E-commerce is continually upgrading and changing, all thanks to the emerging technologies in analytics, payment integration, and development of more intuitive design in user interface, customer experience, etc. Every year there are new trends making way for more opportunities for businesses to flourish.
In this article, we are going to shine a light on up-and-coming trends that are going to shape the future of e-commerce, shopping, and social commerce in 2021.
One drawback of having an e-store over a brick-and-mortar store is the lack of personalized touch. In retail shopping, someone would help customers browse and suggest items based on their needs. E-commerce used to lack this personal touch, but not anymore.
Now you can craft personalized experiences for your customers with e-commerce personalized software in integration with analytics and AI.
To start with, create a map of all the touch points based on the data from your CRM, marketing automation software, A/B testing, payments, etc., and decide where personalization would give the highest return on investment. Is it product recommendations, inspirational or educational content, location-based services and recommendations, or a global search?
Study your customers’ behavior on your e-store and based on the findings, create a more contextual and personalized experience for them.
2. Delivery drones – faster than ever
In the recently held first-ever all-digital Consumer Electronics Show (CES), UPS Flight Forward, Skyward, and a Verizon company announced drone deliveries of retail products to be achieved with collaborative efforts. They are planning to connect the drones with Verizon 4G LTE and 5G integration (testing basis) for deliveries.
Drones are faster and cost-effective, which makes them more exciting for e-store owners as now they can reduce supply chain overheads and make order fulfillment a cakewalk all the while increasing their overall customer satisfaction rates.
Totally autonomous, AI-powered drones in the logistics and supply chain are going to disrupt the e-commerce industry.
3. Social commerce
Around 87% of buyers strongly agree that social media influences their purchase decisions. This makes social media platforms a hotbed for opportunities where brands can market their products and interact with their target audience. With Facebook’s announcement of Facebook Shops back in May 2020, the future of social commerce is looking bright and promising.
In the light of the pandemic, people have started spending more time online with the majority share on social media.
When all the brands are fighting for users’ attention and the ‘top of the mind’ awareness, social media platforms are where the proper opportunity lies for them to achieve their goals more creatively and rather in an engaging way.
By the end of 2021, mobile commerce will account for almost 54% of total e-commerce sales. The major factors contributing to this are the convenience, accessibility, and the increasing use of smartphones and high-speed internet access on them.
Only 12% of buyers are satisfied with mobile web browser shopping, which entails that there’s a lot of room for improvement. And we don’t mean just making your e-store mobile responsive.
Invest in developing a shopping app equipped with easy navigation and seamless checkout because if you don’t, you might lose out on a lot of revenue.
5. Omnichannel presence with pop-up shops
The future of e-commerce and shopping is not just digital. It’s the physical-digital hybrid where the businesses have to provide their customers with a holistic experience at all touch points — physical as well as digital.
One great way is having pop-up stores across cities along with an e-store.
This is where the skepticism about capital investment, return on investment, etc. kicks in, but in-person shopping isn’t going anywhere. The return on investment is guaranteed; of course, given that you invest in creating unique experiences for your customers online as well as offline.
Pro Tip: Many factors will affect your decision for the pop-up store like the location, target audience, their psychographics and demographics, your strategy, goals, etc. So, prioritize your decision-making factors before jumping into this entire conversation of having an omnichannel presence.
6. Voice search
The way people interact with their phones and search online is changing and shifting towards the voice. Almost 50% of all searches are voice searches. This means people are already relying on virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant, etc. now more than ever for searching.
Soon, they are going to rely on them for setting up their meetings, shopping, managing their schedules, and more.
For e-commerce businesses, this means that they’ll need to optimize their content, product pages, etc. for voice searches. And looking at the statistics, it is safe to say that voice e-commerce is here to say. So, better get working.
Bonus: A detailed guide on how to optimize your e-store for voice search.
7. Environment-friendly e-commerce
People are becoming more conscious about how their choices are affecting the environment, and they want the brands and businesses to help them become greener by providing environment-friendly choices.
Being an e-commerce business, there’s a lot of room for improvement to become greener and sustainable. One such example is reducing packaging, making use of sustainable alternatives to plastic, or going with minimalistic packaging options wherever possible.
You can also set long-term and short-term sustainable goals for your company, like using renewable energy in your operations, minimizing overall waste, carbon footprint, etc.
This will not only give your brand an edge over the competition, but your conscience will also be clear from the guilt of contributing to global warming and rising sea levels.
To sum up,
The future of e-commerce, shopping, m-commerce, and voice commerce is integrated, hybrid, and sustainable. But again, nobody can predict the exact future, we are definitely going to see some unexpected turns in 2021 especially when the world, businesses, and individuals are still learning to live with the consequences left by the pandemic.
The new normal still has a lot of moving parts, so we can’t be sure of which trends will stay and which ones are just a fad.