Ecommerce trends seem to change year on year, whether this is a result of changing consumer expectations, technological developments or other global events. The coronavirus pandemic has obviously had an enormous impact on the entire world over the last year and changed just about every industry. Ecommerce is one of the few industries that has improved as a result of the pandemic with people doing even more shopping online and buying items that they previously would have bought in-store online. So, what are the main ecommerce trends for 2021? Read on to find out what the main trends are this year and how they are changing ecommerce.
Augmented reality has become a major ecommerce trend over the last year or so and a great way for online stores to provide a better experience for customers. The biggest drawback of online shopping are not being able to see, hold and try out products, but augmented reality can provide the closest possible experience by providing a chance to see products in a real-life setting. As an example, many online stores selling sunglasses now provide augmented reality that allows people to “try on” different products to see what they look like.
Many online stores are now finding most of their success comes from influencer marketing, which shows just how powerful social media can be. Having someone with influence in your market recommending your products can have a huge impact on both brand awareness and reputation and should lead to a sharp increase in sales, so it is easy to see why this is such a major trend and one that looks likely to only get bigger in the coming years.
One of the most positive trends to emerge in 2021 has been ecommerce charitable giving with many online stores donating a percentage of profits to a positive cause. With so many issues and problems around the world, it is important for businesses to do what they can to affect positive change and charitable giving is a highly effective strategy for this. In addition to doing good in the world, this is also a smart way to improve your brand reputation as today’s consumer is becoming increasingly aware and selective of the brands that they use.
With people spending much more time at home than they would usually during the pandemic, one trend to emerge as a result of this has been the rise of voice search. Many people are placing online orders through either their phone’s smart assistant or through a smart speaker while in their home and this could continue if people find this to be a more convenient way to buy items online.
Proactive Customer Service
Every ecommerce store owner is aware of the importance of customer service, but one trend to emerge in recent months has been proactive customer service, where businesses reach out to their customers to identify and resolve issues before they arise. Proactive customer service can include FAQ’s, notifications about system delays or proactive chat messages based on history and behavior. Proactive customer service is a smart choice because you can create stronger relationships, improve the customer experience, boost conversion rates, improve retention rates and much more.
Chatbots & Live Chat
Leading on from this, chatbots and live chat features have also become a major trend since the start of the pandemic. These features have always been useful, but customers are more likely to have questions now during the pandemic and your ability to answers these rapidly can make all the difference. If people have to wait around for hours or even days for a response, they will simply go elsewhere so these features are useful for improving conversion rates and stopping you from losing out to the competition.
Alternative Payment Options
These days, people are using a variety of ways to pay for goods online and it important that you have a range of payment options to keep all parties happy and to prevent shopping cart abandonment. A few of the main payment options that your ecommerce business should be providing include:
- Credit & debit cards
- Apple Pay, Google Pay & Amazon Pay
With people buying items that they would usually buy in-store online, many people are taking more risks by shopping online. Smart ecommerce store owners will recognize this and understand that free returns are an intelligent way to encourage customers to make purchases that they might be hesitant about, as well as improving your reputation. It is hoped that products will not be returned and the customer will be satisfied, but by offering free returns you might find that they buy other products from your store as a replacement if the item is not useful to them.
Personalization has become a major trend with advances in AI and a smart way to encourage customers to come back to your online store. When you can provide a personalized shopping experience by suggesting products based on their previous purchases, it can be a highly effective way to encourage further purchases as well as greatly improve the customer experience. This could also include notifying customers when an item in their size has become available or a similar color to a previous purchase.
An interesting new trend to develop in recent times has been recommerce or consumer-to-consumer (C2C) commerce. As the name suggests, this is consumers using websites and platforms to buy and sell to one another – Depop is one of the best examples of this. This has risen as a major trend as it allows consumers to make big savings on purchases in a time where many are looking to make savings, plus it provides people with an easy way to get rid of unwanted items and to make some money.
These are the main trends shaping ecommerce in 2021 and ones that any ecommerce store owner needs to be aware of. It has been a tumultuous period since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but for ecommerce, it has presented new opportunities and ways to succeed.