Tips & Guides — 09 Mar 2021
The Future of eCommerce – 10 Trends to Watch in 2021
Last year has become a turning point for the eCommerce industry. The COVID-19 pandemic has provoked a 16.5% spike in eCommerce sales. 150 million people have tried online shopping for the first time, and a whopping 60% of them are going to continue purchasing from eCommerce websites.
The flip side of these changes is rapidly increasing competition. To stay in line and attract new customers, consider following the main market tendencies. Here are ten eCommerce trends to watch in 2021:
These eCommerce trends work both for B2C and B2B segments, as the B2B sector experiences rapid growth. Also, the share of Millennials among B2B buyers is rising, and they expect a customer-centric approach from retailers.
The rise of augmented reality (AR) has been a persistent trend in the eCommerce industry for several years. Potential customers favored this technology – 35% of people said they would buy online more if they had an opportunity to try on a product.
The pandemic speeded up the AR implementation for many eCommerce businesses. In 2021, customers still stay under strict lockdowns and miss visiting offline shops. Thus, they’re eager to play with augmented reality to get in-store experiences on eCommerce sites. No wonder the AI and VR market is projected to rise from $12 to $30.7 billion in 2021.
Apparel, beauty, and home decor are the sectors that will benefit the most from the eCommerce trend on AR-based services. Some leading eCommerce stores have already adopted this technology. For instance, a couple of years ago, Sephora launched a mobile application, Virtual Artist, which allows users to try on a makeup look and buy new products.
In 2021, online shoppers expect a personalized approach from eCommerce brands. Almost 80% of buyers are more likely to purchase from online stores that provide personalized customer experiences. To nail it down, eCommerce retailers need to pick, store, and manage customer data.
As buyers also want to interact with eCommerce stores through various touchpoints, it becomes problematic to analyze results. Now, to measure marketing results eCommerce brands have to gather data from multiple sources, which retards performance evaluation. Thus, some retailers have to use up to 39 different data-management systems at a time. To work with all the information effectively, eCommerce businesses need cross platform reporting tools, such as Affise BI, that allow you to cut analysis time by displaying all data in one dashboard.
When it comes to the eCommerce industry, artificial intelligence implementation is nothing to sneeze at. The main reason is the effect AI has on online stores’ revenue. According to Salesforce, during the 2018 holiday season, artificial intelligence increased the average order value by 14%.
How did it happen? Well, AI offered online shoppers personalized recommendations. This technology analyzes the purchasing history and behavior of each customer and alters storefronts, offering suitable products.
Leading marketplaces and online stores are already making the most out of AI-based recommendations. Amazon shows an A+ example of this tactic. This retailer analyzes the on-site search and view history and offers complementary products.
As the competition in the eCommerce industry grows, partner marketing becomes more important for business success. Diversifying channels of promotion, partnering with other businesses, bloggers and opinion leaders companies can multiply their brand awareness, build trust, acquire new customers, and so on.
The easiest way to start with partner marketing is to launch a partner program. This tactic allows you to get off the ground instantly and drives amazing results – over 80% of brands rely on affiliate programs.
Begin with choosing software for your partner program. The platform should facilitate your interaction with publishers (affiliates), streamline operational processes, and provide in-depth analytics. Consider using Affise – our solution allows you to optimize your advertising campaigns, enables multiple integrations, protects you from fraud, and more.
For the next steps, follow our comprehensive guide on how to start an affiliate program. It will lead you step by step through the entire process of creating a partner program from scratch.
The website is not be-all-and-end-all for eCommerce businesses anymore. Today, customers often start their purchases on social media or smart speakers and finish it in messaging apps. During the process, shoppers expect brands to switch between various channels instantly. Thus, traditional eCommerce platforms become the first thing to throw out of the window.
In 2021, more businesses have to adopt headless solutions. This software implies detaching the backend from the frontend layer. Thanks to it, online stores achieve higher flexibility and provide their buyers with a seamless omnichannel user experience.
No wonder even market leaders turn their gaze towards headless eCommerce platforms. They allow online stores to meet the main customer demands, such as multichannel shopping, while saving resources on rebuilding eCommerce site infrastructure.
Mobile devices account for more than half of the internet traffic worldwide. Users employ their smartphones and tablets not only to browse through social media or chatting in messengers. In fact, a third of consumers’ purchasing decisions are impacted by the research conducted on a mobile device.
