Top 9 Ecommerce Trends To Watch For in 2021

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June 2, 2021
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Top 9 Ecommerce Trends To Watch For in 2021
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In 1994, Pizza Hut made history by selling their first pizza online in Santa Cruz, CA.

In 2021, ecommerce expanded far beyond food delivery services, making $4.89 trillion in sales across all retail sectors worldwide. The industry players learned to adapt to the outside forces (just consider the COVID pandemic!), while the customers are ready to fling their digital wallets open for any retailer catering to their whims.

At Elogic, we stay on the front lines of ecommerce development, so we know what the online retailers are up to. Learn about the latest ecommerce trends to win your competition and drive sales in 2021. 

Pressed on time? Check out this short video with five most important ecommerce trends for 2021.

Looking for more insights backed by research? Read on to find what’s trending now!

Why Are Ecommerce Trends so Important?

A classic stock market wisdom goes “the trend is your friend”. Indeed, any trend shows the direction of the market and should guide the decision-making. Here are a few reasons why hopping on the latest online shopping trends benefits any kind of business, including ecommerce:

Trends help discover possibilities: even if you’re not ready to implement new technology like AR and VR in user shopping experience, you might still see what the future holds for ecommerce and set it as your measure of success.

Retailers can gain a competitive edge: you’ll sell more items and conduct a more accurate competitive analysis if you recognize a trend at its earliest stage rather than when it starts fading away.

Merchants get to know their audience: nothing is stable in this world, and neither are the consumers’ tastes and needs. See the trends to learn about the hot items on your customers’ shopping list, their ways to interact with brands, most popular ecommerce channels, etc.

Trends teach businesses to adapt: ecommerce undergoes a seismic shift now since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Spotting the trends can help you identify and address your areas of weaknesses before your business goes down with the ship.

Top 9 Ecommerce Trends to Dominate in 2021

Any trend analysis starts with research. So we’ve decided to save you some time and put forward the latest ecommerce trends we consider important. Read on!

Omnichannel Commerce Is the New Normal

Consumer behavior has changed in the past years. They may research products online and make a purchase in a brick-and-mortar store. Or follow a sponsored post on Instagram to discover more options of the same item on a website. Actually, a whopping 84.9% of customers won’t purchase an item until they’ve seen it multiple times.

Omnichannel commerce will bring your brand at your customers’ fingertips, literally. Just imagine how easy it would be to discover your products if you sell on Google, social media, marketplaces, and your own ecommerce website altogether. You just have to segment your audience, find the channel each customer segment is listening to, and meet them there to develop meaningful connections.

Here’s an idea for you. The night owl shoppers dictate the emerging trends in ecommerce: marketing campaigns set between 9pm and midnight yield more orders. You can set a social media campaign targeting this customer segment at this time of the day and get more traffic to your website while you sleep!

Best hour of the day to set marketing campaigns.
Click and order rates vary at different times of the day. Source: Omnisend.

Brands Build a Family, not Just a Business

No customer wants to buy from a heartless retailer that cares only about revenue. Instead, they want to see the brand personality: what makes it different from others, how a product is made, how the customers fit into the company’s story. And you don’t need to invest a lot of money to create a special bond with your audience.

Take Elogic’s client Carbon38, for example. It engages its loyal customers into a Team38 ambassador program. It shares customers’ social media photos wearing their sports apparel. It follows the sustainability trend showing that their clothes are made from recycled materials. Carbon38 builds community around the brand and, hence, drives conversions.

A screenshot of Carbon38 website including user-generated content.
An example of customer engagement: user-generated content is reused on Carbon38 website. Source: Carbon38.

 To hop on this retail ecommerce trend, use storytelling, engage with your existing and potential customers across multiple channels, tell them what you care about (insider’s tip: green consumerism is going big these days). You’ll see results in your ecommerce analytics data right away. 

