Due to the unexpected position the world found itself in during the last year, the increase of ecommerce was accelerated. Every day, more businesses are replacing physical selling with online selling.

Naturally, having an ecommerce store provides an opportunity to better track your customers. It allows businesses to:

  • Find out how customers find their business
  • Which pages they visit
  • Track their customers’ buying process

This sudden overwhelming switch to ecommerce has brought new trends we will see throughout 2021.

In this article, we will only cover B2B and B2C e-commerce trends.

So, let’s get started!

10 E-commerce trends to look out for in 2021

In this section, we will explore each ecommerce trend for B2C, as well as B2B companies.

1. AI enhances the online shopping experience

Artificial intelligence makes it possible for customers to have an automated, personalized shopping experience. It collects data on how a customer shops, when they buy and what exactly they’re looking for. A uniquely online experience.

Buyers, B2B and B2C, are looking for personalized online shopping experiences. The data collected from AI allows a buyer to get personalized product recommendations and detailed customer service.

AI and personalization are not a new thing, but the news is: you won't survive this year unless you implement AI experiences to your strategy. Why?

Retailers everywhere are turning to artificial intelligence to improve:

  • Operations
  • Inventory management
  • Customer service
  • Customer loyalty

What marketing tools should you use?

a. Email marketing tools

  • Seventh Sense: help customers notice you in their inbox using behavioural profiling
  • Optimail: uses AI to give you more insights around your email engagement -> adjusts timing, content and personalization according to the customer
  • Phrasee: helps you write email subject lines

b. Content marketing tools

  • Grammarly: scans content to identify grammar, punctuation, context and structural errors and mistakes
  • Hubspot SEO: helps improve your search engine rankings and outrank your competitor
  • Sentient Ascend: uses advanced algorithms to identify the top performing concepts and combine them to achieve the best site experience
  • Acrolinx: content alignment platform that helps brands improve the quality of their content
  • MarketMuse: helps marketers build content strategies

Try all these tools out and see what you think.

I think it will help out immensely!

2. Join the AR wave

Augmented reality has been a game changer for ecommerce.

It allows shoppers to see what they’re shopping for, which helps them make a buying decision.

This has been especially useful in home decor and fashion. Why is that? Because the customer can properly analyse the item without seeing it in person.

This will result in an increase in conversions and a decrease in the return rate.

Let me tell you 5 ways to use augmented reality in your marketing strategy.

  • Let customers try before they buy
  • Augment touring and assistance
  • Augment branding materials
  • Create a buzz around the brand
  • Leverage augmented reality for B2B

An example of a brand killing it using AR is IKEA. They use it to power furniture shopping at home.

The IKEA app allows you to see what a piece of furniture would look like in your home. How does it do that? It scans a room to get dimensions and then shows how the furniture would fit in. With 98% accuracy!

Wondering how to add augmented reality to your eCommerce website? I got you!

You can use a tool like Threekit plugin. Before you do, ask yourself this:

  • Are we looking for a feature or a solution?
  • Will the right user receive the right experience?
  • How will we know it’s working?

3. Dynamic pricing: how to beat the price war.

Dynamic pricing has been trending in the eCommerce industry since 2015. What is it, you ask? It’s the concept of selling the same product at different prices based on the changing dynamics of the current market demand.

There are 5 types of dynamic pricing:

  • Segmented pricing
  • Time-based pricing
  • Changing market conditions
  • Peak pricing
  • Penetration pricing

Why use it?

Dynamic pricing strategy is popular among many business models. One that comes to mind immediately is eCommerce businesses.

Under the hood, machine-learning robots are working to develop new algorithmic models based on market demand and your competitors’ actions.

Thisdata-driven process allows companies to adjust the prices of their goods continuously within seconds.

What are the benefits of using dynamic pricing strategies?

  • Get to know your customers better

It will give you an overview of the frequency and timing of their purchases, the minimum and maximum price they’re willing to pay and a detailed overview of the demand curve.

