Articles | April 15, 2021
Top e-commerce trends for 2021
When we were trying to predict the main e-commerce trends for 2020, no one could have foreseen the enormous growth of this industry. Previously considered an alternative sales channel, thanks to the pandemic it quickly became the main one. Today we know much more about the impact of the “corona revolution” and its potential impact on the industry, including in the context of emerging technological trends. Read on to find out more about the predicted trends for the e-commerce industry in 2021.
When we were trying to predict the future trends in ecommerce for 2020, no one could have foreseen the enormous growth of this industry. Previously considered an alternative sales channel, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic it quickly became the main one. Today we know much more about the impact of the “corona revolution” and its potential impact on the industry, including in the context of emerging technological trends. Read on to find out more about the future of ecommerce and which ecommerce trends are worth observing by online store owners.
2020: the rise of e-commerce
In 2020 we could observe e-commerce coming to dominate the retail industry. Due to the subsequent lockdowns, sales moved to the online world and we witnessed the expansion of ecommerce. According to a McKinsey report, in 2020 the ecommerce industry grew 2 to 5 times faster when compared to the pre-pandemic era. This resulted in an increased number of online shops (by 39%, as per a PrestaShop report) and significant growth of e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce or Magento. The trend continues apace – according to Statista research, by 2023 e-commerce will make up 22% of global retail sales. The development of ecommerce businesses has had an impact on other sectors of the economy, bringing about rapid development in logistics and warehousing.
Online shopping – new ecommerce trends
The COVID-19 pandemic has come with new challenges, but it has also created new opportunities for the retail industry. Due to social distancing and the unavailability of traditional services, customers adjust their shopping routines and search for convenient, safe and ecological options. Here it is worth mentioning trends that might become the future of ecommerce such as:
- Click and collect – customers buy products (e.g. clothes, shoes, devices) online and collect them at a store.
- E-grocery – customers buy food online and pick it up at a store or get it delivered.
- Out-of-home delivery – customers eagerly take advantage of online shopping and collecting products in dedicated parcel lockers in the neighborhood. This kind of service is considered convenient and ecological.
- Ecological delivery – the eco-trend has also reached the e-commerce industry. Customers admit that they are ready to pay extra for the ecological delivery of products, e.g. to reduce the carbon footprint.
Top trends in e-commerce in 2021
The marketplaces model is booming and it can be regarded as the leading e-commerce trend. This business concept allows numerous vendors to sell their products in one place, similar to shopping malls.
The role of digital services has risen significantly, and nowadays multi-channel strategy is the standard rather than a trend. Physical retailers need to adjust their offer to multiple channels, so as to assure access to products both online, via various digital devices, and offline.
Focus on UX and personalization
According to the McKinsey report, UX in e-commerce has become an imperative. Product discovery retail sellers need to know their customers, their needs and preferences, and introduce solutions to improve the Customer Experience. Listing many product attributes so as to facilitate product filtering is only one way of promoting the offer and supporting the decision-making process. Nowadays Voice Search and Visual Search, as well as recommending complementary products, are a key element of personalization, ensuring the best possible Customer Experience.
Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
The role of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in e-commerce is increasing as customers expect better UX. These high-tech solutions make shopping faster, more convenient and secure. They also come with measurable profits for retailers, improving conversion and allowing them to analyze huge sets of data.
E-commerce goes Agile
As the situation today is highly dynamic, it is hard to plan the entire year. Retailers could use Agile methodology to plan their sales and marketing activities and divide them into shorter periods, e.g. quarter Sprints.
It seems that there is no turning back from mobile commerce, as nowadays over 50% of consumers use their mobile devices for shopping online. Research shows that they will leave the page if it does not load in three seconds. Retailers should then focus on making the page responsive and treating the mobile shopping experience as a priority.
In 2020 we were urged to switch from using cash to other payment methods. Online transactions were trending even before the pandemic broke out.
Cross border selling is becoming increasingly important. We can observe the expansion of global e-commerce brands such as Amazon and Allegro, making their products available for a wider audience. This comes with the challenge of incorporating digital solutions that will allow retailers to deliver products faster, at lower costs, and to handle issues related to language barriers and legal regulations.
Social selling is getting more and more popular, as 54% of customers admit they are interested in so-called live product presentations and live streaming on social media. Customers also join dedicated groups on Facebook where they can find products which pique their interest.
It is no secret that European society is aging. It is predicted that by 2030 senior citizens (aka the “Silver Power” generation) aged 65+ will make up ¼ of the European population. Nowadays senior citizens take advantage of online shopping just as eagerly as younger generations, due in no small part to the pandemic. Online retailers should not underestimate the UX needs of this group while preparing their online offers.
Headless commerce & PWA
Last but not least, to stay competitive, e-commerce sellers need to ensure that their websites are fast, responsive, and visually attractive. This is where PWA and headless commerce architecture come in handy. Headless commerce is the separation of the front end and back end of an e-commerce application, fostering flexibility and speed. Turning the page into a Progressive Web Application helps to improve its responsiveness and thereby ensure a better Customer Experience.
What’s the future of e-commerce?
Nowadays the e-commerce industry is thriving and requires solutions allowing ecommerce businesses to sell products faster and more efficiently and thereby ensure the best possible Customer Experience. The habits of consumers and their expectations are reshaping the e-commerce industry before our very eyes. Retailers need to implement digital solutions to keep up with the latest trends (e.g. omnichannel strategy, mobile commerce, social commerce), and bet on technologies that improve the Customer Experience regardless of the target group. Will they shape the future of ecommerce? The time should show.