Partnerships Boost Reputation and Sales

Collaboration with like-minded partners gives a double benefit. First, it exposes your brand to a wider audience (at least to that of your partner) and gives a chance to acquire new customers. Second, it increases sales and opens the door to cross-sell. No wonder affiliate partnerships have become a hot ecommerce growth trend nowadays.

Another client of Elogic — Marimekko — has recently announced their first-ever sports apparel collaboration with adidas. Now the customers on both sides can’t wait to see the blend of Marimekko’s art of printmaking and functional style with adidas’ expertise in sports performance.

Adidas x Marimekko sports apparel collaboration campaign. Source: Marimekko.
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Voice Commerce Becomes a Part of Consumers’ Shopping Routine

With the introduction of voice search devices like Apple Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, Amazon Echo, the future of ecommerce is leaning towards voice search rather than text search. According to the UK-based consumer report of Juniper Research, voice commerce sales will jump to more than $80 billion per year by 2023. 

Those who embrace voice commerce are avid users of voice-enabled devices. These are young adults (aged 18-29) who mostly research products, track packages, making a purchase, etc.

Most common reasons for voice search among shoppers.
Most common reasons for voice search among shoppers. Source: Narvar.

How do you prepare yourself for voice search ecommerce optimization? By organize your data. 

Because most voice searches are linked to local searches, you have to optimize text for location (e.g., use keywords like “sell shoes online in New York”). Try to include more “real-life speech” keywords (e.g., “future ecommerce trends” instead of “ecommerce trends future”) and use FAQs. Your website should also load fast and be mobile responsive (after all, that’s where all voice searches take place) and load fast.

Artificial Intelligence Will Drive Analytics

AI-driven analytics is one of the emerging trends in ecommerce, especially among large enterprises operating big data. Smart personalization, voice search, advanced security systems, tailor-made marketing campaigns all stem from AI in ecommerce

In fact, Gartner has made some important projections in this regard:

  • By 2021, 40% of all new enterprise applications implemented by service providers will include AI technologies. 
  • By 2023, the majority of organizations using AI for digital commerce will see at least 25% increase in customer satisfaction, revenue or cost reduction.
  • By 2024, AI identification of emotions will influence more than half of the online advertisements you see.

Even if you find it hard to believe these figures, it might be wise to check on such tools as Adobe Analytics Sense, Google AI platform, SALESmanago, Ayasdi, or ThoughtSpot. Each of them can be easily integrated with your ecommerce platform.

PWAs Continue to Evolve 

First introduced in 2015, Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) still maintain their top place in the list of ecommerce industry trends. A PWA is a website that looks like a mobile app. The reason for their popularity is simple: a merchant keeps the development cost down while delivering native app-like experience to the customers.

Many retailers set an example of PWA use in ecommerce and report startling results. Starbucks increased both customer retention and the company revenues after introducing a mobile app. Similarly, Sephora increased their online orders by 100% with a PWA allowing users to scan products in store and create their personal Beauty Bag accounts. Apparently, the companies that have pioneered in the use of PWA will continue setting the trend for it.

Headless Dictates the Future of Ecommerce

If you still haven’t heard of headless, consider yourself behind the ecommerce trends of the future. In headless commerce, the website front-end (the interface displayed to the customer) and the back-end (the technology behind the website functionalities) are decoupled, meaning they operate independently of one another. 

How do you benefit from headless commerce? First, it’s flexible on the back-end. Second, it’s open to any customizations on the front-end. And third, the website will become lighter and hence faster because each website side will handle different store operations. About 62% of retailers agree that headless commerce can significantly improve engagement and conversions, so it looks like this trend will only grow further.

Ready to try headless on your business? See the best platforms tailor-made to headless ecommerce!
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Headless Ecommerce Platforms in 2021 – the Ultimate Guide

Chatbots Improve Customer Service

With AI systems getting more advanced, chatbots will continue to be one of the biggest ecommerce technology trends. Chatbots are automated programs that simulate real conversations with customers through text or voice input. According to the latest stats predictions, they will save 2.5bn hours for businesses and consumers by 2023 and drive eCommerce transactions worth $122bn.

