12 E-commerce Trends To Look Out For in 2021 (Checklist)

by | Feb 12, 2021

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The e-commerce environment is constantly changing and evolving, with new technologies embracing the market. Companies are consistently battling each other to win a greater share of the pie. 

 

Our biggest prediction for 2021 is that e-commerce will be taken over by M-commerce, with social media like Instagram and Facebook dominating online shopping. 

 

Our aim with this blog is to help you learn about the trends that are likely to take place so you can implement them before they become too mainstream. So let’s dive right in. 

 

1. Mobile Commerce will dominate e-commerce

By the end of 2021, mobile devices are expected to make almost 73% of total e-commerce sales. Besides, 30% of online shoppers are likely to abandon their carts in the middle of shopping if they find out that your website is not mobile-friendly. 

 

By now, your online stores should already be accessible through mobiles, and while that is a good sign, it doesn’t necessarily mean your stores are optimised for mobile phones. Your website could be lagging on mobile phones, or not displaying correctly. All these contribute to the user experience- and not a good one, causing customers to log off your websites. You could be losing millions in sales due to this. 

 

So, start off this year by ensuring that your web stores are optimized for mobile phones, and you’ll see the results yourself. 

 

2. Self-service platforms will continue to rise in popularity

Getting started online was once a long and painstaking process. But, 2020 has changed the narrative and shown us how quickly small businesses and solopreneurs can digitally pivot their businesses.

 

Rather than going the expensive route the first time around, brands can search for platforms that can help get their websites up to speed quickly.

 

Brands just starting out will not have to worry about having a whole team of IT and development on board to get their website up and running. The market is flooded with e-commerce platforms and tools that can assist you in starting your online business in no time. And in 2021, we expect this to be the trend. 

 

3. New Payment Options: Cryptocurrencies  

Lack of payment options can be a reason behind abandoned carts on your online stores. A customer may add products to their cart, fully intending to go through with their purchase but as soon as they’re about to checkout, they notice you don’t offer their preferred mode of payment. And there goes your sale and a potential customer. 

 

If your online store doesn’t offer your customer’s preferred payment method, they will not buy from you. Most e-commerce businesses accept digital wallets such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung, as well as credit and debit cards. However, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are becoming increasingly popular. These also hold advantages for online shop owners, such as low transaction fees and no reverse payments. 

 

As Bitcoin is expected to rise even higher in value this year, we expect e-commerce businesses to start accepting cryptocurrencies to carry out transactions by the end of 2021. 

 

4. Consumers will prefer sustainably produced goods

Green consumerism is gaining popularity with each passing day. A lot of people now emphasize the need to support sustainable practices and buy products that preserve the environment and can be recycled. These sustainable practices don’t just end at environmental sustainability but stretch out to good labor practices associated with brands. 

 

Online marketplaces such as Amazon have taken the pledge towards sustainability, and other e-commerce brands are likely to be following suit as humans look for ways to reduce waste and preserve the earth for future generations. The focus on green consumerism is a clear indicator that e-commerce brands that prioritize environment-friendly practices will dominate the market in the coming years. 

 

Green consumers are also flexing their purchasing power, with 65% of buyers wanting to make purchases from brands that aim for sustainability according to the Harvard Business Review.

 

So if you were underestimating the power of sustainable business practices, here’s a reality check for you. The power a little green symbol on products can have on consumer perception is beyond measure.  

 

5. Advanced customisation for products

Although product customisation has been in the market for a while now, being able to provide last-minute personalisation at an affordable price is something that can put you ahead of your competition in 2021. 

 

Take a look at Nike: it allows you to customise every aspect of your Nike Airs, making customers feel unique wearing a product that is owned by many. 

 

3D printing is changing manufacturing and fulfilment processes to enable quick customisation towards the end of the product journey. Plus, with 3D printers becoming more affordable and available, it’s only a matter of time before customisation becomes the norm.

 

6. Smart home assistants

You’ve seen people telling Alexa and Google Home to change the lighting of their rooms or play their favourite music, and while that is (often) what people use these smart home assistants for, there’s more. Alexa and Google Home have been taking over the e-commerce industry quietly since 2017. We expect this take over to become even larger in 2021.

 

Almost 20% of smart speaker owners have been using these to order products, track their deliveries, or compare products online. This figure is expected to rise to 52% in the next three years.

