Knowing the latest on the ecommerce industry could be the difference-maker between building a successful business and failing before you reach your goals.
Aspiring entrepreneurs are bound to encounter tough competition even in less-saturated markets, and a small advantage still helps to gain an edge.
Some trends are bound to shape up online shopping. Here are some predictions of what is likely to decide whether an online store can establish itself in 2021.
These days, excellent goods or services are not enough to attract enough customers. Brands look for ways to offer perks that make them stand out from the competition or sweeten the deal enough to persuade people to spend money on their store instead of elsewhere.
Some of the customer perk examples include custom merchandise, like kiss-cut stickers, t-shirts, caps, hoodies, magnets, phone cases, calendars, and other products.
Reasonable shipping fees and flexible return policy tend to get underestimated as well. While not directly rewards, they are still a necessity.
Lastly, discounts. Shoppers love discounts and are eager to get something at a lower price when there is an opportunity. You do not need to have sales constantly to take advantage of discounts. Providing exclusive discounts to specific customers is also a way to reward them.
Even those who never shopped online before had to change their habits because of the pandemic. Regardless of that, it seems that brands are still looking to shape their marketing strategy with the intent to target millennials. After all, 60% of millennials (ages 22 to 37) in 2019 preferred to shop online. The number has grown since then.
Of course, you do not have to pour resources with the intent to target just millennials. However, if this demographic is bringing the most profits, then you may not have a different choice.
Voice commerce is still a pretty new gimmick, but more and more online stores are looking to optimize their websites or create an app that makes it possible to shop with your voice.
Besides the convenience, it is also necessary to consider how much it would mean for people with disabilities. For some, using their voice is the only means to get through.
By adding voice optimization, you would simplify things for customers and get an opportunity to attract a large demographic to your store, which is people with disabilities.
Let’s start with virtual reality. It is no secret that one of the biggest downsides of shopping online is not having the option to try products in person. Some of the biggest ecommerce players, like Alibaba and Amazon, are investing in VR technology that allows customers to put on a VR helmet and browse products as if they were in a physical store.
As for artificial intelligence, it should impact two areas. The first is chatbots that will likely replace real people in customer support because of their efficiency. Immediate response and 24/7 availability is a good investment for businesses.
The second is data management. Collecting information about competitors, customer behavior, and industry trends is one thing, but processing it manually is another. Leaving the difficult work to technology sounds like a better strategy.
Advanced customization is another interesting trend that we will see more of in the future. Online stores should not limit available fonts, colors, and other customization options. If anything, they should give complete freedom to customers and let them choose what they would like on a product.
Even a simple color switch on a t-shirt’s design is enough to persuade someone to purchase from your store, especially if this person cannot find what they are looking for on other websites.
Social media platforms like Facebook decided to implement an ecommerce store feature directly on their website. Before, you would need to create a post that redirects people to a landing page, but now it has become possible to sell products directly on social media.
The feature is convenient, and it eliminates that one extra step of having to go to a landing page. The question of whether brands will switch to selling directly on Facebook more often remains, but it will be interesting to see how social media ecommerce develops in the future.
Attending live events and promoting your brand there is a bit tricky. Most people are spending their time at home because of the pandemic, and it is difficult to predict when the status quo will change.
Besides, one may think that promoting an ecommerce store outside the internet sounds counterintuitive, but the benefits should be quite apparent.
Meeting people in person and speaking to them directly means reaching a wider audience. You would be implementing a strategy that your competition is likely missing and be the first to make contact with potential investors and customers.
When the time for attending live events becomes right again, do not waste a potential chance to gain more as an ecommerce business owner.
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