To get more traction for the e-commerce brand, drive more traffic, and convert that traffic into buying customers, it is crucial to know where the industry is heading. The last year was a massive one for e-commerce, given the effects of COVID-19. The pandemic accelerated the adoption of eCommerce across multiple verticals, and the changes might just be permanent.
Building an online business was never simple. With such cut-throat competition in the scene, it is even more challenging. As an eCommerce store owner, you will have hundreds of things to do, but only so much time and money for all the implementations and enhancements. Rather than tapping every big and small aspect of the list, work on fields that matter the most, there is no choice for the store owners other than to stay updated in online business. You are nowhere to be noticed if you are still following traditional payments, SEO, or delivery. Each level of the customer journey is revised with the latest tools and technology. So, it is necessary to stay updated with the latest trends in eCommerce.
Where is eCommerce Headed?
From the way people shop to the way online business tech is managed — eCommerce is gearing up for some significant developments. We take a look at where is eCommerce now and some trends to look out for.
- Pervasive eCommerce- Disruption was not merely a buzzword in 2020 as consumers turned to eCommerce to get everything necessary. Suddenly, food, fashion, and gadgets were not the only things that could be purchased online. Groceries, furniture, and even medicines joined the list. Medical practices shifted online to enable patients to get timely advice even when they could not physically see the doctors. This shift to online buying habits might be a lot more permanent than many people predict. The role of convenience, disintermediation, and better pricing (fuelled by economies of scale) in altering buyer behavior will be evident in the months and years ahead.
- Get Started Quick- Getting started online was once a long and detailed process. Over the years, the narrative has changed. Even small business owners and solopreneurs can pivot their businesses to sell online, altering their business models rapidly to respond to changing market dynamics. New tools and technologies have made it possible for companies to establish their presence online quickly, get started with their stores in a matter of days, if not hours.
- Expanding Social Commerce – Social media consumption is increasing rapidly, and with that, the next step in the evolution of social commerce has also been unlocked. Brands have begun to get a lot of value from putting ads in stories on Instagram, Snapchat, etc. This year, Facebook launched Instagram Shops and Shopify partner with TikTok. A recent poll by PayPal also revealed that the Asian market is forecasted to become a $100 billion eCommerce market by 2025.
- Omnichannel Selling Is The Norm- Omnichannel selling is becoming the new normal. Brands are moving into the space of harmonizing with their physical and digital presence with tools like Amazon Personalize and Pinpoint to deliver a seamless and consistent experience across channels while factoring in the different devices that consumers are using to communicate with businesses.
- Focus On Customer Data- In the world of e-commerce, customer data is slowly gaining value. Brands have moved their focus from primary to more vital metrics, such as click-through-rate on specific campaigns and conversion metrics that highlight where the bulk of traffic and sales is coming from. Segmentation of data is getting more granular. Businesses are paying attention to how customers interact and react with their products/services.
- The Rise of B2B eCommerce- The growth of eCommerce hasn’t just been around the consumer space. The consumer segment has overshadowed the B2B eCommerce space by far. With a focus on rational decision-making as opposed to impulse purchase decisions and a focus on defined processes and complex decision-making, the user experience for B2B eCommerce has traditionally lagged behind consumer stores. That has started to change with the adoption of digital technologies in this space and the change in consumer behavior. According to Forrester, B2B commerce will hit the $1.83 Trillion mark by 2023.
- Artificial Intelligence Becomes Real- Over the past few years, concepts such as machine learning and chatbots have become more mainstream, and brands are now leveraging AI. Using AI algorithms to make recommendations for what customers can purchase next based on their history and preferences, enhance voice search to position their products, assist on the back-end, and help with predictive analytics, etc.
- Personalization Beyond Purchase- Customers love when their experience is tailored to their unique needs. While personalization was initially limited to email marketing and customer expectations, businesses are now aiming at creating a long-lasting customer relationship by recording customer information (with their consent) to provide customized information and purchase recommendations in the future.
- The Future is Mobile- The shift to mobile eCommerce has been a critical feature of eCommerce’s meteoric adoption rates over the past decade. With a completely different set of mobile eCommerce needs, newer technologies like AR and LIDAR scanning are letting users experience more immersive experiences on the go.
- Growing Volume Of Voice Search- People are increasingly relying on voice assistants to do everything, from checking the weather to purchasing products online. It saves time browsing, entering payment and shipping information, and devices remembering past purchases makes it easy to repeat the order. As more and more people are becoming comfortable using voice searches for their day-to-day activities, including buying products, eCommerce businesses are implementing voice-enabled solutions on their platforms to make shopping easier for their customers.
Considering Your Options: Knowing If a Trend Makes Sense for Your Business
The list above gives some of the top eCommerce trends that will be driving and affecting eCommerce in the coming year. However, does that mean that you need to jump on the bandwagon of every trend? No! Not every trend is fit for every business. While some will provide a considerable value, others might be out of touch with your potential audience. Knowing what trends will be a good fit for your eCommerce store will often come down to understanding your customers, vertical, and competitors. You can then make informed decisions and move forward with it.
- Track Industry Influencers And Publications- Stay informed about industry news in your particular vertical, be it fashion, home goods, B2B, etc. Knowing what is happening and gaining traction will keep you from being left behind.
- Absorb Industry Research And Trends Reports – In the same vein as the above, keeping a tab on the latest trends reports, not only for the eCommerce industry but for your vertical, will help you stay ahead in the marketplace.
- Use Digital Tools And Analytics To Access Customers’ Behaviors- You may have noted that several of the trends above rely on understanding your customers and speaking directly to their needs. That, of course, takes data and following their behaviour to understand what they most want.
- Get Feedback From Your Customers- Of course, scrutinizing what your customers buy and what pages they visit is only part of the picture. Hearing from your customers directly, through reviews or post-purchase surveys, can give you powerful insights into how you can improve your store.
By the end of 2020, global eCommerce sales have reached $4.2 trillion, making up 16% of total retail sales. But with that, the competition online is getting tougher. Digital noise is louder than before, and the way people are shopping online is changing. Keeping up with the way eCommerce is moving is essential to growing your trends, including both back-end efficiencies and front-end conversion-optimizing experiences, which is paramount to succeeding in this landscape in the coming years.