Ecommerce Trends to Watch

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Many of the biggest trends in ecommerce last year were driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. Online sales rose by a staggering 32% as stay-at-home orders saw brick-and-mortar outlets locked down and forced to bulk up their online presence.

While our daily behavior and consumption habits changed, retail moved to accommodate the changing landscape. Ecommerce became a priority for most retailers.

This pivot increased online competition. Consumers demand value and convenience, and online stores that offer innovation and an enhanced shopping experience are thriving.

But, for many, the shift was not entirely surprising. The pandemic merely accelerated a change in buyer behavior that was happening during the last decade or so. 

Augmented Reality

One of the things people love about brick-and-mortar stores is the ability to look at an item up close or try it on. AR can close this gap online by giving consumers an immersive experience close to the real thing.

Tablets and smartphones are powerful enough to accommodate a variety of shopping possibilities. AR can show how a piece of furniture could look in your house or give you a 360 product view. Nike Fit, the shoe giant’s AR solution, allows customers to view how shoes would look on their feet.

The creative possibilities are endless with AR. 

Voice Search has been on the rise in recent years. Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri have made consumers comfortable using speech instead of text when searching for products.

To take full advantage of this trend, ecommerce stores need to make some adjustments to how they handle SEO if they want to rank higher on search engine organic results. Because search queries will arrive in the form of consumer questions, the onsite text will need to reflect speech patterns. 

Additionally, most voice searches are coming from mobile or smart devices in homes, so your site needs to be mobile-friendly.

Onsite Personalization

As customers share more data with online platforms, personalization has become the norm. The modern consumer expects an experience tailored around their needs and preferences.

While personalization is an effective way to engage consumers and build stronger relationships and loyalty, retailers have additional advantages. By offering more relevant product recommendations through understanding your consumers more, your profit margins increase. 

By leveraging demographics, purchase history data, browsing behavior, and psychographics, ecommerce retailers can deliver a better shopping experience that nudges consumers to spend and return to your store at higher rates.

A cartoon man stands next to charts showing data or trends

Big Data

Big data is an excellent way to understand customer behavior. By extracting valuable insights about what engages your shoppers, you can use the feedback to enhance and develop your service.

But big data is responsible for much more than improving the customer experience. Ecommerce stores can also use analytics to drive revenue.

Demand forecasting can revolutionize your stock purchasing, helping you get ahead of your competitors. Additionally, social listening gives you an edge on upcoming trends.

Finally, optimized pricing tools are essential for the modern online business. Real-time adjustments in offers that react to the broader marketplace can be a huge revenue booster.

Chatbots

Chatbots are one of the trends in ecommerce that should continue to grow throughout 2021. One reason to use Chatbots is they allow 24-7 customer service and a wide range of personalized, automated engagement.

Your customers can shop through messaging with chatbots, taking advantage of recommendations, sizing requests, upselling, and more.  

This is a trend we think is useful for business. We installed chat on mindsize.com to see if it helps answer our customers questions.

Mobile Shopping

Mobile shopping — which includes direct site visits from mobile devices and mobile shopping from social media — makes up more than half of online sales. This trend has increased steadily during the last few years, and analysts expect it to continue.

You need to optimize your ecommerce store’s website for mobile searches and browsing. SEO catered for local mobile search is vital, but how your store appears to mobile users also can make a huge difference.

Remember that users will perform mobile searches primarily by touchscreen, so onsite optimization is crucial.

Multiple Payment Options

Multiple payment options are vital to capture the increase in online customers. While credit cards make up a bulk of online sales, failure to accommodate other methods is a missed opportunity.

Credit card payment portals that allow autofill increase conversions significantly. But don’t stop there. 

Integrated express checkouts like Amazon Pay or Paypal are the preference of many shoppers. Additionally, mobile pay options like Apple Pay and Google Pay are trusted, low friction options for consumers.

Many social media platforms like Facebook have added payment options that are popular with millennial buyers. 

And finally, analysts predict that Buy Now, Pay Later credit facilities like PayPal credit or Pay Later will grow by 9.8% annually for the next five years.

Headless and API driven Ecommerce

Headless and API-driven ecommerce is a solution that takes advantage of the Internet of Things. As more consumers shop on smartwatches, kiosk screens, and Alexa, etc., how your platform integrates with these devices becomes paramount.

Instead of using the graphical front-end of your website, ecommerce platforms can deliver products, content, and payment gateways to these devices in a raw, back-end format.

This process is flexible, customizable, and adaptable. As consumers continue to make purchases through less traditional methods and devices, taking advantage will become essential.

Product Description with Videos

As ecommerce becomes more competitive, stores that offer product descriptions with videos will give shoppers a better idea of products. 

Videos can do much more than just display products. They also can be used to educate consumers on how products work or visually demonstrate the benefits. 

Unboxing videos, customer testimonials, and even behind-the-scenes videos also can be used to enhance your brand and connect with an audience.

A cartoon woman looks at a screen with a shopping cart to the side

Subscriptions

Many business models are switching toward as-a-service payment models. Netflix, Amazon, and Spotify all pushed this trend, but many ecommerce sites use it now.

Food and beverage manufacturers use these models to deliver monthly specialty items, following companies like Dollar Shave Club, whose subscription service disrupted the razor industry. 

Curated purchases, replenishing regularly used items, or access to special offers and discounts are just some of the models that benefit from regular monthly payments.

The advantage of these models is they provide a regular, predictable income, which makes planning, staffing, and forecasting far more manageable. 

Generating long-term income and a loyal customer base is a huge benefit, and this trend could come to define 2021.

Sustainability

It could be about packaging or your business model, but sustainability is a deciding factor in where Millennials spend their money. As the 25 to 40s make up a larger share of the ecommerce market, your brand’s position on these issues becomes more critical. 

Reducing packaging and implementing sustainable shipping is a great start. But to make an impression among consumers, you’ll need to go the extra mile.

Energy efficiency and recycling policies are environmentally sound choices, but a commitment to using green products or materials will continue as a trend throughout 2021. 

Optimize Your Digital Strategy

Optimizing your digital strategy is another way to stay competitive. 

Advertising is always essential, but knowing where to advertise can make or break a product. Native Ads — advertisements that run on the news or social media feeds that look like regular articles — are a growing and impactful trend.

Google Shopping, social selling, and referral marketing are all digital strategy trends expected to keep producing great results.

B2B Growth

In 2020, Business-to-Business was one of the fastest-growing sectors for new businesses. As the economy returns to normal, companies will need services to help them achieve their aims. 

Much of the B2B growth is happening online, and any company that offers a service needs to have a good web presence to capture a share of the market. 

Website speed and interfaces help determine how your business appears to prospective consumers. 

Starter packs, free trials, self-service, and staying on top of your social selling game are all techniques that should keep delivering.

Your business probably already is embracing some of the ecommerce trends outlined above. You may have gotten some ideas for other developments you want to consider. MindSize is here to help. We offer services including ecommerce development, consulting, and support. Contact us today.