  • Revenue growth

Once you have a better understanding of your customers’ preferences, you’ll be able to adapt your pricing strategy. An unfair advantage against your competitors? YES PLEASE!

How can you implement it?

  • Define a commercial objective
  • Build a pricing strategy
  • Choose a pricing method
  • Set some pricing rules
  • Implement, test and monitor

If you want to know more about dynamic pricing, check out our detailed guide with examples and implementation strategies.

4. Diversified payment options

Your website should be able to handle all types of payments, such as Paypal, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, Shopify Pay, etc. Offering this allows you to enhance the shopping experience for your customers as it gives them options. If you can also offer customers to save their information on your website, they’ll be able to checkout faster next time.

What can diversified payment options do for you?

  • Retain existing customers

Even though they may have been using one payment method does not mean they want to keep using it.

  • Attract new customers

For example, millennials who like to use digital wallets + older customers with e-checks or direct debit

  • Increase per sale size and frequency

If a credit card as payment option is available, customers are more likely to spend more.

  • Raise cash flow

Some payment methods take longer than others.

  • Lower overhead costs

Spread out payment acceptance to include those low or free options.

Benefits of diversifying payment options:

  • Expanding your customer base
  • Opening to new markets
  • Taking advantage of cryptocurrencies
  • Making checkout process easier

5. Progressive web applications (PWAs)

PWAs change the way your website looks and functions on mobile devices.

It can help you go from a site that isn’t adapted to mobile devices to an app-like super machine!

As the use of phones has increased and done wonders for ecommerce, it is important to give your mobile customers a great experience.

We have all experienced this. You’re surfing on mobile and you come across something like this:

Doesn’t exactly make you want to scroll down and keep exploring. Does it?

Nope. But this does.

Making sure your website is optimized for both desktop and mobile!

Don’t know where to start? Listen up!

  • SIMPLICITY IS KEY
  • Plan the layout of your website
  • Focus on touch screens, make your navigation responsive
  • Use compression tools in the design, such as HTML compressors
  • Make sure your branding is available on mobile version
  • Use white space
  • Use appropriate tools for optimization -> Stay away from Flash and Java!
  • Less text
  • Avoid pop-up windows
  • Give the option of a mobile redirect -> VIEW FULL SITE

6. Omnichannel shopping

As mobile use is still on the rise, predictions are that omnichannel customers will increase even more in 2021.

  • Optimize website for mobile devices, ideally also create an app or a PWA
  • Personalize customer experience
  • Offer multiple purchase options:
    a) Buy online, pick up in-store
    b) Buy in-store, choose home delivery
    c) Buy online, get doorstep delivery

7. Chatbots improve the shopping experience

Today, one of the most important things any business should focus on is customer service.

Customers are spoiled and when they don't see chatbot they're not even taking your website seriously.

During an online shopping experience, a chatbot is the closest thing to an actual in-store sales associate. This is the person you would talk to in the store if you can’t find your size or model you want. That’s exactly what a chatbot does. It can step in and close the deal.

What can a chatbot do for you?

  • Pleases your customer

44% of consumers prefer chatbots to human interaction for customer service. Chatbots meet customer expectations and boost brands. This also means an increase in open rates and engagement.

  • Work 24/7

Makes you available to your customers non-stop.

  • Help cut down on operational costs

Using a chatbot can help you save up to 30%😲

  • Improve customer engagement

Chatbots can personalize interactions with customers, providing advice based on purchase history and preferences. They can also reach a huge range of prospective customers through social media.All this information is used to increase brand value.

  • Continuous improvement

Chatbots require continuous evaluation and optimization, based on user experience, linguistic capabilities and usability.

  • Increase conversions

Chatbots can ask the right questions and provide relevant information based on the answers. This speeds up the time it takes to complete a sale, which also increases the conversion rate.

Some examples of chatbot tools include Drift and Intercom.

