There's never been a greater force driving eCommerce in a new direction than the year 2020!
Transforming and accelerating the industry by nearly a decade, if not more, businesses worldwide have been impacted in ways no one could ever have imagined.
As this report by McKinsey and Company mentions, “Covid-19 has pushed companies over the technology tipping point - and transformed business forever.”
The move to online selling is a truth that cannot be denied by retailers and consumers alike, and more and more entrepreneurs are now surfing on the eCommerce wave - and this wave is not going to crash!
Consider this single statistic - by 2022, eCommerce revenues will increase to $6.54 trillion, up from $3.53 trillion in 2019. That’s almost a 100% jump in less than 3 years.
The trends that 2020 ushered in will continue to solidify and spawn further developments that will shape how eCommerce will look in 2021 and beyond.
That said, success will be defined by your reactions to these developments. In other words, what you get out of 2021 will depend a lot on what you bring to 2021!
In this post, we will look at some of the upcoming eCommerce trends and how you can position your business to take advantage of these!
1. Marketplaces Will be the Preferred eCommerce Channel for Customers
Marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy and Walmart Marketplace will lead the way when it comes to eCommerce numbers, irrespective of the size of the seller.
And for good reason!
These marketplaces have the experience, infrastructure as well as fulfillment capabilities that many small businesses don’t - especially those that newly jumped on the eCommerce bandwagon in 2020. As customer experience continues to gain importance, marketplaces are able to fulfill customer expectations and offer a level of convenience that many individual eCommerce stores might struggle to provide.
Marketplaces eventually offer the best of both worlds: consumers get great value, the barrier for entry for sellers is low, and products rank well driven by user-generated content.
|How You Can Capitalize - With increasing focus on interaction rather than transaction, you need to prioritize your customers’ convenience more than ever. If you have an established eCommerce store, diversifying through marketplaces will help your business expand. On the other hand, if you’re new to the eCommerce game, you can establish your brand’s presence by taking advantage of the high reach, efficient shipping and overall experience that the top marketplaces offer.|
This brings us to the next major trend for 2021.
2. Omnichannel Selling is Here to Stay
We could say this ad nauseam - customer experience will define eCommerce in 2021.
|One big way this will manifest is businesses meeting customers where they WANT to be met instead of expecting them to come to the shop. As a result, an omnichannel approach to doing business will no longer be an option but a necessity for almost all eCommerce sellers.|
Even though customers may have preferences, it’s common knowledge that no one shops exclusively through a single channel. Consumers want to discover new sellers and have the ability to transact on multiple platforms. While developing social media and other digital platforms (especially for those new to eCommerce) may seem to be costly and unduly time-consuming, not investing in these will be an expensive mistake in the long run.
To sum this up, who would not want cash flow from multiple sources and multiple devices?
|How You can Capitalize - Whether you’re established or new, it always pays to not have all your eggs in one basket. Do not rely exclusively on one channel over the other. For instance, despite all the perks of selling on Amazon, you don’t own the customer data when you sell your products and this can restrict your brand’s growth. A way around this is to sell on multiple marketplaces and also drive visitors to your site by promoting limited-edition products through your social media channels.|
3. Sustainability will Drive More Purchasing Decisions
Sustainability is no longer just a hastily created CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiative that companies put in place to sound “green” and then forget about in the mad rush to drive sales.
Especially after the advent of Covid-19 and increasing public awareness of issues such as global warming and environmental injustice, conscious consumption is more widespread than ever. Consumers are beginning to analyze the impact of their shopping preferences on the environment. For instance, this study by Accenture has shown that more than 45% respondents in the post-Covid world have vowed to shop sustainably.
|The message is very clear - we cannot be selfish anymore and have to make sure that Earth remains a viable home for future generations. Most companies, including Amazon, are responding by adopting environment-friendly and ethical practices.|
|How You Can Capitalize - Make sustainability a conscious choice and research on how you can implement green measures for your business. Reduce energy consumption as well as the use of paper (for instance, send email receipts instead of paper ones). A few other ways are switching to eco-friendly packaging and using products that are biodegradable. One of our own customers, Lala Hijabs, has adopted such packaging! Most importantly, inform your consumers about the practices you have adopted.|
|Read this next: Lala Hijabs - Tie-Dyeing their Way to eCommerce Success!|
Customers prefer that the buying experience be customized to their needs. In fact, a majority of consumers will now respond only to personalized messaging.
