Is no secret that this year the eCommerce industry has pushed to new heights. The global pandemic changed our daily lives and reshaped everything we knew. Businesses had to adapt and create solutions in order to keep up with their customers expectations.
It is estimated that by the end of 2020 eCommerce sales will reach $4.2 trillion and make up 16% of total retail sales and these numbers are only predicted to go up as we continue into the decade. This is a great opportunity for everyone.
At the same time, the industry is also experiencing internal changes. If you don’t keep up with the latest trends you run the risk of being left behind. To help you out with the coming novelties I investigated top trends for eCommerce stores for 2021 and beyond and present them in the article below. I hope you discover something new!
1. Headless eCommerce
Nowadays users interact with the web differently. We are used to consuming content cross-device and making purchases through various touch points. From app to Amazon’s Alexa. We are living in the future.
Consumers are embracing the Internet of Things era and retailers need to meet them halfway. The best way to facilitate purchases is adopting a flexible ecommerce infrastructure called headless commerce.
To understand this system you need to imagine two separate layers working together. The first layer is the backend, which is the heart of headless ecommerce. It is an application that can be connected and interact with various endpoints and brings a truly omnichannel experience. It works as a standalone solution that can be connected to various touchpoints.
The second layer is the user interface – be it a website, an app or a marketplace. It is important to note, both layers can exist independently, but are constantly communicating with each other.
Headless eCommerce works by passing requests between the presentation and application layers through web services or application programming interface (API) calls. For example, when the user clicks a “Buy Now” button on their smartphone, the presentation layer of the headless eCommerce system sends an API call to the application layer to process the order. The application layer sends another API call to the presentation layer to show the customer the status of their order.
Flexible updates across channels. Headless commerce gives your business the ability to update more quickly across channels, allowing you to stay ahead and gain competitive advantage.
Faster changes, less hassle. To make changes to a traditional e-commerce application the developer would have to make the changes to the e-commerce backed. This involves editing databases and code. A headless commerce platform functions independently, giving developers the freedom to implement customized designs and interactions on one side and at the same time leave the inventory source without delay.
Headless commerce can be expensive. You may need to invest in developer or infrastructure costs that can add up quickly.
2. Social Commerce
Social commerce is the missing link between e-commerce and social media platforms. It gives the user the possibility to make a purchase directly from a third-party company within the social media experience. For example, you can make the purchase on Facebook instead of going to the company’s site.
Three social media sites that are owning the social commerce space: Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Is the most popular social commerce platform,it has the largest user base, which offers businesses a lot of exposure.
Businesses can create “Shop Now” stores, and use them to interact with customers . But remember that Facebook is a social network and not everyone may like the social commerce concept yet so don’t overwhelm your audience.
Facebook data reveals that 70% of shopping enthusiasts turn to Instagram for product discovery. It’s no surprise that Instagram introduced Instagram Shopping, a feature that allows users to tap on images to view products featured on it.
The next step of the social commerce roadmap was a checkout feature inside the instagram app.
This social network has always been a favorite of retailers, especially because of its targeted consumer base of women aged 18-30. The visual platform features products from tons of brands and businesses. What’s unique about Pinterest is that only a small portion of the site’s content is original. According to one source, 80% of Pinterest content is repins. This is a major opportunity for original content creators. By providing new content you can stand out easily and bring relevant traffic to your ecommerce.
The truth is simple: Other people’s opinions matter. Users can easily share their opinions and recommend brands to their friends. This creates enormous opportunities for businesses to capitalize on our social links.
Although social commerce seems to be wonderful there are some cons important to consider:
Cannot control opinions. Customers often take shipping problems or quality issues to social media. Some cases even go viral. To make sure this doesn’t happen you have to be on top of your Social Media game and control the narrative. And remember the customer is always right, sort of.
Depending on a third party. If you have high hopes for social commerce, you have to remember that you depend on social platforms. Any change to their system or Terms and conditions can affect your business. I am all for adding Social as a purchase channel but you should not only exist on social. Diversify!
3. Mobile Payments
This trend offers convenience and security, so is not a surprise that solutions like Apple Pay, Google Pay or Amazon Pay are showing no sign of slowing down. Mobile payment technology is becoming very important to ecommerce shops. Online businesses that have successfully integrated this into their infrastructure have gained a competitive advantage as a result.
