NOVEMBER, 2021 / By Ben Wilson
eCommerce Solutions & Biggest Trends in 2021 | Web Force 5
The Biggest eCommerce Trends in 2021
Online shopping was invented way back in 1979(1), however it didn’t actually become economically viable until the Internet and in 1995 the first online purchase was conducted on Amazon(2). In the decades since, eCommerce has evolved and developed considerably, helping businesses grow and with improvements in technology, Internet connectivity and improved security, there is nothing stopping it!
eCommerce was growing rapidly before COVID-19, but the pandemic has only pushed more and more consumers online. Store closures and repeated lockdowns around the world has meant consumers had little choice but to shop from home, even those who were not online shoppers previously.
Globally, retail eCommerce sales increased by 25.7% in 2020 and even more in early 2021(3). With this growth has come the expectation from consumers for effective, personalized and interactive shopping experiences.
The online retail world is becoming more and more competitive, so to stay ahead of the competition, businesses need to focus on their eCommerce solutions. If you don’t keep up with the trends, you risk falling behind so learn about the common eCommerce trends to take advantage of.
The Growth of Online Sales is Unstoppable
Online sales have gone through the roof! Online shopping is one of the most popular online activities and is projected to continue growing. There has been an increase in trust that buyers have when shopping online, along with improved shopping experiences and security. Websites have become much more user-friendly too so overall it is a comfortable experience.
eCommerce and COVID-19
The pandemic has surely boosted eCommerce’s success in the last couple of years, but it’s not temporary - it has found a whole new group of consumers and the comfort and convenience of online stores and contactless payments is appealing to many. The result is likely to be a permanent shift in the behavior of consumers towards digital purchasing.
Unfortunately, actual physical stores have been negatively impacted by the pandemic which has forced businesses to move online, or vastly improve what they were already doing.
Increase in Mobile Shopping
Sales made via mobile devices are on the rise so improving the eCommerce experience for mobile users is a massive opportunity for businesses.
The younger generations have grown up with computers and the Internet and the level of trust is high, therefore they make up a large portion of online consumers, particularly using mobile devices.
Businesses are putting more emphasis on their online stores being optimized for mobile use, so eCommerce is easier for customers.
Young Consumers Driving the Shift
Overall, consumers around the world are using the Internet to purchase goods, but it is the younger generations who are really pushing the increase in sales. Survey results indicate that 67% of consumers aged 18 to 34 are spending more money on online shopping than prior to the pandemic(4).
Targeting your younger customers is an effective way to increase sales potential for your business.
Social Media and eCommerce
Which brings us to the next trend - social media. The majority of young consumers discover independent brands via social media, more than other age groups. With the introduction of the “Buy” button on Facebook and Instagram Checkout, social media platforms are boosting the number of social shoppers.
Consumers are spending more time on social media so it’s an ideal way to be discovered, particularly for new or smaller businesses. For example, Instagram influencers can increase your chances of being seen by your target audience, and platforms like Shopify can make it easy for businesses to link their online stores with social media. The video-sharing app TikTok is the latest favourite, and they are also working on incorporating eCommerce elements.
Social media continues to become a regular part of our daily lives so it will be a powerful asset in the future.
Simply explained, headless commerce is the separation of the front end and back end of an eCommerce application, enabling businesses to have the flexibility to build what they want and most importantly it will enrich the customer experience.
AI and AR to Assist with Shopping
Not being able to see the products you’re interested in firsthand has always been a negative of online shopping. Augmented Reality (AR) offers a much richer shopping experience as this technology helps customers to better visualize the products that interest them. Businesses using AR will help them stand out by delivering more personalized experiences to shoppers.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) includes functions such as chatbots - a quick and convenient way for shoppers to ask questions or find out more information. AI collects data on how customers shop and what they shop for, which is fantastic information for a business to have.
The buy-now-pay-later model is being used on eCommerce websites because the more ways customers can pay for products, the better - customers want choice. Offering an option such as this is likely to entice people to purchase items more confidently, even those that are expensive.
Personalisation is Essential
With an increase in online purchasing, comes an increased demand for a personalized online shopping experience. To engage customers, offering personalized messages by email or targeting a group with relevant information such as a discount or useful video will improve the shopping experience and more likely lead to a sale. And of course, satisfied customers are more likely to become repeat customers.
Demand for Green Consumerism
There is an increase in demand for environmentally sustainable products and practices. eCommerce businesses need to strive to become more sustainable in all facets to meet the needs of consumers becoming increasingly conscious of looking after the environment. With environmentally friendly practices becoming more evident in shopping, it is time to change.
Independent Businesses are Favoured
A growing number of shoppers are becoming open to purchasing from new and independent businesses. This has largely been as a result of the pandemic which has affected many small businesses and has inspired people to support them. Reasons also include an interest in unique products and improved, more personalized customer service.
There are numerous eCommerce solutions on the market so before you jump in, do your research to determine the best way to go for your online business. Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce solutions, along with WooCommerce (as part of WordPress), BigCommerce and Adobe Commerce (formally Magento).
Consider factors such as the ease of use and functionality of the content management system, SEO capabilities, security and third-party integrations. We can help compare the options and determine the best eCommerce platform for your business.
At Web Force 5, we have expertise across all major platforms and have also developed an intuitive, comprehensive and flexible website content management system, Continuum. Give us a call for a free no obligation chat to discuss your eCommerce plans and watch your business soar.