There is no question that e-commerce is evolving rapidly. Shopping online is simply easier than going to the store. Thanks to the tumultuous events of 2020, it could be a safer option for most people as well.
With such fast advancement, there are plenty of exciting new online business trends to be aware of. These developments will bring new opportunities and new challenges.
Stay ahead of the curve by keeping these e-commerce trends in mind:
1. More Opportunity, But More Competition
E-commerce will continue to grow in popularity every year. Total annual online sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021.
It’s easy to see why: online shopping is just easier. Sure, the in-store experience can be enjoyable, but it’s often much more convenient to buy things from your couch.
Plus, consumers trust online shopping much more. Thanks to competition, online businesses have had to fight to earn this trust. For example, clothing stores offer ways to estimate the best size of clothing when ordering online. They also tend to offer generous return policies in case something doesn’t fit right.
Even paying is much easier than before. Most online stores take debit cards, many credit cards, and PayPal—and now, there are solutions then let you split your total up into separate, interest-free payments, like affirm.
2020 itself solidified the growth of online shopping as well since COVID-19 made it difficult to shop in person.
With that said, more opportunity means more competition. More entrepreneurs will launch e-commerce stores to gain some of this market share, while traditionally brick-and-mortar companies will focus on e-commerce to survive.
2. Mobile Commerce
Many are calling the proliferation and advancement of mobile technology Web 3.0. Smartphones and tablets are becoming ever more versatile, and since you can use them more easily on the go, many people shop with these devices.
Succeeding in e-commerce in 2021 means taking a mobile-centric approach to much of your digital presence. For example, your store should be optimized for mobile users. It’s also worth considering using mobile-focused platforms like Instagram to market your brand.
3. Voice Commerce
Voice assistant technology is relatively new in terms of availability to the average person, but it has spread in popularity fast. In fact, some 75% of US households are expected to have voice assistants by 2025.
People aren’t just using Alexa or Google Home to make phone calls or fact check something on the web. They’re using it to look for and purchase items online. By 2022, voice commerce looks to hit around $40 billion in sales.
This new online business trend creates an interesting challenge: optimizing your store for how people speak rather than how they type. In particular, people speak in longer, more conversational sentences than those in which they type.
It’s also worth noting that both major brands of voice assistants currently offer several languages, but they are working on adding more, meaning we should expect to see jumps in voice commerce in the future.
4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR)
As e-commerce advances, consumers will demand a more personalized experience. That’s where AI and AR come in.
AI can act as a personal store associate by gaining information about what the customer wants, then offering guidance and recommending products to the customer. Plus, if your shopper has an account at your store, your AI can track your customer’s shopping history. This opens up opportunities for upselling and cross-selling.
Now for AR
AR can further increase your customer’s trust in your brand, as it can help them visualize what your product would look like in real life before buying it. For example, Warby Parker—an eyeglasses retailer—lets you try on a digital pair of frames using a selfie of your face. Glasses can cost a few hundred dollars, and brick-and-mortar stores may not have the brands customers want, so seeing what they look like ahead of time is extremely helpful.
Overall, combining AI and AR creates an experience quite similar to being in a physical store, all while the customer can sit at home or whichever service-rich environment they find themselves in.
5. Premium Private Label Brands
In recent times, DTC selling has grown immensely. No longer are brands selling their product line exclusively in large stores or even on Amazon. Instead, they are selling directly to the consumers (hence, DTC).
By cutting out the middleman, these brands can offer lower prices and, in many cases, more personalized service.
Many associate DTC with cheaper goods. They think that the primary benefit of buying DTC items is the price savings; but, DTC is slowly becoming more oriented towards premium, private label products. Sales for these higher-end private label items are on the rise.
Buyers—especially millennials—are looking to get the best products from the coolest brands. They want to represent unique brands, and they’re seeking a more personal and tailored shopping experience.
6. Offline E-Commerce
As you already know, e-commerce is fast approaching traditional commerce in market dominance. However, e-commerce brands are bringing themselves into the physical world to set themselves apart from competitors. Several brands are launching pop-up shops and kiosks where you can see and buy their products in the real world.
Look no further than Amazon. They are breaking into the physical commerce space with their own stores.
7. Amazon Live
By now, we’ve all heard of Twitch and live streaming—but did you know that Amazon has now branched out into live streaming? Amazon Live is Amazon’s live stream shopping platform, where customers can watch influencers and brands talk about products that they can then buy on Amazon.
Being tied to such a retail giant, Amazon Live promises to be a safe opportunity to try out live streaming, if you haven’t already. Not only is it safe, but it’s easy to manage the whole thing through the Amazon Live Creator app.
Related Article: How to Take Advantage of Amazon Live. Learn about how to use Amazon Live strategies, requirements, best practices, situational tips, structure, and more!
8. Payment Methods
You can have the best products and top-notch customer service, but if your customer can’t pay the way they want to, they’ll go to the competition. As more people shop online, there will be more variability in how your customers pay for things.
Consequently, offering as many payment methods as possible will be more important going forward.
The Near Future of E-Commerce
E-commerce appears to be maturing as a method of shopping. Overall, consumer trends are pointing towards more demand for personalization and omnichannel shopping. AI, AR, and expanded payment methods will help facilitate personalized shopping experiences. At the same time, the growth of m-commerce and voice commerce will create an environment in which consumers purchase through multiple channels.
Prepare for these trends early, and you’ll be ready to take 2021 (and beyond) by storm.
Making sure your online presence is optimized is where we come in. At Seller’s Choice, our mission is to keep your growing brand at the forefront of the quickly evolving e-commerce industry. Our communicative, in-house digital marketing experts paired with our constantly tested methods help you make the best impression to prospective customers. Wondering if partnering with Seller’s Choice is best for your business? Let’s get in touch!