 

Now is the time to optimise your e-commerce stores and fulfilment processes for voice search, or you will be lagging behind your competitors. 

 

7. Custom packaging will turn heads 

The packaging is the first thing that strikes a consumer’s eye; it’s a clear reflection of your brand. Lousy packaging will most definitely lead the consumer to believe that the product you’re selling is also as mediocre as the packaging is. A well-packed product is an indicator of a brand that values customer perception and experience. 

 

It is also a fact that unique packaging attracts customers more and gives them a reason to be more excited about what they’re buying. This also helps your products stand out. Customisation, as we mentioned earlier, is always a winner. 

 

So if you plan to customise your product packaging, there’s a number of ways you can go about it. Through the packaging, you can highlight different aspects such as features, or durability. You can also lean more towards aesthetics, or opt for environmentally friendly packaging that is sleek yet simple and resonates with your customers. All these will definitely help make your products stand out from your competitors. 

 

8. Social Media will continue to evolve 

Social media is not what it used to be. It’s no longer a channel by which people connect with others. Social media has evolved as a marketing tool, enabling brands to expand their target audiences. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook have been equipped with “buy buttons,” which allow retailers to sell through them. Online stores have also been establishing links with social media platforms, enabling customers to make purchases through the latter.

 

Most social media platforms have been focusing on catering to online shoppers. But more importantly, social media has become a channel by which brands can receive optimal exposure. Social media exposure results in more people becoming aware of a product or service. Such is why it would do e-commerce companies good to come up with social marketing strategies.

 

9. Shoppable videos 

Consumers spend about one-third of their time online watching videos. Customers are up to 85% more likely to buy a product when they’ve watched a video about it. Suffice it to say: this is a perfect time for social selling via video to become a major trend.

 

We’re all familiar with the trend of tapping on an Instagram post to buy the products we see on our phone screens. So why can’t the same logic apply to video? Shoppable videos are the new trend to look out for in 2021. 

 

It’s easy to see why: If social distancing means retail brands won’t have the live interaction with the customers they previously depended on, a shoppable video might be the most viable digital replacement. 

 

10. Analytics will flourish

In the world of e-commerce, customer data will continue to gain value. Many brands focus on the basic, but vital metrics provided to them, such as click-through-rate on specific campaigns and conversion metrics that indicate where the bulk of traffic and sales are coming from.

 

However, as we roll into 2021, many will uncover data capabilities and get even more granular.

 

11. AI will get less artificial and more beneficial

In previous years many of the benefits of artificial intelligence were a bit early to be realised in e-commerce, but that will change dramatically in 2021.

 

As concepts such as machine learning and chat-bots become more mainstream, brands can leverage AI to yield real business impact. For example, AI can already be used to make recommendations for what customers should purchase next based on their history. Brands can also leverage concepts such as voice search to position their products in front of customers. AI will also be able to assist on the backend and help in making inventory predictions.

 

We all know companies like Netflix can attribute a huge part of their success to personalising each user’s experience on its platform. Apparel brands and retailers are now trying to do the same, but there are limitations to the current approaches. 

 

Many brands lack in-depth product data. Relying on a small handful of attributes per product simply isn’t enough to make detailed inferences about your customer and their attraction to a particular style. AI can help in making experiences more personal for customers. 

 

AI can also help you learn more about individual customers and the emotional context that plays a role in their purchase behavior, understanding why many customers on your site abandon carts.  

 

12. Omni-channel selling will be the norm 

Most businesses are already aware that customers want to view content in multiple ways. Tablets, mobile phones, and desktops are just the beginning. And we’ve mentioned in other trends, brands are discovering new ways to sell their products through social media.

 

Amazon Pinpoint and Amazon Personalise are two products from Amazon Web Services (AWS) that enable brands to improve the customer experience and communicate with customers across multiple channels.

 

Conclusion

There are many e-commerce trends to look out for in 2021, but if there’s one thing we’re absolutely sure about is that it’s booming! The convenience and ease of online shopping have prompted a surge in online purchase habits from consumers. Coupled with the pandemic, 2020 has seen some of the highest-recorded numbers for online activity and these numbers are still growing exponentially. 

 

What could you gain out of following these trends? You can stay one step ahead of the curve. Leverage your knowledge to give your customers the ultimate experience that will drive your sales. 

 

 

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