4 Ecommerce Trends to Watch Out For in 2021

The past 12 months have been huge for e-commerce.  In the UK alone, online sales soared by 36% in 2020 – the highest annual growth seen since 2007.

This staggering increase in online shopping was an offshoot of the pandemic, which resulted in physical retail businesses being forced to close as a result of nationwide lockdowns.

Although the majority of retailers will already have rolled with the punches and figured out how to incorporate digital solutions into their business models, it’s essential to keep your eye on what’s trending in e-commerce as the year progresses.

Read on to find out what’s bound to be big in e-commerce in 2021 and how you can implement these trends in order to boost your own sales. 

  1. Personalised buying experience and advanced customisation

Picture the scene: a shopper walks into one of their favourite stores and is greeted warmly by a member of staff who remembers their name. 

The shop assistant then goes on  to recommend the client a product they know they will love, based on their previous in-store purchases. 

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Every consumer likes feeling special, and if you are unable to create that experience in-store for the time being there’s no reason you can’t start doing it in your online shop instead.

Luckily, technology can take care of most of the legwork for you. 

If previous customers have given permission for you to use their data, i.e. when signing up to your newsletter, use this valuable info to build a picture of their buying behaviour. 

Things to consider include the last time they made a purchase, their typical spending range and the types of products they usually buy.

You can then use this data to personalise their online experience and any future marketing you send their way.

  1. The Growing Importance of Sustainability

Research shows that consumers are now actively seeking out companies that implement environmentally friendly practices, with 65% of shoppers expressing a desire to buy from brands that promote sustainability.

E-commerce powerhouse Amazon responded to this consumer trend  by pledging to reduce their carbon emissions to 0 by 2040.

One of the ways you can implement “green consumerism” into your business is by switching to eco-friendly, recyclable packaging.

Also consider ditching paper invoices and receipts, and instead send these documents to customers via email.

Contemplate taking an inventory of your current products to see how many of them are sustainably produced.  For those that aren’t, think about switching them to those that employ eco-friendly processes or materials.

Aligning your brand with a charitable organisation can also be an effective way of communicating to your customers that you are environmentally conscious.

  1. The Rise of Mobile Commerce

According to Statista, mobile e-commerce is set to generate $3.5 trillion in 2021 and account for almost 72.9 % of all  e-commerce sales.

Although desktop sales are still an important force in the market, consumers are using their phones more and more to shop online.

As an e-commerce retailer, you risk losing orders if your website is not optimised for mobile devices.

Mobile commerce online shopping

A 2018 survey showed that 30% of online shoppers were likely to abandon their order baskets if they discovered the website was not mobile friendly.

You can make your own platform easy to navigate for mobile users in a variety of ways. 

With slow loading pages the main culprit for basket abandonment, make sure to implement Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) on your site to make it more lightweight and therefore speedier to load on a mobile device.

Use a tool such as the Google Mobile Friendly Test to run a virtual health check on your website.  This will allow you to establish how well your page performs on a mobile phone and flag up any issues.  You can then use your findings to make adjustments accordingly. 

  1. Competitive Pricing and Delivery Solutions

When it comes to shopping online,internet users are only ever one finger-swipe away from abandoning your site and heading over to a competitor’s.

So what will keep consumers repeat-buying from your e-commerce store when there are so many others out there?

According to statistics, pricing is one of the most important factors in ensuring customer loyalty.  With competition in the sector so high, consumers will not pay inflated prices for a product they are well aware they can get cheaper elsewhere.

Do your research in the market and ensure that your product is competitively priced to be in with a chance of securing orders.

Another vital component of the buyer journey was shipping costs and delivery times.

In one survey, 68% of  US online shoppers said that they didn’t make a purchase at least half of the time when a retailer failed to offer free shipping.

A further 40% said that the reason why they didn’t make a purchase was because it wouldn’t arrive on time, with 20% citing unclear delivery rates as the reason they abandoned their basket.

Although Brexit has thrown a spanner in the works for many e-commerce retailers – resulting in extra charges for UK based businesses sending products abroad – it’s important you keep delivery costs as reasonable as possible if you hope to compete with other online sellers.

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Conclusion

Far from being a flash in the pan, it seems a consumer shift towards online shopping may be here to stay, even after the pandemic is over.

By keeping your eye on what’s trending in the e-commerce sector in 2021 – such as sustainability, personalised buying and mobile commerce – you will ensure your retail business is answering consumer demand and keeping your online customers happy.

Good luck and happy retailing!

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