2020 was a year of unprecedented growth for ecommerce, with more than 30% of all retail sales in the UK now attributable to the sector. The COVID-19 pandemic may have presented new challenges to digital businesses, but it also unlocked incredible opportunities for those who were agile. Below, we’ve put together some emerging ecommerce trends that will help you identify new revenue streams and change the way you operate your online business…
The rise of social shopping
Keen to grab a slice of the ecommerce pie, many of the world’s largest technology firms have introduced new ecommerce features in 2020, designed to encourage consumers to spend directly inside of their applications. Facebook and YouTube are two of the biggest players, taking a leaf out of China’s WeChat, which facilitates 1 billion transactions a day.
Facebook launched a whole host of new features such as Facebook Shops, an online storefront for small business owners, and it waived fees on all sales until the end of 2020.
Instagram, on the other hand, launched gift cards for small businesses, and shoppable posts for even the smallest of creators. The social network even added a new shopping tab to its user interface, much to the dismay of some users, further pushing consumers to spend on the platform. Depending on the nature of your ecommerce business, you could find social shopping becomes your “new norm” in 2021, though you should bear in mind fees and commission rates taken by Facebook, and look into alternative ecommerce options where you have more control over your brand. Indeed, when you list products for sales on your Facebook page or Instagram, you’re limited as to what you can display, the data you can collect on your users, and sales techniques such as time-sensitive offers, so consider social shopping an extension of your efforts rather than a replacement for your current platform.
Video content comes to the fore
The COVID-19 pandemic may have changed online shopping behaviours for good, but it didn’t do so on its own. Before 2020, more than half of UK consumers said they preferred to shop online rather than in-store. As an ecommerce brand, finding new ways of bringing your products to life is a good idea, allowing you to bridge the gap and allow them to “try before they buy”. In competitive niches, custom video content can also differentiate your business and make you the number one choice when customers are shopping. Companies including Google are getting in on the trend, too, launching services such as Shoploop, a TikTok-style video service for product demonstrations. Users are able to flick through videos until they find a product they like, similar to a clothes rail, and then purchase directly on the website.
The truth is, video content can be prohibitively expensive for small businesses, but you don’t need to break the bank. Utilise the power of social media to create product showcase videos from your home, or depend on user-generated content, offering incentives to shoppers.
Data plays an even greater role
Ecommerce sales might be on the up globally, but with so much competition, brands cannot afford to rest on their laurels. Collecting data on customers is the best way to improve your shopping experience and help users make more informed purchasing decisions, which will ultimately increase their average order value. In 2021, make sure you’re investing in the right analytics and data collection tools that help to predict what your customers want to see and buy and utilise product recommendations strategically to increase sales. It’s true that not everyone likes personalisation, and in some cases, it could work against you, but with the right strategy, it can benefit both you and your users. Make use of off-site strategies such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, email marketing, social media marketing, and app notifications.
A shift in ecommerce marketing
As the world went into lockdown and ecommerce brands looked to push their products to a captive audience, the average CPM jumped on Facebook and Google. Since then, brands have begun experimenting with new marketing tactics to boost sales, turning their attention to email marketing, Facebook Groups, and influencer campaigns. As we enter 2021, it’s time to explore alternative sales channels for your business and depend on data analysis to find out which works best for you. A strategy that delivers for a competitor might not be right for your business, so don’t eliminate anything until you’ve given it a go. From affiliate marketing and chatbots to online PR and tie-ins with other brands, there are many avenues to explore.
Despite a climb in ecommerce sales in 2020, cart abandonment remains high. In 2021, brands will continue to push for simplified, minimalistic ecommerce designs that put their products front-and-centre and eliminate common distractions which can lead to high bounce rates. From cutting down the number of form fields on a checkout process to accepting more payment methods such as Amazon Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal, there are many ways that you can eliminate distractions and increase your conversion rate. Take a leaf out of Amazon’s book and accept that simplification is an ongoing process; A/B testing can help.
Need help implementing these 2021 ecommerce trends?
If you’re looking for help implementing these ecommerce trends in 2021, depend on the ecommerce web development experts at Zudu. Give us a call on 01382 690080 to discuss your project.