Thus, it’s crucial for eCommerce businesses to make their websites suitable for mobile users. Still, a whopping 88% of consumers find mobile shopping inconvenient. This leaves significant room for customer experience improvement. It may include speeding up the website load time, improving an interface, providing more mobile-friendly payment options, and more.
Half the world population – 3.8 billion people – use social networks daily. Better yet, 43% of internet users research products to buy through social media. No wonder social networks will become one of the most effective eCommerce sales channels in 2021.
Luckily, social media platforms actively implement new shopping opportunities. For instance, Facebook updated its Shops feature to let sellers create custom online stores without coding and natively promote them through Facebook and Instagram.
Instagram became one of the leaders in social commerce. This network allowed brands to create showcases for their products. Even huge marketplaces such as Etsy have employed this format. It lets users start shopping on the brand’s Instagram account and provides a seamless user experience during the purchasing process.
When it comes to online shopping, the inconvenient payment process is your customers’ worst nightmare. When a potential buyer can’t pay in two clicks, they are likely to cancel halfway through the purchase.
Worse, it not only drops your conversion rates but also leads to a deflux of regular customers. They would remember the horrible user experience and refuse to deal with your eCommerce store once again. That’s why retailers should provide as many payment options and methods as possible.
By the end of 2021, we could expect almost 73% of all eCommerce sales to take place on mobile devices. So, it’s a good idea to pay special attention to mobile-friendly payment options. Consider applying eWallet to your online store. This technology allows potential buyers to avoid entering their credit card information and offers dual authentication for additional security.
The concern about environmental and ethical problems is rising, so people aspire to be more aware of where they shop. Half of the consumers would like to see more sustainable fashion brands, and 75% want eCommerce brands to lessen packaging. Three quarters of online shoppers even agree to pay more for environmentally friendly products and services.
To stay ahead of rivals, eCommerce businesses try to find more ways to become eco-friendly. For instance, Amazon launched a sustainability program, which includes achieving zero carbon emissions in twenty years and employing renewable energy.
Small eCommerce brands and online stores may state their eco-friendliness as well. They can reduce packaging, switch to biodegradable materials, reapproach delivery services to reduce carbon dioxide footprint or partner with nonprofits.
Half of the global online sales occur on marketplaces, such as Amazon, Shopify, or eBay. Customers prefer these eCommerce platforms because they offer good product selection for low prices and come across as reliable retailers.
Marketplaces have the necessary infrastructure to fulfill orders most effectively, which makes competition with them almost impossible for small eCommerce brands. Even market leaders enter these platforms to increase their market share and reach new audiences.
However, many entrepreneurs are reluctant to launch eCommerce businesses on Amazon and its analogs. Statista’s research found that business owners believe marketplaces cut off their revenue, provide inconsistent data about customer behavior, create additional competition, and more.
To get out of this dilemma, retailers can lean on a human connection, as it becomes a new luxury during the pandemic. Thus, consider providing top-notch customer service with a personal touch. Another strategy to stick to is offering unique products – they are the primary reason to shop at independent eCommerce businesses for 33% of buyers.
Changes in the eCommerce industry drive shifts in eCommerce business promotion. With the higher competition on the market, advertising costs have spiked. For instance, in November 2020 cost per click on Facebook grown up to $1.21. In 2021, the numbers will surge as more businesses prefer digital advertising to traditional channels, such as television.
Growing prices is only one part of the problem for retailers; another is banner blindness. Internet users tend to pass over ads, so marketers have to become more creative to hook their prospects’ attention on social media or other websites.
One of the best ways to do so is crafting video ads. This type of content is truly king, as consumers are 27 times more likely to click on online video ads than standard banners. The majority of leading eCommerce brands already use this advertising format. Here is an example of the attention-grabbing Facebook ad from Nars.
In 2021, the eCommerce industry becomes more sophisticated. Increasing customer demand for personalization underlies the further implementation of artificial intelligence and complication of data-management.
Online shoppers expect to get a seamless multichannel experience with stores. Thus, eCommerce brands have to apply headless software solutions, add extra payment options, and present themselves on various platforms, including social media and marketplaces.
To hook customers, eCommerce businesses have to offer an excellent user experience, pay attention to sustainability, and get creative with their promotion. Speaking of the latter, partner marketing can change a game for your online shop. To add it to your marketing strategy, give a shot to Affise. This platform will help you manage your partner marketing efficiently and effortlessly.
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