The pandemic hasn’t had many positive ripple effects, except when one looks at eCommerce. According to experts, the pandemic of 2020 has launched eCommerce approximately 5 years ahead. This change has caused a shift in buying habits and more. According to research conducted by Arlington Research and PFSweb’s operation business unit, 44% of consumers have tried at least one new brand during Covid-19 due to lack of stock or extended delivery times. The study also found:
Four out of ten consumers have shopped a new website during the pandemic.
- 45% of consumers who have shopped a new website during the pandemic will continue to shop that site following a positive experience.
- 39% of consumers would rather shop directly on a brand’s website rather than a marketplace website.
This dramatic change also affects the trends within eCommerce as well. As you begin to build or modify your eCommerce strategy for 2021, consider keeping your eye on these trends.
Because 2020 forced more people to go online to shop, more businesses are putting an emphasis on omnichannel shopping. Omnichannel retail refers to the creation and maintenance of a presence on several channels and platforms, which creates a seamless, uniformed experience for the customer. Whether its Google Shopping, social media ads or email, consumers are more likely to shop for products across multiple channels within their buyer journey. Analytics tools like Finteza can help you to step up your eCommerce game by providing detailed analytics that identify customer behaviors. It can also assist you in analyzing which products are in demand, monitoring your profit and loss, and evaluating customer loyalty.
Other ways you can offer a seamless omnichannel experience is by:
- Optimizing your website for mobile devices. Budget permitting create a mobile app or a PWA.
- Personalizing the customer experience .
- Utilizing tools like SAP Commerce Cloud to ensure a personalized and comprehensive ecommerce experience with end-to-end online retail processes.
The Rise of Visual Commerce
Visual commerce is the use of imagery throughout your entire store to entice users to engage with your products and turn those engagements to conversions. An example of visual commerce would be to place shortcuts on the images on your homepage that enable consumers to purchase the product directly. Every interaction a consumer has on your website should present them with the opportunity to make a purchase.
Here are four ways you can leverage visual commerce:
- Change your default products from JPG to JPEG2000 or WebP formats to improve quality and loading speed.
- Create 360-degree images or videos of your top-selling products.
- Invest in a visual search tool to allow customers to search for products using images.
- Create visual shopping ads on Pinterest to drive traffic to your website and increase sales.
New Payment Options
Did you know that payment options are one of the main reasons why consumers choose certain brands? Not offering customers a preferred payment method increases the chances they won’t purchase from your eCommerce store. Apart from debit and credit cards, Google Pay, Samsung or Apple Pay, and PayPal are accepted forms of payment at most eCommerce businesses. Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, can offer low transaction fees and no reverse transactions. Recently, Overstock partnered with Coinbase, a Bitcoin platform, to allow customers to use Bitcoin as a payment method. In 2021, we may see more ecommerce businesses start accepting cryptocurrencies for transactions.
Use of AI and AR To Enhance the Shopper Experience
Retail spending on AI will grow to $7.3 billion by 2022, and 120,000 stores will be using AR technologies to further enrich a customer’s buying experience. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the online equivalent of an in-store associate, offering personalized suggestions and recommendations. By using a customer’s past purchase history and browsing behavior AI can determine which products they’re more likely to buy. Augmented reality (AR) allows customers to see how a certain product would look on them even before they buy the product. Think of those Warby Parker commercials that offer customers the option to try different glasses online.
AI can also help you to streamline your marketing or make enhancements to the customer experience. You can begin implementing AI by using tools like SparkToro, which crawls social media profiles to learn with podcasts, social profiles and more are popular with your audience. By implementing AI and AR in your ecommerce store, you’ll likely see a rise in conversions.
Using Shoppable Video Ads on Social Media
The rise of social media use also has increased the opportunity for brands to advertise and create opportunities for purchases on these platforms. Instagram shopping, a main channel for business owners, has continued to grow and evolve. Recently they’ve extended their shopping feature to creators.
Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, introduced Facebook Shops in 2020, where businesses can create an online store on Facebook for free. Shopify has also partnered with TIkTok bringing eCommerce to this platform. YouTube, owned by Google, has introduced shoppable video ads.
These moves made by large tech companies are just the next step in the evolution of shopping online. Consumers will be able to shop for items from whatever social channel they’re browsing on, which is great for businesses who utilize it as another sales channel in order to grow their business.
Customers no longer want to just make a purchase online. They want to create a connection, an experience that’s uniquely theirs. Personalization isn’t just limited to email marketing. One way you can use personalization in your eCommerce strategy is to obtain your customer’s consent to record information and use it to suggest items to purchase (based on their buying history). Chatbots are also an effective tool to build personal conversations with your customer. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that your chatbot has answers to frequently asked questions.
Birchbox…Netflix…Manscaped…subscription eCommerce is quickly replacing the one-time buyers and single-time orders. eCommerce subscription provides ongoing services or products on a regular basis in exchange for regular payments from the customer. The advantages of adapting to this model include:
- Better order forecasts and fulfillment predictions.
- A win-win situation for buyers and sellers. Sellers have more frequent orders and buyers receive additional discounts.
- Reduced retention rate.
Music mogul Clive Davis once said, “You’ve got to seize the opportunity if it is presented to you.” 2020 created an opportunity that will only continue to grow for online retailers. Armed with the right strategy for your eCommerce business, you can make 2021 your best year ever, or at least a profitable one. The online territory is wide open…go seize it!