Did you know that FedEx shipped 2.28 billion packages with their ground service in 2019? That comes down to an increase of no less than 1.5 billion compared to the year before. And FedEx is not the only shipping company that handles billions of packages on their way to their receiver. Ecommerce is growing faster than ever and can make a significant difference to your own company. Curious to find out how? Want to know what are the most important eCommerce trends this year? Read on and find out.

The years when a cell phone was solely a device used to make calls with, and books were bought in a bookstore are over. For a long time, so to say. With the rise of technology, Ecommerce has revolutionized retail to an enormous extent–against everyone’s expectations and biggest dreams. However, not all features of eCommerce are beneficial: the extreme, explosive development of buying and selling online can evolve into endangering the existence of physical shops.  

Given that, as a company, there is one step to take, and that is forward. Forward to meet our audience and customers’ needs even more and offer them omnichannel, user-friendly customer experiences. In this article, you will discover the seven most useful eCommerce trends for 2021 and learn practical tips & tricks to get started yourself; because eCommerce is rapidly growing and is not likely to disappear.

Table of contents

Amazon as A Market Leader

Before we start, let’s look at some noticeable numbers in the world of eCommerce around the world. A recent statistical update by Statista shows us that in 2019, in retail eCommerce, the number of sales worldwide reached 3.53 trillion US dollars. And, impressed, not surprised: shopping platform Amazon is the most popular retail website worldwide when it comes down to traffic, with almost 5.22 million visitors in June 2020 only. Online shopping revenues are facing an estimation of growth to no less than 6.54 trillion US dollars in 2022.

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To improve your visibility and success online, there is no way to follow and adapt to the most remarkable trends in eCommerce. Below, you will find the seven most essential drifts in an overview.

1. Artificial Intelligence & Chatbots

The shift towards online sales channels brings vast amounts of data along with it. Given the infinite quantities of it, it is almost impossible to manage and apply it manually—the solution: artificial intelligence–one of the biggest trends in online buying and selling. With the help of forceful algorithms, you can supply your customer with offers and product recommendations extensively tailored to their needs.

A fact that supports the growing trend of artificial intelligence and its use in chatbots is that more than 60% of consumers prefer a digital tool to answer their questions quickly. Especially amongst millennials, velocity is essential when on the search for an answer. And quick that is: chatbots are likely to solve most problems within no less than 45 seconds. To give an example of how that works in theory: Domino’s Pizza developed a Messenger chatbot to quickly and professionally handle the orders of consumers. Your pizza is just a few clicks away. But, not only: Domino’s even implemented a brainy function, to quickly find previous orders, and to – in a few clicks -, re-order them.

2. The Breakthrough of Voice Search

“Hey, Siri, find me the nearest tailor.” The upcoming number of voice assistants such as Siri, Google Home, and Alexa affect our online search and shopping behavior more than ever. Voice search is a breakthrough in eCommerce. We are leaving the early adoption phase of this search technique slowly behind us. According to expectations, it will become business as usual to order online or from a store with voice technology in 2021. 

Speaking of Siri assisting you in finding the nearest tailor, in 2019, 58% of people that used voice search ended up at a local business? The most important part here is to design your website in a way that enables voice search. Find out how to do that and more here.

3. Interactive and Personal

You may not expect it, but 64% of consumers consider the customer experience to weigh more than the price while purchasing online. In this case, customer experience is everything around the relationship between you as a company and the consumer. For example, the customer support or user experience (UX) on your website and essential matters such as the payment procedure, shipping, and the logistics part’s entire follow-up.

Now, you can’t tell me that you have never hesitated to press the “order now”-button. Factors that provoked this little moment of hesitation have likely to do with the quality of the product, the trustworthiness of the online shop, and of course, the big question: “Do I really need this?” Reading online reviews or having blind faith in influencers was once enough to convince us to click the button. Nowadays, we are looking to experience the product even before we order our entire shopping bag.

