When you look at some of the biggest global industries out there today, you cannot look past the powerhouse that ecommerce has become. In 2021 alone, the global ecommerce market is projected to make $4.89 trillion. It’s a staggering number, and it shows just how important this particular market segment is. What ecommerce does really well is make products and services available without borders and limits, something that brick-and-mortar stores just can’t compete with.
And while a big portion of the growth in the past year can be attributed to the pandemic and people having to stay home, it has also highlighted to shoppers just how convenient it is to shop online. Even as restrictions are pulled back and the pandemic is slowly reined in across various parts of the globe, the ecommerce industry shows no signs of contracting; in fact, just the opposite is predicted.
Through this growth, a number of trends have now emerged that are of interest to both companies and customers alike. Let’s examine closer what the predicted big trends are for the remainder of 2021.
Mobile Devices Will Be Essential
A big part of ecommerce is the devices people are using to do their browsing and purchasing. The trends are overwhelmingly showing that it is mobile devices that people are using to do the majority of their online shopping, with a survey showing that 82 billion hours were spent online in shopping apps in 2020 alone. That number was an increase of 30% over that of 2019.
So, what does this mean for online retailers? You need to be mindful of how customers are shopping and ensure your site is optimised for mobile devices. This means that everything needs to appear and perform in the exact same way as on a desktop computer. Shoppers have no patience for lag time, menus that aren’t working correctly on a mobile device, or screens that don’t display the content properly. For any company that hasn’t yet optimised for mobile devices, the time to do so is now.
Expect 3D Tech to Continue to Have an Impact on the Industry
Another trend that has emerged in the past couple of years and is now really picking up steam is 3D technology. Some would say that we are just beginning to scrape the surface of what 3D tech is actually capable of, and how it can affect various industries. It seems as though the e-commerce industry is now jumping into the mix and making that discovery for itself. This tech is now being used by many companies as a way to increase their customer conversion rates, and then take it a step further and help with customer retention.
Ecommerce trends are something many are weighing in on, but it’s Apviz’s guide to ecommerce trends that touches on this move to embrace 3D tech. In examining how 3D tech is impacting the industry, Apviz highlights such specific areas as real-time virtual try-on of various products, a variety of customization tools, and a much more user-friendly interface, which makes it a more approachable experience for customers. Each of these can positively affect the conversion rates and retention numbers.
But will this trend continue to take hold? All you have to do is look at the rise and the interest people have in such things as online demonstrations to see just how important technology will continue to be. People are looking for an eCommerce experience that feels high-tech and intuitive and 3D technology is making that a reality.
Chatbots and Customer Service Needs to Take a Front Seat
Because there is this increase in online shopping, retailers and companies need to make adjustments and realise that customer questions and concerns will now be shared in a digital way. They aren’t in the store speaking to a sales person getting those immediate answers. On the flip side, you still want to offer that level of customer service as this can help to close the sale.
So, what’s the solution? Again, you can look towards technology in the form of chatbots and real-time chatting with customer service reps. Many companies even offer 24/7 access to customer service representatives – whether that is a live person or a chatbot. The goal is to answer all queries as timely as possible so you don’t risk losing that sale.
The Purchase Paths Need Re-Thinking and Re-Tooling
Ecommerce sites also need to be mindful of the ‘purchase path’. The purchase path refers to the steps taken by customers from start to finish, i.e., the entire sales process. One area that deserves intense scrutiny is the filtering and search tools you offer. Customers want to be able to find items quickly and easily; they shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to find those perfect items. You want to be sure you’re thinking through the search process and offering all the filters that they could possibly need.
You can also look into personalization features that can be used throughout the purchase path. An example of that can be suggesting similar items to what they are looking for or items that customers have also bought, and so forth. Don’t forget that, through all of these steps, the speed must never be compromised. The checkout experience must always be secure, but also quick.
Loyalty Programs Can Help to Bring in Customers
If you’re having a hard time improving your customer retention numbers, it may be time to think about a customer loyalty program. These can be an excellent way to create loyal customers that return time and time again. Every business owner knows it takes a lot more money and effort to find new customers than it does to keep the existing ones, so there should be an emphasis on making sure they stay loyal.
The great part about customer loyalty programs is that there is so much flexibility and options from the company’s standpoint. You have all different routes you can take; it’s about knowing who your customer is and what they are looking for. What would make them the happiest and have them feel appreciated and valued? You want to give them the VIP treatment.
Some examples of effective loyalty program incentives include:
- Discounts on products
- Exclusive coupons
- Cash-off deals
- Early access to new releases and exclusive products
- A points system wherein they earn points on purchases, make sure the rewards are attractive
- Free shipping
- Overnight shipping at a discount or for free
- Special bonus days on specific times of the year
- A customer referral system
Obviously, not every type of loyalty program will work for each business; it’s a matter of finding the one that makes the most sense. You’ll also want to give customers the ability to create an account on your site so they can track their rewards, as well as past and current purchases.
An Exciting Industry to Get Into
No matter how you look at it, the eCommerce industry is among the most exciting and quickest growing markets out there. The fact that it’s not tied to any one country in particular, rather this is a global trend, makes it all the more appealing for businesses looking to break into the competitive market. Taking a look at the trends that will be big for the remainder of 2021 gives you a way to make adjustments to your site and business model.