of increasing your sales potential, but it’s going to mean increased social media marketing efforts as these young consumers buy from brands they discover online.
Gen-Zers also want more interactive content like quizzes or polls published on social media, and seeing user-generated content across all channels. They also want ecommerce brands to be authentic, meaning you need to have more real people in ads.
Ecommerce brands are doing more influencer marketing, which is successful owing to its authenticity, which Gen-Zers want. This group of consumers also want transparency in advertisements otherwise they won’t just accept celebrity endorsements.
Another way to reach this cohort of consumers is to keep it short. The average attention span of Gen-Zers is 8 seconds while that of millennials is 12 seconds.
Consequently, marketing messages need to be brief and to the point, but they also have to be communicated within a very short time.
Leverage visuals instead of long-form text posts to capture their attention, write short-form texts, use memes, GIFs and emojis to get their attention.
Going mobile is another strategy to capture the millennials and Gen-Zers, who are the digital natives of our time. Their mobile phone is their primary device, with 98 percent of them owning a smartphone.
Ecommerce brands need to be mobile-friendly and resonate with these consumers through top-notch user experiences. Connect with them on the right channel, use short sentences, bullet points and subheads while ensuring that they soak up the important information in a short period of time.
Social shoppers are rapidly increasing online especially with the advent of social media online marketplaces such as those on Facebook and Instagram.
The two giant social media platforms, both owned by Facebook, also offer the Buy button and Checkout features, informed by the impact of social media in the ecommerce world.
Social media has changed how people shop and buy things, which for ecommerce brands means a shift in how they position themselves on social platforms to be discovered by consumers.
This is especially the case with the younger generation of consumers as they discover independent brands on social media platforms.
Working with social media influencers is one of the best ways for ecommerce brands to increase the chances of getting discovered by their target audiences.
Besides using influencers, ecommerce brands can link their stores with social media sites for direct purchases via platforms like Facebook, Instagram and others that provide convenience and comfort for online buyers.
Another rising platform is TikTok, which has captured the hearts of teenagers. The app is also working on adding ecommerce elements to include features like shoppable links in videos or user profiles.
Brands that adopt a social media strategy with a shopping-focused approach will see an increase in their sales and business growth over time as more consumers discover them as they scroll through their feeds.
The brand experience needs to communicate a consistent narrative across all your devices, contexts and channels.
For ecommerce brands, it means consistency must be seen in the online store in order to deliver bespoke customer service while delivering great shopping experiences online.
Omnichannel strategies are critical in the ecommerce space especially for brands looking to expand. More customers shop online, meaning the consistency and cohesiveness of the ecommerce brands needs to be spread across marketplaces and social media.
Among the omnichannel experiences you should expect to see more of in 2021 include social selling through video content, which is informed by the fact that consumers spend about a third of their time online watching videos.
Plus, as consumers watch a video about a product, there’s a higher likelihood that they’ll buy it, which makes social selling via video a major ecommerce trend.
Omnichannel also makes it easier for marketers to verify that their campaigns result in offline sales. With multi-channel attribution, it’s possible to meet customers across channels, anywhere they are and deploy analytics across channels to study the omnichannel performance.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, multi-channel attribution will go a long way in ensuring that ecommerce brands track their omnichannel success with greater accuracy.
Omnichannel experiences also ensure that consumers’ feelings of disconnectedness brought about by the worldwide pandemic reduces. In short, when paired with more emphasis on community, omnichannel technology is a viable antidote to customer disconnect and isolation.
Shoppable video and touchless or contactless transactions are also great omnichannel solutions that help brands target specific segments and provide more convenience.
As the global pandemic pushes us further toward a world that’s digital first, ecommerce brands will have to work harder and smarter to deliver rich and compelling experiences for consumers.
Ecommerce stores will have to work harder to hold customers’ attention in a crowded marketplace. Fortunately, the technologies to create such experiences are more accessible today than before, giving brands more opportunities to get creative and innovative with their stores and offerings.
Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the trending ways the ecommerce brands in 2021 and beyond can deliver the best possible experiences.
Customers can be immersed in an exciting and engaging ecommerce experience through video, AR and 3D technologies, to spark feeling and engagement while giving the shoppers something they can interact with.
According to PR Newswire, more than 120,000 stores will be using AR technologies by 2022, which promises a richer buying experience.
The retail workforce and online shoppers together will drive the uptake of AR technologies in the ecommerce sector. However, the inability to see the product firsthand is one of the challenges that consumers raise, which AR technologies can resolve.
Through AR experiences, it’s possible for customers to visualize the products they want, change how they perceive the products they’re interested in and those they intend to buy.
In addition, AR will also help customers understand their needs, and whether the products they want to buy meet those needs and demands.
Some ecommerce brands are already experimenting with AR technologies in a bid to have a competitive edge against other brands and allow for better online shopping.
While 2020 didn’t turn out as planned, the pandemic massively accelerated several ecommerce trends that we’re already seeing, and that will continue into 2021 and beyond. In fact, the pandemic packed a decade of ecommerce growth into one year.
Consumers who were working remotely from home dramatically changed their shopping behavior as businesses were forced to go online for the first time or invest more into digital channels and any existing ecommerce platforms.
Online buyers’ demand keeps shifting and ecommerce is set to grow even more exponentially, meaning brands need to adapt in order to survive what’s coming while setting themselves apart from the competition.
Keep in mind these seven ecommerce trends as you work on your current or next ecommerce strategy, store or app to be more prepared for what consumers need in 2021 and beyond.
Vibhav Gaur plays a key role in empowering Ebzion’s Automobile Aftermarket clients to sustainably grow their online revenues by leveraging technology + digital marketing.
With a strong background in technology and key focus in Automotive marketing he has helped multiple aftermarket OEMs and Retailers make it big online.
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