As we all know, 2020 was a year, unlike any other in many regards. The global COVID-19 pandemic affected human nature and patterns that we will probably see the after-effects for years to come. One seemingly bright light to emerge from these significant life shifts came in the advancement of eCommerce. E-commerce showed major booms because people were forced to stay in their homes and find alternative ways of receiving their goods without traveling to stores like they were used to. Additionally, many stores were forced to jump onto the digital bandwagon and start selling via eCommerce sites while their traditional brick-and-mortar stores were closed. Today we will be sharing some eCommerce trends to look out for in 2021.
One way that purchasing necessities online helped open up the eCommerce world was by reeling in a new demographic of people who probably would have never willingly made the switch independently. Here we refer to older generations (think 50-60+-year-olds) who have been set in their ways and felt comfortable in their buying patterns (i.e., going to the stores they’ve known and trusted their entire lives). This paired with (and we mean no offense) the lack of digital knowledge that this generation possesses meant that, before 2020, it was less likely that this entirely new demographic would have easily made the shift to purchasing via eCommerce unless they were forced to. The pandemic was why so many people started shopping online, but the reason they will stay has to do with the convenience that eCommerce brings.
Convenience is Key
After the initial hump of learning how to use platforms such as Instacart, or Amazon Prime, new users started to realize the convenience that these technologies provide. Say you live in a 5 story walk-up in NYC – you will have discovered that, with thanks to grocery delivery services, you no longer have to carry up cases of water or groceries up these flights anymore. So after COVID is over, this customer will likely remain on the platform. The same goes with working parents, who can’t run to the grocery store after work, but can definitely find a few minutes throughout their day to place their grocery order online and have it conveniently delivered by the time they get home. The list of these scenarios goes on and on, showing that convenience will be a major eCommerce trend that will carry into 2021. This is demonstrated by the fact that Instacart started with 4 companies on the platform and has expanded to partner with 300+ companies. Additionally, Amazon has gained $1.6 billion in Amazon Prime memberships since Q3 2019.
A trend that supports the convenience factor is ordering via voice- otherwise known as Voice Commerce. There has been a rise in people ordering by voice through their Echo products (a.k.a Alexa). Buying certain products just by asking Alexa has proven to be very accurate, effective, and most of all, EASY & convenient. Even though Amazon’s platform is direct and easy-to-use, nothing is easier than simply asking for what you want out loud and the proper product being delivered to your house in just a few days. Place focus on optimizing your site to cater to Voice Commerce if you want to be on top of this 2021 eCommerce trend.
Make It Niche
Another major eCommerce trend to focus on is to cater to niche markets. The internet has proven to be successful because it allows people to find unique items that they may not locate in standard brick and mortar stores. Our own research has shown that left-handed gun holsters are a top-selling product. This is because they are less likely to be found in stores, yet there is an obviously large market still looking for these products. Additionally, eCommerce allows people to purchase items they may be interested in but are too shy or uncomfortable to purchase in stores (think sex toys or airguns). It is important to consider niche products if you want to find eCommerce success in 2021.
All About the Experience
Finally, if you want to see success on your eCommerce website, it is all about the consumer experience. Including features like augmented reality allows customers to virtually try on your product or place it around their room. Whatever it may be, the virtual experience is going to be a primary focus for 2021. Additionally, you can convert previously live events into virtual events. Even after the pandemic, consumers will remain wanting to attend virtual events for their favorite stores. Make sure that the buying experience is smooth and simple for the consumer. Focus on easy checkout, low shipping costs, and quick, direct to consumer delivery methods. Overall prioritizing the customer experience from the comfort of their homes will be a large trend we will see in 2021.
There are many things that 2020 affected negatively, but overall it was a standout year for eCommerce. The shift from normal commerce to eCommerce has been fast-forwarded and the focus for 2021 is how to streamline these advancements. If you haven’t already, you should definitely be making sure that your company is getting part of the eCommerce pie. Prioritize convenience for your customers, focus on niche markets or products, and create a simple, easy, and enjoyable virtual shopping experience. These are just a few of the trends we will be seeing in the upcoming year!