2020 accelerated the pace of e-commerce by leaps and bounds. Trends like personalization and customer experience are shaping the way companies, and customers connect. According to Statista, retail e-commerce sales increased by over a billion $ from 2019 to 2020 and are expected to grow almost another billion by 2021. Sales will continue to grow, reaching over $6.5 billion by 2023.
What Do You Need in 2021 To Ride the E-commerce Wave
1.AR Will Become a Standard for Online Shopping
What once was a “nice to have” feature is now common in more online stores. AR is changing the online shopping experience because it reduces the uncertainty of not being able to try on the product. For instance, companies like IKEA allow customers to overlay their products in any room in the customer’s house.
By giving customers a feel, they can now see how they would look with that shirt or how the coffee table would look in their living room. AR usage in e-commerce sites has grown by 2020 and is expected to continue growing by 2021.
2.Personalization and Customer Experience
Personalizing as much as possible the customer experience is the key to win the new e-commerce game in 2021. People value and remember good customer experiences.
Implementing on-site personalization can increase revenue and reduce bounce rates. Strategies such as serving the customer in the preferred channel, using AI-powered tools to present personalized ads can increase engagement and conversions.
However, companies should be careful with personalization efforts so as not to impact customer’s data privacy.
“Customer concerns about the security and privacy of their online data can impede personalized marketing at scale. Best-practice companies are building protections into their digital properties.” McKinsey.
3.Conversational Technology Continues to Grow
Research company Gartner project that the adoption of conversational AI will grow more than 100% by 2025. Consumers are increasingly using voice technology (Alexa, Google Home) for search and shop. Features like Alexa Voice Shopping let you order and complete purchases with voice commands.
Let’s say you run out of eggs, or napkins, or want to order takeout, you can tell your voice assistant. The device keeps your payment details and even remembers past purchases.
AI-powered chatbots are another trend that is here to stay. Now the chatbot can talk to you in a natural, humanized way and take your previous search history with the company to adjust recommendations and answers.
4.AI-Powered Solutions Help Learn About Shoppers
The more you know about your customers, the better you can serve them. Understanding customer behavior lets you provide personalized recommendations and suggestions. Just like a helpful store assistant.
AI helps businesses learn about their customers’ preferences and purchasing behaviors, giving them personalized customer experiences. An example is Diageo’s Bulleit brand of bourbon whiskey. The company used social listening technology to discover a niche in bartenders struggling with wasted skills when the bars are closed.
AI-powered analytic tools can help your company forecast customer demand and prepare for peak times. AI also improves the shopping experience for customers by matching previous customer information and giving real-time recommendations.
5.More Video Content
While we talk about video, consumers are spending more time every day watching online videos. A global forecast estimates that the average person will watch 100 minutes of online video by 2021.
According to PWC, mobile video advertising is expected to grow more than non-mobile video advertising in the next four years.
Implementing headless e-commerce can improve your company’s ability to adapt to changes. Headless architecture allows website owners to make adjustments in the front-end without having to carry the same changes to the back-end. Companies like Herschel, Gibson, Michael Kors, and Best Buy made the switch to headless architecture.
Benefits of headless architecture:
- Quick actualization of the front end – when you introduce new content, you can instantly see the changes.
- Better user experience – headless commerce is compatible across devices and viewing formats. This provides a better alternative to traditional responsive design.
7.Online Sales Will Continue Growing and With it the Competition
The growth of online commerce seems unstoppable. Statistics show that the e-commerce market grew the equivalent of 10 years in 3 months.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, online shopping has become the new normal for most consumers. With stores shutting because of lockdowns, consumers are resorting to online shopping for purchases.
The reason? Online shopping provides a safe, comfortable and
convenient way to shop from home or on the phone.
Experts predict this change is here to stay, even in a post-pandemic market. That is because online shopping gives consumers a quick and contactless way to purchase.
