There are a variety of forecasts for the future of eCommerce in 2021 but the one thing we all know for sure – it’s booming. The convenience and ease of online shopping has 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.
As more and more consumers move away from in-store experiences, they are looking for equal-quality online shopping experiences. Previously, the direct-to-consumer space was taken up by cheap razors and makeup samples. Today, even the most luxurious brands are making the shift to eCommerce to provide their luxury goods online. Here are six trends to look out for, so your business can be prepared to navigate this shifting consumer environment.
The Role of Artificial Intelligence
What better way to execute a rich online buying experience worthy of comparison to an in-store experience than through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies? Be ready for future online shopping to include an AI associate to provide a personalized shopping experience! Using past purchase histories and browsing behavior, these AIs will be able to make recommendations and offer a personalized online shopping experience. To support businesses, AI technology and algorithms will be able to analyze data to help you find the best channels, placements and times to advertise your products. Using trends, customer behavior and other customer data, AI will help boost return on investment (ROI) from marketing efforts.
Rise of Mobile Shopping
This one is a no-brainer for the future of eCommerce. Shopping done through mobile devices has continued to increase year after year as people turn to more quick, convenient purchasing behavior. Plan to have mobile shopping dominate a whopping 73% of all eCommerce sales by the end of 2021. What does this mean for your brand? It means your website and eCommerce platform should be optimized for mobile and be easily navigable by a user. Customers are not just shopping online, but they are also researching the products. Make sure that the mobile version of your site addresses any important product features, benefits, and possible questions that a consumer may have prior to making a purchase.
Adoption of Dynamic Pricing
A correct pricing strategy will have a dramatic impact on the overall success of your business. But how do you decide on where to price your product? Dynamic pricing allows you to stay competitive by serving different prices to different audiences in real time. This achieves a testing environment where you can analyze the results from the various pricing models and identify which one yielded the best outcomes. The best products don’t generate enough sales if they are not priced correctly. An investment into a dynamic pricing tool can help you achieve the optimal balance between perceived value and appropriate cost so you can have the highest return on investment.
The Black Sheep – Bitcoin
Most eCommerce businesses offer almost every imaginable payment method for their customers to use. In fact, limiting these options for a buyer can take sales right out of your cart and put them into your competitor’s. However, providing several payment options is a costly factor of running business as many of these merchants charge steep transaction fees. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin offer some relief to eCommerce shops by having more affordable transaction fees and other small benefits. Recently, Overstock partnered with a cryptocurrency platform to add Bitcoin as a payment method. Is it possible that we will see a rise to this new currency in 2021? The jury is still out on this one!
To stay relevant and competitive, brands need to think about the sustainability of their products and processes. Green consumerism is the growing appeal of eco-friendly products and companies to consumers. Customers want to see purpose-driven brands who take pride in “green” efforts. Many people are searching for sustainable products due to effects it has on the earth. If you have portions of your business that you have streamlined, reduced your carbon footprint or participate in any green initiatives, do not be afraid to promote them. Make sure to advocate where your company stands, as about 65% of consumers are interested in buying products from green-sensitive brands. There are some easy ways to adopt a more sustainable business model such as switching to online-only receipts or adopting eco-friendly packaging.
Future of Ecommerce – The Aesthetics
The old downside to online shopping was that you couldn’t see, hear, feel or smell the product as you would be able to on the shelf in the store. This means that the practice of using imagery to convey exact product specifications is becoming of optimal importance. People want to see exactly what they are buying and not be surprised when the item arrives in the mail. By using bold, bright visuals, brands can highlight important product features while helping to educate the customer on their product. Consider switching out the old reel of product images to 360-degree virtual images or even videos to showcase your products. This visually pleasing approach should be site wide, and not just on your product pages. Your website should be as captivating (if not more) than your in-store experience.
Overall, the theme of the future of eCommerce in 2021 seems to be fine-tuning the customer’s online shopping experience to rival (or exceed) the in-store shopping one. Streamlining, improving, and remaining current all seem to be the direction of the booming eCommerce business. As more and more brands join the eCommerce bandwagon, customers will have access to millions of brands at their fingertips. This means you will need to be thoughtful, creative, and innovative enough to stand out from the competition. The right marketing team will help carry your eCommerce brand to success using multichannel strategies and a creative eye. When the difference between a sale and no sale could be as simple as the right imagery or as complicated as a new website, Strategic Marketing can help you navigate the complex eCommerce space and maximize your return on investment. Strategic Marketing is a full-service agency ready to assist you with all your eCommerce and business needs.