In 2020, eCommerce's growth was catapulted due to circumstances, causing a hyper-inflation in advancements, boosting digital evolution by years in the span of a few months.
To say 2020 was different, would be the understatement of the year. Stores flocked to digital platforms, coffee tables turned into conference rooms, business and retail has been turned on its head.
The magnitude of storefronts migrating to a digital platform last year, has never been seen. Before 2020, prospects were already on their way to steadily becoming digitally dependant, even while shopping. Now, after growing used to social distancing and limited travel, customers have grown accustomed to having their retail wishes granted at the push of a button.
As a result, brands have had to improve their digital presence, as online interactions grew from around 42% in 2019, to 60% in 2020.
Taking the US as an example, research from McKinsey shows the shocking number of customers preferring new, online brands over old retail ones. Over 75% of Americans switched to digital shopping alternatives due to convenience, safety, and reliability. Of course, safety also plays a large role in this huge increase, as the fear of COVID-19 led customers to choose the safe, contactless method of online shopping.
Learning from last year, let's take a look at the predicted changes and trends coming up in 2021.
The merge of social media and eCommerce
As social media and eCommerce continue to morph together, social media platforms will continue to build on the fantasy of “seamless” shopping. This transformation is prevalent in multiple social platforms over the last few years, including Facebook and Instagram's marketplace. In 2021, we expect to see brands take it one step further, adopting even more eCommerce capabilities.
This social media takeover further cements eCommerce as the go-to choice for Millenials and Gen-Z, the main social media users.
The shift to social media will also challenge brands to re-think traditional definitions, such as “frictionless shopping,” expanding the definition to now include effortless checkouts directly from social media apps.
Delivery: the new normal?
Understandably, delivery services have become extremely popular this year. For example, Uber Eats and Amazon have warped the way customers order food or groceries. Even these huge companies were straining throughout the year to meet demands during the pandemic height.
Now, as the fear of retail shopping translated to the increase of online shopping, people have gotten used to convenience. It's clear to see the delivery of online goods isn't slowing down. On the contrary, 2021 might yield the need for even more delivery services. As partnerships with last-mile delivery services will become more common as retailers seek to leverage their physical stores to fulfill locally placed online orders.
A turn of tides: Retail copying eCommerce
Even though eCommerce was king this year, retail branches aren't going anywhere. As with most things this year, retail stores are also transforming. As opposed to the traditional design mentality of eCommerce stores mimicking the retail experience, this year has caused retailers to do the exact opposite. Major retailer Walmart has already started morphing their physical stores by taking inspiration from online shopping. These changes help apply the eCommerce concept of “seamless shopping” to physical stores.
Along with this, the synergy between retail and online stores are also growing, as delivery methods such as Buy Online, Pickup In-Store is becoming familiar components of shopping culture. Continuing these technologies' support, convenient features such as contactless checkout and queue management will also become key.
Sourcing customers through Artificial Intelligence
Arguably one of the most important and fastest-growing technologies of the current age, artificial intelligence is also extremely beneficial for eCommerce.
AI is already being used in eCommerce to make smart product suggestions, help shoppers envision products better, and support you with customer inquiries. In 2021, AI is going to assist you in finding your customers too.
Utilizing intelligent algorithms, current trends will be analyzed and compared to your products, customer behavior, and sales channels to help you adjust your products for maximum exposure. Getting your hands on this technology will result in enormous profit boosts with minimal effort.
ReCommerce, giving your old belongings a new home online
ReCommerce, or second-hand commerce, is expected to see a revival next year. eCommerce experts claim that the second-hand market is expected to double within the next five years.
With customers becoming more aware and motivated by product sustainability, the reselling of luxury items will shape the reCommerce industry's future. This exciting new eCommerce trend holds great potential for any entrepreneurs looking to start a reselling business.
There has never been a better time to dive into eCommerce. If any of the listed upcoming trends tickled your inspiration, let us help you show your idea to the world.