In such a scenario, sellers need to be able to showcase the exact content that consumers want, when they want it and where they want it. Doing this will increasingly become the key to enhancing conversion rates. Recent research by My Total Retail demonstrates that adopting features such as “product recommendations” and “search together” can help eCommerce businesses nearly quadruple their conversion rates.
|How You Can Capitalize - You can achieve increased personalization by establishing a meaningful, long-lasting relationship with your customers by recording information about them with their consent. For instance, such information may include the last time a customer made a purchase and products that they typically buy. Based on this, you can tailor messaging to customers.|
5. Fulfillment will Take on a More Digitized Form
As eCommerce surpasses traditional retail in 2021, the demand for efficient order fulfillment will also increase.
Companies worldwide will increasingly deploy advanced technology for fulfillment and warehousing, thereby making it easier to meet customer demand for faster shipping (including same-day shipping) and better tracking. With increased transparency becoming a norm, the right kind of mobile fulfillment apps will become a necessity rather than an option.
In a multi-channel world, the logistics of handling shipments can be daunting and sellers would need to rely on innovative and easy-to-use solutions for their eCommerce stores to manage the shipping process.
How You Can Capitalize - Make your life easier and save money by using ClickShip, which will allow you to manage the entire shipping process from one platform and give you access to exclusive discounted carrier rates, in real time.
The best part about using ClickShip? It integrates with all major marketplaces, such as Amazon, Etsy, and eBay, along with Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento2.
See how ridiculously easy it is to integrate your marketplaces with ClickShip in this step-by-step video that shows you how to integrate ClickShip to your Amazon seller account.
|Read this next: How to Move Your Physical Store Online During COVID-19|
6. Augmented Reality (AR) will Elevate the Online Buying Experience
Technology is set to take over eCommerce in more ways than we could have imagined even a few years ago. Even as contactless purchases become the norm, it is difficult for customers to experience a product the same way that they would have in a physical environment. Sellers are looking at more ways to keep customers interested and reduce cart abandonment. That is where AR will take centerstage.
AR allows eCommerce customers to preview products and experience services in their own environment and at their own convenience before making a purchase. It helps re-create the in-store experience through experiences such as virtual try-ons.
By 2022, over 120,000 stores are expected to be using AR technologies to offer customers an enhanced buying experience.
How You Can Capitalize - According to, Shopify sellers that deploy AR can increase their conversion rates by as much as 94%. A big reason for this is the increased engagement that AR brings to any interaction that a potential customer has with your brand. The more time a customer spends on your website, the more likely that the purchase will happen. You can also attract new customers by creating engaging AR campaigns. Experiencing a product in a more comprehensive way increases customers’ confidence in its quality and can be the difference between an abandoned cart and a sale.
7. Mobile Commerce will Take Over eCommerce
M-commerce (mobile commerce) refers to eCommerce conducted through wireless handheld devices such as smartphones.
The use of mobile phones, across all demographics, is increasingly influencing buying decisions, even if the eventual purchase happens in a brick-and-mortar store.
By 2021, M-commerce sales are likely to account for 54% of all ecommerce sales.
It’s clear that sellers must optimize their eCommerce stores for mobile users. Not only would it increase customers’ overall experience but also significantly expands reach. Moreover, integrating mobile with other channels truly results in an omnichannel experience - you want to be where your customers are most of your customers are browsing through their mobile phones!
|How You can Capitalize - Make your website mobile-responsive, which means that customers should be able to experience a seamless checkout process no matter how small the screen they are using. Deploying mobile will also allow you to cash in on customers’ use of mobile wallets, among the many payment options available today.|
8. AI in eCommerce will Become More Intelligent and Less Artificial
AI has embedded itself into all aspects of our lives. eCommerce will be no different.
With machine learning and chatbots becoming more mainstream, sellers will be able to capitalize on AI to dramatically improve customer experience and sales.
For instance, brands are already using AI to make recommendations for customers’ next purchase, based on their history. In addition, sellers can deploy voice search to better position their products to customers. AI will also be instrumental at the backend, for example to assist with inventory predictions.
|How You Can Capitalize - AI is no longer tomorrow’s tech - it is here and now, ready for you to be used. You can start by using AI tools to facilitate your marketing, improve customer experience and better perform critical tasks for your business. For instance, you can use Autocomplete Search Plugins to help users find product ideas that they had not even thought about, leading to increased session time and more sales. eCommerce stores can also deploy voice command apps that enable visitors to search for products (especially on mobile). One such app is EasyAsk, a voice search engine, and Chloe AI, a Magento-based voice app.|
2021 is Yours to Seize!
While 2020 was a year of turmoil, it was also presented opportunities. In 2021, the stage is set for you to fully capitalize on these and make this year count!
Which eCommerce trend will you try to capitalize on?
Written by Ankur Khurana
Content Writer at Freightcom