8. Increased use of voice search

We all know Siri and Alexa. Not only do some people use them to open apps, or listen to music, or send a message to anyone, but they are also used to complete everyday tasks. As more homeowners invest into smart speakers, more consumers will use voice search to shop online, order food or organize themselves.

Why should you even concern yourself with voice search?

  • Quicker and more efficient
  • Hands-Free
  • Stay competitive -> 62% of marketers have no plans to use voice search

By now you’re probably wondering how to prepare your website for voice search. You’re gonna do the following:

  • Optimize website speed

shorter loading time = lower bounce rate

  • Restructure your content

Answer your target customers’ questions instead of only considering keywords. Use everyday language because people ask questions when using voice search rather than just typing in keywords.

  • Target long keyword phrases

9. Customers respond to video

In the past years, video has proved to be one of the most effective ways to gain and increase engagement from customers. Video is the perfect channel for reaching the curious young target audience.

Video marketing is super efficient and convenient for the consumer.

Why? It provides marketers with a fun, versatile and shareable medium to reach their audience. It is a 600% more effective marketing tool than text and email combined.

Gen-Z can make buying decisions literally from their social media feed, such as Instagram and TikTok, and videos let them shop straight away.

Convenience rocks!

4 most successful types of videos:

  • News and trends
  • Emotional stories
  • Education content
  • Behind the scenes

10. Sustainability is becoming more important

Nature was important before Greta. Then it only became more and more important for brands after Greta. Both consumers and businesses are becoming aware of the environment. This means they pay more attention to where they shop and their carbon footprint.

Businesses are finding ways to be more eco-friendly by eliminating paper when possible, using biodegradable packaging and using recyclable materials. This is a good start, but it certainly isn’t enough.

So, what can you do to become more sustainable?

  • Reduce waste
  • Prevent pollution (yours and your business’)
  • Adopting clean energy
  • Conserving water
  • Plant trees
  • Use sustainable materials
  • Make your practice sustainable

This all seems pretty straightforward. Right? If you answered yes, then maybe you can explain why only 24% of businesses worldwide are fully sustainable..

Impact of coronavirus pandemic

The global pandemic has been a “trend” since March 2020. Basically, we’ve been locked up for a year now.

Of course, COVID-19 impacted every aspect of our lives, from money spending to social activities. Naturally, it impacted marketing activities majorly, as everything has moved online.

Let’s see exactly what the impact was.

Revenue

Due to COVID-19, 2020 was the year e-commerce grew like never before. During the first lockdown, over 90% of companies reported an increase in online sales, while 6% say their e-commerce revenue decreased. After the end of the lockdown, most companies still reported an increase in online revenues even though many consumers started shopping in retail stores again.

Pre lockdown vs Post lockdown

Online profit margin

Aside from generating online sales, COVID-19 has led to disrupted supply chains, poorly staffed customer service, etc. This, of course, affected the online profit margin. While only 15% claimed that their online profit margin decreased during the first lockdown, the rest say it had increased.

Workforce

Probably the most important part of any company is the workforce and their well-being. Unfortunately, the pandemic resulted in relocating and firing staff, as well as reducing their employees’ salaries. Others, who were more lucky, actually managed to hire more people and even increase salaries (only 5%), while some made no changes at all. Bipolar pandemic.

Physical retailers

The majority of retail stores saw a dark future ahead of them during the lockdown as they had to close due to the new measures at the time. Some retailers even went out of business. However, omnichannel players saw an increase in offline sales as they were the ones to introduce new practices.

Closing thoughts

Thanks for reading, hope you learned something new!

Remember, you can always schedule a free consultation call with our eCommerce Expert Amaury.

Here are the related articles for further reading:
Dynamic pricing: examples, strategies and implementation
8 Growth Hack To Optimize Your Website for Lead Generation
Ecommerce Brand Awareness – How To Pick The Right Platform and Best Practices
Increase Add-To Cart Rate: 7 eCommerce Activation Tips
20+ Actionable Strategies to Increase Customer Acquisition for eCommerce Business