Chatbots perform many tasks. They answer frequently asked questions (FAQ); suggest product recommendations and sales offers; inform about payment options, return policy, shipping; collect feedback; solve customer queries and complaints. 

ShopBot interaction.
ShopBot. Source: Ebayinc.

There are various retail companies that have chatbots. One of them is eBay. Their chatbot (ShopBot) helps customers find items by asking different questions about their preferences before proposing specific items. 

Mobile Shopping and Mobile Payments are Poised for Growth

By 2024, 187.5 million U.S. users will have made at least one purchase via web browser or mobile app on their mobile device. Just by looking at these figures, it’s clear how crucial mobile shopping will be to ecommerce businesses in the near future. 

Store owners should follow ecommerce payment trends and facilitate the purchasing process in mobile devices so that it becomes a seamless experience for customers. Make sure that your online store is optimized for mobile devices

The mobile payment trend will continue to grow in 2020, so we recommend to implement popular digital wallets, such as Google Pay and Apple Pay, to your ecommerce store to make online shopping easier, more convenient, quicker, and safer. 

Check out our articles to find out how to capture more orders from mobile devices with Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve learned the basic ecommerce business trends, you can hop on any of them. But do it your way. 

Obviously, you might not have the budget or skills to tap into every trend from the list above. Just like small businesses can’t embrace AI at the initial stage of their development, large enterprises won’t be satisfied with collaborations only. However, keeping track of what’s happening in your industry and using this info to your advantage can upgrade your business. 

Who knows, maybe spotting a new trend or giving your own vision to an existing one will help you break the mould!

Ecommerce Trends FAQ

What is the future of ecommerce?

Ecommerce is changing alongside social and business events, so it’s hard to predict what the future holds for sure. However, it is possible to outline the ecommerce trends for 2021:

  1. Omnichannel commerce will be a key to the discovery of brands.
  2. Businesses will have to build a loyal community to retain customers.
  3. Collaborations and affiliate partnerships will increase brand visibility.
  4. Voice searches will be growing.
  5. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will drive ecommerce.
  6. PWAs continue to evolve.
  7. Headless commerce will allow on-going innovation.
  8. Chatbots will improve customer service.
  9. Mobile shopping and mobile payments are poised for growth.

Is ecommerce growing?

Yes, ecommerce is growing. It is actually one of the global trends ever since the start of the COVID pandemic. More and more consumers prefer shopping online rather than in brick-and-mortar stores, so many businesses are forced to go online to keep their competitive edge.

What are the different types of ecommerce?

The types of ecommerce are determined by the nature of a vendor and a customer and include the following: 

  • B2B (business-to-business) encompasses transactions between companies, e.g., a business buying from wholesalers.
  • B2C (business-to-consumer) implies relationships between businesses and final consumers, e.g., any traditional kind of ecommerce retailer.
  • C2B (consumer-to-business) implies the delivery of goods from a single person to a company, e.g., a designer developing a website logo.
  • C2C (consumer-to-consumer) encompasses transactions between two consumers, e.g., interaction on an online auction.

There’s also an emerging ecommerce trend of D2C (direct-to-consumer) whereby product distributors send it directly to customers. You might have seen a D2C model in online wineries or social media apparel shops.

Why is ecommerce popular today?

Ecommerce gives retailers an opportunity to expand their reach and increase their brand visibility globally. Consumers also find it much more convenient to shop online rather than go to a store and choose from a limited selection of products. Ecommerce websites provide all the necessary tools to handle orders, track customer journeys, and attract new audiences.

Inspired by the new trends in ecommerce? Make sure to consider them for your business plan!
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Ecommerce Business Plan: The Step-by-Step Guide For Retail Companies

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