Let’s face it, 2020 was pretty much the year of WTF. But it’s okay, because we’re nearing the end, and 2021 is looking up. That being said, there’s still a lot of uncertainty around what this next year will hold. So to shine some light on your business planning, we’ve got these top eCommerce trends for 2021.
2021 eCommerce Trends
Increased Competition and Acquisition
We all know ecommerce sales skyrocketed this year as a result of the pandemic, resulting in years of growth over a much shorter period. While this growth is great for online sellers, it also comes with some drawbacks.
The competition online is going to get fierce. Not only did the pandemic force a lot of brick-and-mortar only stores online, it also pushed some of the major global players to enhance their online shopping experience. Plus, many powerhouse retailers are now more focused on digital advertising, which means a more crowded market and higher acquisition costs.
In addition, cross-border ecommerce increased 21% worldwide in the first half of 2020. As the barriers to cross-border online shopping fall, that’s more competitors in the market. (On the plus side, that’s also more potential buyers, if you know how to capture them).
Customer Experience and Omnichannel
The customer shopping experience will be even more important in 2021, which is a blessing and a curse for small businesses. No, you can’t compete with the resources and technology of say, Target. But you can beat them on personal brand engagement.
2-hour curbside pickup or free overnight delivery may not be possible for you. But the customer shopping experience is about so much more. First and foremost, your website needs to be absolutely killer. It has to be easy to navigate, easy for consumers to find what they are looking for, and easy to checkout.
Utilize reviews and other customer-generated content to assist buyers on their purchasing journey. And make sure you have a top-notch customer support team. One thing big companies are notoriously bad at is customer support. Don’t subject your customers to long wait times and dumb scripts. Instead, train your support team on customer empathy and how to really solve problems.
Consumers are also shopping across multiple platforms these days, so don’t forget about the customer experience on your social media, marketplaces, and anywhere else you sell.
For a long time, shoppers would browse on mobile, but the majority of consumers were still making their purchases on desktop or in-store. Not anymore. Mobile sales are on the rise, and in fact, by the end of next year we can expect to see almost 73% of all ecommerce purchases happening on mobile.
Meaning, you needed to optimize for mobile, like, yesterday. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you are throwing sales out the window. But it’s not enough to just have a mobile responsive site. The customer shopper experience needs to be specifically tailored for mobile shopping.
Change is Here to Stay
Here’s the thing. We all saw more change in retail and customer buying habits over the last year than the last five. But things are going to continue to change. The number one lesson for retailers coming out of the pandemic is that adaptability is a must. The businesses that are closing are the ones that simply couldn’t or wouldn’t change fast enough.
While hopefully the panic buying of toilet paper is not a new trend that will stick around, some will. Digital is going to continue to forge on, ecommerce will continue to rise, and some consumer behavioral changes are permanent, like:
- Shopping online more frequently
- Working out at home
- Mobile payment services
- Video calling / conferencing
- Desire for fast and convenient shopping
This is the “new normal.” You can safely adapt your business for the new ways consumers are living and shopping without worrying that it’s just a phase. If you haven’t fully pivoted to cater to these new, long-lasting trends, get on it.
The good news is, if you did see new buyers driven to your store for the first time because of some impact or other of the pandemic, they are likely to stick around. Where normally brand loyalty is high, COVID prompted consumers to be more open to new brands out of necessity.
This is a top ecommerce trend for 2021 that we’re particularly excited about. Sustainability has been slowly rising as an important consideration for consumers, but it’s jumping into the mainstream now.
Sustainability can look different. Maybe your products help reduce waste, like Grove Collaborative and their plastic-free cleaning supplies. Or maybe you help balance out your carbon impact by planting a tree with every purchase. Eco-friendly packaging and shipping materials is another way. You don’t have to completely change your business to promote sustainability, you just need to get creative and consider the options.
But don’t forget, once you get your sustainability practices into place, you need to talk about them. Consumers won’t know you have an eco-friendly mission unless you tell them. Make it a core part of your messaging, and have a clear place for it on your website, packaging, order confirmation emails and more.
Here to Help
2020 was a beast of a year. It’s time to rock 2021, and these ecommerce trends are just a start. If you need help reshaping your email or social media marketing strategies for this crazy new retail world, our team at Nomadd is here to help!