2020 was a rough year for many industries – but eCommerce is not one of them.
Lockdowns and travel restrictions resulted in $794.50 billion in eCommerce sales in the U.S. alone — a 32.4% increase from 2019.
The rapid growth of eCommerce both led to and was caused by increasing competition, as more and more businesses flocked to the online shopping industry amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
To stay successful and competitive in this ever-changing industry, you must be familiar with the latest eCommerce trends that are redefining the retail industry.
In this article, we’ve compiled seven online shopping trends that will dominate eCommerce in 2021.
Voice assistants and voice-enable devices aren’t exactly a novelty anymore.
Devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home are becoming increasingly popular as well as increasingly capable thanks to advancements in AI and machine learning.
Of course, it was only a matter of time until their capabilities found an application in eCommerce.
That’s how voice commerce was born — a niche of online shopping where customers use their voice-controlled devices to make purchases.
However, voice commerce will not stay a niche for long — it’s set to become one of the major ecommerce trends.
There are plenty of numbers to support this forecast – let’s look at some key estimates by OC&C:
The question is not whether voice commerce will become a driving force in eCommerce, but whether your eCommerce website is optimized to accommodate it.
In order to be competitive in voice commerce, follow these voice SEO best practices:
Ever since eCommerce first emerged as a concept, it has had one specific drawback compared to traditional retail – the customers’ inability to physically interact with a product before making a purchase.
Enter visual commerce. It is a blanket term for the many different ways in which online sellers can use visual elements to enhance the customer’s shopping experience.
In a way, visual commerce aims to revolutionize the outdated standards of product presentation in online retail – the familiar “picture on the left, description on the right.”
In visual commerce, visuals don’t just supplement product descriptions. Instead, they take the center stage to create a more immersive, realistic online shopping experience.
Visual commerce is now emerging as one of the hottest online shopping trends. Its growth is driven by three key factors:
Mobile devices account for around 50% of global web traffic – and a significant portion of this traffic goes to eCommerce.
In fact, as much as 72.9% of eCommerce sales will happen on mobile devices by 2021.
As such, it is absolutely imperative that eCommerce websites are optimized for mobile devices. One way to achieve this is to search for a reliable eCommerce website design company that can meet all your needs. However, make sure to do your research properly before you make your final choice.
Mobile optimization rests on two basic principles:
There are a few steps you can take to ensure that your eCommerce platform delivers an outstanding user experience to mobile visitors:
Today, online retailers are going beyond the standard product pages with still images on the left-hand side and product descriptions on the right-hand side.
Augmented reality tech is set to enrich, if not revolutionize the online shopping experience.
The demand for it is driven by one major issue that many consumers face when shopping online – lack of interactivity.
Unlike traditional retail, online stores don’t offer their customers an opportunity to see and interact with a real-life version of the product before making a purchase.
Augmented reality solves this problem at least to some extent by allowing the customers or, rather, the customers’ devices, to “materialize” the product and interact with it.
And while AR might still seem like a somewhat futuristic technology, its application in eCommerce is becoming more sought-after.
22% of consumers say that AR tech in eCommerce would drive them to visit traditional brick-and-mortar stores less often.
In the current eCommerce landscape, subscriptions are no longer limited to streaming services or cloud storage.
In fact, there are plenty of online retailers that are entirely based around the subscription model.
The logic behind this model in eCommerce is simple – the customer pays a regular fee (usually, a monthly one) and receives a pre-made package of goods or services in return.
The best and perhaps most famous example is Dollar Shave Club, which started by offering shaving supplies at a low cost and ended up popularizing the eCommerce subscription model.
Moreover, a report by Royal Mail shows that in the UK alone the subscription box market will reach $1 billion by 2022.
The subscription model is one of the fastest-growing eCommerce trends and for a solid, yet simple reason: convenience.
Subscriptions are hassle-free, for retailers as well as customers.
The retailers, on one hand, don’t have to worry so much about inventory and logistics costs, as they can easily predict just how many bundles of products they will need to ship.
The customers, on the other hand, benefit from this model in a similar way. Once they sign up for a subscription, they can expect to receive the same (or a purposefully different) bundle of goods for a flat fee between equal time periods.
Email marketing has been making a comeback recently – and for a few good reasons.
Not only is it universal (you can reach almost anyone via email), it also offers a lucrative ROI of 42:1, when done right.
However, email marketing in eCommerce is far from your typical dry newsletters. Today, it’s taking a turn to personalization and interactivity.
70% of millennial customers would prefer to receive personalized emails from retailers.
The personalization eCommerce trend also goes beyond email marketing, as over 50% of online shoppers look for personalized experiences.
Tailoring your content to a specific customer or group of customers takes time and effort.. However, it’s a solid way of connecting with and retaining your target audience.
Interactive emails serve the same purpose. And while they are growing in popularity, they are not yet universally adopted.
In 2019, as many as 45% of marketers had no prior experience with interactive emails.
This presents a lucrative opportunity for businesses who are willing to go an extra mile with their email marketing efforts and stand out from the competition.
Conversational User Experience is a set of techniques that make the online experiences of your customer appear more casual, intimate and personal.
While its’s a broad term that includes many practices, the most prevalent manifestation of Conversational UX, by far, are chatbots.
Chatbots can be implemented via dedicated plugins for your website, or via an existing app such as the Facebook Messenger.
Depending on how they are programmed, chatbots can emulate a natural human conversation and help a customer make a purchase or resolve a complaint.
The rising demand for chatbots across eCommerce businesses has to do with the rising popularity of messengers among consumers.
According to HubSpot, 47% of consumers feel comfortable making purchases through a bot in a messenger app and 71% are open to receiving customer support via a messenger app.
Chatbots are fast, convenient and fit into the online culture of instant gratification. Not to mention, they’re a great way to engage your website visitors and streamline their conversion journey.
Over the past decade, eCommerce transformed from just another way to shop to a massive global industry.
Up until a few years ago, it was fascinating to find a brand that had eCommerce presence. Now it is more fascinating to find one that doesn’t.
But rapid growth is only one of the major eCommerce trends to consider. After all, it’s an ever-evolving industry that only gets more sophisticated and competitive.
The key online shopping trends to watch out for in 2021 are:
Following these trends is one of the essential steps you’ll need to take to ensure that your eCommerce website outperforms the competition in 2021 and drives outstanding results.