E-commerce has been one of the few winning industries during the global pandemic, with Covid-19 pushing more consumers online than ever. According to estimates by Digital Commerce 360, the pandemic contributed an addition of $150 billion to the US Online Sale revenue and accelerated the development pace of E-commerce by 2 years ahead. E-commerce is nowhere near a new concept, yet it is growing faster than ever before and becoming an essential part of any business. So here are the top 5 eCommerce trends to watch out for in 2021:
1. Deep insights into consumers’ behaviors with AI applications
One of the most mentioned eCommerce trends should be Artificial Intelligence. AI and the emergence of Deep Learning allow businesses to collect data on consumers’ clicks and online behaviors and analyze and track these data to understand consumers’ preferences and behaviors. AI applications continuously learn as customers browse through websites and interact during their shopping journey.
Thanks to AI and machine learning, personalized shopping experiences can be made available to all consumers online. They recommended products based on their preferences, saving them lots of searching time and effort. Moreover, chatbots have emerged and been advanced to provide 24/7 assistance and optimal customer services.
2. Video Marketing and Live Streaming - the new rage of E-commerce
As people are stuck at home and mindlessly scrolling through their social media feeds, great Video ads, holding consumers on-screen for a few minutes can greatly impact the brands.
Together with Video Marketing, Live Streaming emerges as the new low-cost, high-profit selling method. E-commerce live streaming is simply promoting and selling goods directly through influencer streams on their own social media channels. It’s like Home Shopping Network, but with much more charismatic, trendy anchors.
Live Streaming is growing at a staggering pace. It’s estimated to be $60 billion already annually. Last year over 430 million people, about 30% of China’s population, viewed live streams, and in 2020, it is projected to reach 560 million, or around 39%. Sales from live streams are expected to grow more than 100% in 2020 vs. 2019 to almost 9% of all online retail sales.
And all these numbers are just the beginning of the LiveStreaming trend. As technology develops and sellers get more professional, everyone can do their business online and sell directly to customers without intermediaries.
3. Augmented Reality (AR) enhanced shopping experience
One of the major obstacles confronted by customers while shopping online is that they can not see or feel the real products, leading to hesitation and suspicion. This is where AR - Augmented Reality comes into play and becomes one of the most promising eCommerce trends. With AR, customers can see how the products would fit into their house, or on their body, without actually having to visit the store to see them.
AR has been the game-changer for E-commerce, especially in industries such as Fashion or Interior Decoration. In 2019, Gartner predicted that 100 million consumers would shop using AR by 2020, so it will be interesting to see how that shakes out next year.
Michael Prusich, Director of Business Development at 1Digital Agency, agrees with this prediction:
“Polls have shown some compelling numbers in regards to AR too: 35% of people say that they would be shopping online more if they could virtually try on a product before buying it, and 22% would be less likely to visit a brick-and-mortar store if AR was available via their favorite eCommerce store. AR grants a person the ability to see a 3D model of a product and lets a user see how it looks if they were wearing it. Some products and industries lend themself better to traditional shopping methods, but AR is going to shake things up sooner than later.”
4. Diversified Payment Methods
Payment is the last yet most important step in the whole customer shopping process. All the prior efforts of marketing, sales, and services would go to waste if consumers decide not to pay, sometimes due to the inconvenience in the payment process.
Customers have particular needs and preferences when it comes to payment methods, especially for online payment. Offering a wide range of payment options would significantly increase the conversion rate of E-commerce businesses. Moreover, if payment information can be saved for the next purchase, the friction between “wanting a product” and actually “buying a product” would decrease.
Besides the popular credit/debit card and Airplay or Paypal, many major companies worldwide are starting to accept unconventional payment methods such as cryptocurrencies. And this should be watched as one of the eCommerce trends in the near future.
5. Sustainability receives increasing attention
Consumers and businesses alike are becoming more aware of the environment. Thus, consumers are more conscious about where they shop and the impact it has on the environment and related effects. One survey found that 50% of respondents wanted more sustainability in the fashion industry, and 75% wanted to see less packaging.
Many businesses find ways to be more eco-friendly by going paperless when possible, using biodegradable packaging, and using recyclable supplies.
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