“We saw that consumers immediately shifted their online buying habits with roughly 75% of our consumers at eBay buying more items online,” explains Scott Kelliher, Head of Brand Ads and Partnerships at eBay. “Almost 85% of them plan to keep this new higher level of e-commerce spends for the foreseeable future.”
8.Mobile Shopping Will Grow Strong
It’s a fact that most consumers spend a lot of time daily on their phones. Then, using the phone to make purchases just seems natural. Buying from your phone provides the ultimate convenience when doing it right. An intuitive interface and easy checkout are critical.
Platforms like Facebook (and Instagram) take advantage of these opportunities offering features such as Facebook and IG Shops and in-ad purchases for SMEs to grow their businesses. No surprise, then, that the m-commerce volume will continue to grow over the next few years.
10. Increasing Costs of Acquisition Makes Retention More Important Than Ever
Although the number of online shoppers is increasing, acquiring a customer will be more expensive in 2021. At the end of 2020, we saw digital marketers investing heavily in paid search, and an increase in search shopping ads.
Costs of online advertising will only grow as online shopping expands to social media shopping. Therefore, companies will need to come up with creative advertising strategies to reach more shoppers while keeping costs under control.
One result of this trend can be a focus on retention strategies and conversion optimization. As competition grows, it is more important than ever to catch and retain customers’ attention via shopping ads that answer your customers’ queries while they are looking.
11. Social Media Purchases Will Grow
2020 brought new e-commerce features for social media channels. Facebook and Instagram added Shops, and in-ad purchases, intending to boost online shopping in their channels. As small businesses were one of the most impacted by lockdowns, Facebook launched a platform for business, adding tools and features to help SME to reach customers through social media.
Customers are carrying on more activities in social media than scrolling down cute videos. According to Statista: ”As of April 2020, 37 percent of U.S. internet users between the ages of 18 to 34 years reported they had purchased something via social media before but did not do so regularly”.
Social media platforms and e-commerce companies are tapping into this window of opportunity. TikTok, for instance, after its exponential growth last year, announced it is testing a feature that will enable users to add shoppable links in their videos. Instagram did something similar in 2020 by adding shoppable IGTV videos.
How Do You Know If a Trend is Right for Your Business?
All the trends mentioned before may seem overwhelming. How do you know which one can be right for your company? Here some pointers to get you started:
- Pay attention to industry influencers and news: check what is trendy with influencers in your industry, so you can relate to them, and keep current on industry news to be up to date with trends.
- Use digital tools and analytics to understand your customer’s behavior: many of the current trends depend on how well you can understand your customers and answer to their needs. Use data analytics tools to understand what they are shopping for, where, and when.
- Check out your competitors: this may be useful to adapt your strategy. Is your competitor doing something that works? Maybe you can use this strategy for your audience? It is worth a try to check them out.
- Ask your customers: nothing really tops knowing from first hand what your customers think. Use post-purchase surveys, quick polls, and reviews.
Now that you know the top trends that will shape the e-commerce industry this year, it is time to apply some following recommendations for your company:
- Optimize your digital strategy to convert and retain customers.
- Use digital tools to refine your reach.
- Prioritize giving a great user experience with personalized content.
CodeFuel solutions enable publishers to increase their ROI through search monetization solutions that optimize search traffic, engage users, and boost revenue.
How CodeFuel Can Help
Our engagement and monetization solutions help publishers by bringing together engagement and monetization, we leverage the searcher’s intent to increase conversions.
How do we do it?
- Deliver relevant ads to targeted audiences on apps, websites, extensions, and more.
- Leverage searcher intent, through presenting the right ad at the right moment
- Engage users through enriching publisher’s assets with shopping offers and news, across devices, increasing exposure.
When you bring ads that are relevant to the searcher, it helps strengthen the connection of the user to the publisher, which becomes a trusted source. As a result, CodeFuel solutions bring value and optimize conversions both for publishers and advertisers by giving a great user experience to the consumer.