Global eCommerce has witnessed revolutions since it first commenced in 1991. As you can already see, online retail is by no means the same as it was two decades ago. And as we enter a new decade, we can expect to see some big changes in eCommerce.
The rise in online retail, digital payments, and the COVID-19 pandemic have all greatly impacted eCommerce, both in a positive and negative way.
In this post, we’ll delve into some trends in online shopping and changes you could see in 2021, along with how retailers should adapt to them.
Also Read: How to start an eCommerce business?
1. The Rise of Voice Commerce
Voice assistant devices like Alexa and Siri are on the rise. The surge of IoT and speech recognition technology has made voice assistants an essential part of almost every household. While voice assistants are already changing lives, a new ability is expected to add to their list of functionalities. In the future, you’ll be able to make purchases online with voice commands.
While the feature is cool for consumers, it poses a challenge for merchants and sellers. Merchants will need to optimize everything from their trending online shopping sites and landing pages to conversation funnel to adapt to accommodate voice searches. We can also anticipate the rise of voice SEO, and website owners will need to adjust accordingly.
2. Omnichannel Shopping
Omnichannel retailing isn’t a new concept. For years, retail brands have been providing consistent customer experience across different channels for years. But still, omnichannel selling hasn’t yet entered the mainstream.
But 2021 is expected to be the year of omnichannel selling. A survey by Harvard Business Review suggested that 73% of shoppers use multiple channels in their shopping journey.
This trend is further expected to be ignited by the rise of mobile shopping and voice assistants.
Of course, retail brands have some work to do. Here are a few steps retailers will need to take to adapt to the increasing demand for omnichannel shopping.
- Optimize your online store for mobile devices. Or better, create a mobile app or PWA.
- Provide comprehensive and personalized processes with end-to-end online retail processes
- Offer multiple purchase options, like home delivery, pick-up, and in-store.
3. Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality
Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) are being increasingly used in the retail industry. More than 120,000 stores have already implemented AR capabilities in their store. Besides, the overall expenditure on AI-based retail will surge to $7.3 billion by 2022.
AI allows you to provide personalized experiences to your customers. Take chatbots, for example. Chatbots have almost replaced lower-level customer service executives. AI also helps you provide intelligent shopping suggestions to your customers, which increases your chance of making more sales and conversions.
4. New Payment Options
Gone are the days when cash used to be the only way to make payments. Online banking and cards replaced cash, and now we have e-wallets entirely revolutionizing the e-commerce industry. In fact, the growing trend of online shopping is pure because of the variety of payment options.
But let’s not forget that cryptocurrency is making its way to the world of retail. Bitcoin, Etherium, and other cryptocurrency wallets have already become mainstream payment options in various industries, and the retail sector will soon witness this trend.
Obviously, this means retailers will need to add more payment methods to their stores. As cryptocurrency is set to become the new normal of online payments, retailers should start developing a cryptocurrency payment strategy as soon as possible.
5. Dynamic Pricing Will Continue
Dynamic pricing has been one of the popular future trends in online shopping among eCommerce retailers for the past couple of years. And it’s expected to continue.
Also known as demand pricing or surge pricing, dynamic pricing refers to a business strategy where retailers sell products for variable prices. The prices vary based on several factors, like demand, timing, stick levels, etc. Dynamic pricing is prevalent in the travel and hospitality industry, and it’s set to remain a popular trend in the eCommerce sector, as well.
Most retailers have already adopted dynamic pricing. If you haven’t, now is the time. There are several tools and software solutions available that allow you to utilize dynamic pricing.
6. Mobile Commerce over Ecommerce
Mobile commerce has arguably been one of the biggest online retail shopping trends in the 2015-2020 forecast period. The upcoming decade will be no different. Mobile devices are expected to make more than 70% of all eCommerce sales by 2021. Moreover, 30% of shoppers are likely to abandon their cards if the site doesn’t offer a mobile-friendly experience.
For online sellers, the path is clear as a crystal. Make your e-commerce site mobile-friendly. There are several ways to make your website mobile-friendly. These include:
- Develop a progressive web app for your site
- Implement accelerated mobile pages (AMP)
- Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
- Provide a smooth checkout process
7. The Rise of Sustainability Practices
Consumers, especially millennials, have been becoming increasingly environment-friendly. They’re moving towards eco-friendly products that preserve and improve the environment. Take Adidas UltraBoost, for example. Adidas made 11 million pairs of shoes made out of 2,810 tons of ocean plastic. Because these millennials prefer to shop online these kinds of shoes over conventional products to benefit the environment.
The response? The brand sold over a million copies in the first year itself.
Of course, not all retailers can take such initiatives, especially on such a large scale. But do at least something meaningful for the environment.
For example, you can switch to eco-friendly packaging practices and use materials like clothes and recycled wrapping sheets for packaging. Another way is to eliminate paper receipts and bills to use digital invoices and receipts only.
E-commerce is an ever-changing industry. New global trends in eCommerce emerge every now and then, and most of these trends are driven by the consumers. And as always, retailers and merchants need to adapt.
The story in 2021 is no different. New technologies and functionalities have emerged, and retailers are obliged to deploy the necessary changes.