And why not take it a step further than just displaying images of your products? With new technologies such as Virtual Reality, 3D Images, Augmented Reality, or 360° videos, you increase the UX by offering more than “just” an image. So to say, beauty label L’Oréal partnered up in 2017 with the make-up app YouCam. In the app, consumers could try and discover different makeup looks and products from the brand. Testing before you buy at its best.

Furthermore, in 2021 customers expect webshops to offer a personalized experience by using data such as purchase history, location, and previous searches. And this regards no one-size-fits-all, but a personalized experience, down to the last detail. The most important lesson to take away is that every consumer is unique. Using that data and applying this to assist your customers will bring you one step ahead of the companies that don’t. Consumers engage, they feel involved, your business grows.

Even though personalization is vital in all kinds of levels, there is one type that simply stands out: localization. Your customer’s IP address allows you to create specific and tailored content. Read the right language, currency, and the nearest point of sale. For example, when logging in to your Amazon account, you will see recommended products. These recommendations are based on your previous purchases and a supplier tailored to your location.

4. Safety and Privacy

With consumers increasingly demanding interaction and personalization during their shopping spree, at the same time, companies taking care of their privacy is another part that is essential of focus. It is critical to find the right balance between “hyper-personalization” and building and keeping the trust of your customers. With the recent implementation of GDPR and several other consumer laws, data protection will be a crucial trend in eCommerce. In compliance with privacy, security will also play its part. Where years ago, buying and paying online was considered a sketchy business, not having purchased anything online, yet these days is considered an enormous exception. Digital wallets allow transactions to run safely, smoothly, and fast. The use of payment services such as Apple Pay and Android Pay is, therefore, on the rise, which is both widely used in the world of eCommerce. The fact that Facebook announced to start working with its currency is no surprise.

Showing your customers that their privacy and safety are safe in your company’s hands will cause them to trust you even more. Next to that, Blockchain, a system that secures, shares, and encrypts information, will have its own breakthrough sooner or later.

5. Go Sustainable

Global warming can’t be denied anymore, and as an eCommerce platform, you are likely to have more influence on it than you think. Many (clothing)brands are popping up with a sustainably produced collection or are even fully sustainable. It seems to play a more significant and more prominent role in our consumer’s preferences. But, what does that mean to you as a company? Review your logistics and services; can you achieve a greener approach? Different, sustainable (or no) packaging, for example. Also, many online shopping platforms recently shifted to delivery by bicycle or the use of electric vehicles. 

6. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile

Without a responsive website that allows your customers to access your e-store through mobile, you are almost nowhere. Given this fact, you can’t deny the importance of taking tablets and smartphones into account when you’re diving into your eCommerce strategy. Nowadays, 82% of millennials check their device first thing in the morning, and 73% of them goes to sleep with their smartphone or tablet. 

The chance of reading this article on a smartphone is even higher than 50%, according to research by ReadyCloud. So: a mobile-friendly website is high at stake. In most cases, websites are built to be visited through a desktop and are constructed responsive later on. However, to be ahead of this: start by developing your mobile website and convert it to desktop. To rank high in search results and help your customers the best way possible, it’s key to (slowly) let go of the desktop version.

7. 1 + 1 = 3

The two most significant frustrations a consumer experiences in a physical store are a long waiting time at the cashier or a product being out of stock. Two things that luckily don’t bother you when you choose to shop online. Nonetheless, giving your customers a choice between buying online, in-store, or through social media seems to be undeniable. The importance of this omnichannel marketing approach is that this type of consumer spends up to three times more than the shoppers that buy through only one of your channels. 

Of course, the key here is to assure your customers of an efficient and fast experience, regardless of the platform. Consumers are here to be stimulated, inspired, and surprised. Experimenting with creative ideas such as pop-up stores, events, and pre-sales: you name it. In this way, 1 + 1 equals 3.

Customer purchasing behaviour is developing rapidly and will only grow faster in a world shifting to more and more online. So opt entirely for a well-thought-out eCommerce strategy and secure your future. Need help finding an agency to help you with this? You can reach out to one of our eCommerce agencies.