2020 was not an easy year for anyone, businesses included. While the pandemic accelerated the shift towards digital shopping, this huge boom in ecommerce also brought steeper competition. Many businesses found success during this time, but most have yet to find their footing in this increasingly online industry. However, it’s never too late. With every change in ecommerce trends, new opportunities are revealed. As the world continues to recover, so do struggling businesses.
In 2020, US online retail grew by 40.3 percent, the highest annual ecommerce growth in the country in at least two decades.
2021 is sure to be full of surprises, but here’s our best look forward at some of the year’s biggest ecommerce trends.
Ecommerce Trend #1: More Adaptive and Flexible Ways to Shop Online
Shopping both in-store and online used to be a lot simpler. To get through the pandemic, retailers have had to think outside of the box to more safely and effectively reach their customers.
One of the most widely adopted shopping methods is the combination of buying online and curbside pickup. Many shoppers have forgone shopping for groceries in-store in favor of this far safer and easier method. To meet customer demand and better protect their workers, countless businesses have adopted this method, including Walmart, Target, Best Buy and far more.
The world’s largest retailer is taking things even further, offering pickup or delivery of fresh goods within an hour. Amazon also offers same-day or one-day delivery for many of its items backed by Prime. However, they aren’t the only ones getting food to people quickly. Instacart, GrubHub and UberEats have seen massive success with their food delivery services. These companies show that people are willing to pay extra for convenience and safety, and their popularity continues to grow in 2021.
Ecommerce Trend #2: Further Migration to Mobile Commerce
Before 2020, mobile shopping was already dominant in the ecommerce industry. In the US and other developed countries, most people use their phones to manage their daily lives, and this includes shopping online. Now that shopping in-store has become potentially unsafe and impossible, our phones have become our only options, especially for those without computers.
Aforementioned apps like Amazon, Instacart and GrubHub have made the transition easy and efficient. The ability to store bank account and card information into these apps for future purchases is huge, especially as cashless payments are seeing a surge due to the pandemic. These apps aren’t going anywhere—if anything, more are popping up every day, further pulling people towards mobile commerce in 2021.
Ecommerce Trend #3: Embracing Corporate Social Responsibility
While consumers choose to buy products based on value and price, many base their decision on brands. Brand reputation can be an overlooked factor when it comes to selling products, but it shouldn’t be. For proof of this, just look at brands like Uber, which lost hundreds of thousands of customers after statements made by its then-CEO. On the other side of the coin, a positive reputation can do wonders for a brand.
2020 was an especially rough year for the US, not just economically but socially. Last summer, COVID-19 took a backseat as millions of Americans took to the streets to protest for social equality. However, everyday people weren’t the only ones who joined the fight; many businesses showed their support through donations, charities, establishing foundations and more. The same can be said for companies like Amazon and Walmart, which donated millions of dollars and essential products to help relieve struggling Americans during the pandemic.
It is important to document philanthropy, share it humbly, and extend support over a long period of time to build public trust and avoid skepticism or claims of being disingenuous. Pledges to donate to the fight for equality or become more diverse must be fulfilled, otherwise public scrutiny will be massive. However, even if people do accuse a company of jumping on the bandwagon, commitment to longtime support builds consumer trust, and is certainly better than doing nothing at all.
Ecommerce Trend #4: Utilizing New Visual Technology
While 2020 saw businesses and consumers dip their toes into new visual commerce technology, 2021 will redefine it. Now that businesses have seen what is working, a massive adoption is coming. The largest emerging technology is augmented reality. Remember that smart phone everybody carries in their pocket? It is becoming the vehicle that AR is using to completely change online shopping.
Using AR, sellers can create exciting customer experiences that shoppers interact with using their smart phones, from any location. Instead of wondering what products look like in person, customers can now “try” them out by viewing them virtually in their own home. This helps reduce product returns and unsatisfied customers whose expectations were not met. AR is quickly gaining momentum as sellers have seen the potential of this cutting-edge technology, and 2021 will likely prove to be its renaissance.
Don’t Get Left Behind in 2021
The world’s most successful brands have already started integrating AR into their digital strategy, and it’s time for your business to join them and get ahead of the competition. We’re here to help. As one of ecommerce’s leading content agencies, we make sure customers notice your products.
Get in touch with us for more information and a free sample of our work.