Mobile payments are considered any form of payment using a mobile device and in particular a digital wallet solution like Apple Pay, Google Pay or Amazon Pay
Using mobile payment gateways makes the process of payment easier and more convenient for consumers.
Mobile payments are fast.They create a friendly experience for customers and also helps merchants expedite transactions.
Mobile payments are secure. They provide extra layers of biometric authentication which reduces the fraud chances for both merchants and consumers.
Mobile payments are effortless and have revolutionised the way customers can buy, providing an enjoyable experience, where the customer can easily checkout and pay for their purchase without looking for their credit card.
This is a great opportunity for ecommerces to future-proof your business by allowing users to pay with their prefered digital wallet. Here is a list of some of the popular mobile wallet solutions:
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
- Amazon pay
- Samsung Pay
- Facebook Pay
4. Voice search
Voice search is a popular emergent technology that will only keep getting bigger. It can improve the customer experience, drive more traffic to your site, and help you sell more.
The possibilities of voice technology are endless, and at the moment one thing is clear: voice search is taking off among consumers who already use devices with voice assistants, including Amazon’s Echo and Google Home.
There are already 45 million voice-assisted devices in use only in the United States, and while screenless browsing is expected to account for 30 percent of browsing by 2020, 50% of searches will be conducted through voice technology by that same year.
A few points for you to consider in our voice controlled future.
Be present where customers are looking for you. Voice assistants are becoming more popular outside of our homes and mobile phones. They are popping up in our cars, in smart TVs, wearable devices, and home appliances. These provide opportunities to reach even new customers and increase sales.
Develop a new sales channel. Voice assistants are still considered a novelty. On the other hand marketers can use this channel to reach new customers since this channel is yet to be saturated by many competitors.
Data security concerns. Although consumers are using voice assistants often, there are concerns over the data these devices collect and the companies behind the apps on those devices. The manufacturers say they only do QA with humans listening to the conversations occasionally but some doubt if this is true.
Imagine entering your favorite shop and on the homepage instead of a generic promotion you see a dedicated offer to your needs. This is now possible thanks to website personalization tools.
A few examples of personalization experiments:
- Homepage banners based on viewed products or purchase history
- Personalized call to actions based on demographics
If you still need confirmation that this is the future of ecommerce please remember that in 2019 McDonalds bought Dynamic Yield for an estimated $300million.
6. Conversion Rate Optimization Team
Improve by 1% everyday and you will be successful. That should be the motto for every company. And companies that want to grow faster definitely live by this rule. Conversion Rate Optimization helps with this. You can either hire a Conversion Rate Optimization Consultant or build your internal team to optimize your website.
Conversion Rate Optimization is the process of improving the results. It’s not only about Conversion Rate, it can be about minimizing waste, maximizing reach, optimizing Customer Experience. Conversion Rate Optimizers have a wide range of skills and can help you with a lot of different issues your company is facing. Lets now mention why it’s important to invest in CRO.
Competitors are not standing still. Even if your company is in great shape and you are happy with your results now, you should never rest on your laurels. Your competitors definitely are not. You should always challenge the status quo and test everything. Don’t assume you cannot improve, everyone can, with a bit of additional help 😉
Increase ROI and ROAS. The principal marketing objective is to drive purchases. This is done by driving traffic to your website, but how can you be sure that they will actually make a purchase when they get there? CRO helps by optimizing the user experience by eliminating Fears and Increasing user motivation. It is effortless for users to jump from store to store looking for the best deals using social media, Google Search or Price Comparison engines. The catch is to make users convert when they enter your website.
Stores that are planning for the future are adopting the CRO growth mindset and put progress over perfection. We have to accept that we are not all knowing, but we err. To be sure something works we need to test it. With this growth mindset you can set up an experimentation framework that will make your company grow and in result bring you higher profit.
Continuous improvement is key. Best part of CRO is that it brings short term results and at the same time has long-term implications for ROI of your marketing activities. Remember, continuous improvement and testing is key.
This list is a result of talking to industry leaders and exploring possible routes for technology in the coming years. I hope this comes in handy to you. Thees are the trends I thing will be BIG in the next few years.
On the other hand, I would love to hear your opinion on this. What do you think will be the biggest game-changer in 2021?