8 TRENDS DRIVING E-COMMERCE INNOVATION—AND THE PLAYERS DRIVING THEM
The world of e-commerce has undergone quite a year. And with everything going on in the world, chances are that growth, innovation, and change are what we can expect this new year as well.
Global growth or no global growth, you do have to stay on top of the latest trends if you want to stay on top in the world of e-commerce–otherwise, you will find yourself at the bottom of the heap. Let’s take a look at eight trends that are set to continue driving innovation in 2021 and beyond.
Mobile Continues to Be on the Rise
Even though mobile search overtook desktop a long time ago, mobile is still on the rise in every sense of the word. Focusing on the experience your users have when accessing your store via their mobile phones is certainly a trend that will not disappear soon.
Elements to focus on include:
-Ease of access
-Ease of navigation
A good example of the kind of mobile-first website design we are referring to is the LMNT Essential Labs website (drinklmnt.com). It is super-fast, it is responsive, and it has retained that mobile-friendly design on the desktop version as well, providing more cohesion.
Voice Search Is Also Important
By 2025, it is predicted that 75 percent of U.S. homes will have a set of smart speakers. And while voice search is currently still a bit of a dark horse for some users, Alexa, Siri and Amazon Echo are slowly becoming a daily part of many lives.
What you as an e-commerce store owner can do is optimize for voice search, and enable your visitors to execute voice-based search commands and navigation on the website (or at least on its mobile version).
This will be a significant investment, and you may be able to hold off on it for a while. However, if your target market is among the population that is already heavily relying on voice commands, the time is now.
Personalization as the New King of Marketing
Shoppers have always responded better to offers that were tailor-made for them. Think of personalized letters in the snail mail, or calls from sales assistants who have reviewed your loyalty card with a brand and know what kinds of products you like to purchase.
Today, with the rise of AI, e-commerce is heavily relying on data-driven personalization. You can now know more about your visitors and their behavior online than they themselves know about themselves. This leads to a bit of a safety and trust issue, but also provides an incredible shopping experience.
The more you can tailor your ads, offers and other marketing assets to a specific visitor, the better you will fare. Especially since other e-commerce brands are already doing it, and doing it well.
Social Commerce Making an Impact
As modern shoppers are spending more and more time on social media, it was only a matter of time before social media and e-commerce merged into one big happy experience.
Social media platforms are mini search engines themselves, and 55 percent of shoppers are making purchases from a brand’s own social media posts. As plenty of these platforms now allow shopping straight from the post, impulse purchases are on the rise–as are conversion rates.
A brand that has embraced social commerce is Zoma Sleep. This company has enabled their Instagram shop, allowing you to purchase one of their mattresses directly from the image posted on their feed. Never has it been this easy to get something delivered straight to your door.
More Payment Options are Becoming Available
Not too long ago, there was the option of paying for an online purchase via credit card, when PayPal and Stripe were still distrusted as a scam. Today, we have hundreds of ways to pay online, from cryptocurrency to wire transfer.
Customers are expecting different payment options more and more–especially since all the biggest e-commerce names have allowed for them (think Amazon).
If you are insisting on one (or two) ways to pay, you are likely missing out on some serious traffic, and you’ll need to consider adding more options as soon as possible. However, remember that you should first focus on the security of your store, and only then allow new payment options–they will not matter one bit if your data storage is hacked.
Dynamic Pricing is Here to Help
It can be very difficult to keep track of all the fluctuating prices in your niche and industry. After all, in order to remain competitive, you need to be able to adjust your prices when and if needed–and to be able to do that, you need to keep track of the prices of your competition.
Tools like Aura are here to help you out–if you are using Amazon as a marketplace. On the other hand, if you are using Shopify, you can also benefit from a dynamic repricing tool that will automatically keep track of the prices you set and alert you when a change needs to be made (or make the change for you).
The Importance of Order, Purchase and Inventory Management Automation
In the world of e-commerce, automating as much as you can is sometimes what sets you apart from your competition. And while they are busying themselves with the tasks you have automated, you have the time and resources to devote your energies elsewhere.
One of the key processes you should be automating is the management of your orders, purchases and inventory. This can easily be done with a tool like InFlow that will keep an eye on your orders and inventory, alerting you to every important change–while you grow your business.
B2B is Also on the Rise–Again
The B2B e-commerce market is expected to reach $1.1 trillion in 2021. As more of these businesses are moving online, you need to consider how B2B buyers like to be charmed. Working in a B2B environment is different from working in B2C–at least in the world of e-commerce.
What you need to consider is that millennials are becoming the new B2B buyers–so marketing for them is key. You also need to remember that Gen Z is also starting to make their mark on the workplace, and they do need to be treated differently.
Think in terms of simpler solutions, better user experience, more self-serve options and providing all the information they need to make a purchase without them having to contact your sales team.
Trying to stay on top of all of these e-commerce trends might prove to be a challenge. However, if you manage to focus on the ones that pertain to your target audience the most, you’ll be able to greet the coming year well-prepared.
Karl Kangur is the CEO of Result Compass, a marketing agency specializing in SEO, social media advertising and lead generation, with offices in Tallinn, Estonia, Hong Kong and London.
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