E-Commerce Industry Trends in 2021: How to Use Them to Your Advantage
E-commerce is a fast-paced, ever-evolving industry.
Gaining insights into trends can be tricky, especially when they’re so quick to change. To do so successfully requires a high level of nuance and tons of social listening.
Based on our research, here are some of the top e-commerce insights in 2021 and how your company can capitalize on them.
The Direct-to-Consumer Approach
Due to COVID-19, selling products through retailers only is no longer an option if you want to remain competitive.
An increasing number of companies are using a direct-to-consumer (DTC) approach instead of going through a retailer. With consumers doing more online shopping, companies have an opportunity to optimize costs, control customer experience, and deploy better branding.
If you're considering exploring e-commerce, Shopify is a great option. It handles the online infrastructure while you focus on the product and sales. It is the de-facto solution for DTC companies—even Google uses Shopify for its online store.
Preparing for Social Commerce
Social commerce attaches social elements to the average e-commerce experience. Chinese companies have pioneered this trend for years.
PinDuoDuo, a popular Chinese shopping app, lowers the price of an item the more people who commit to buying it. Consumers get a lower price while PinDuoDuo achieves higher volume. Additionally, influencers on the platform live stream their content and showcase affiliate products.
Pinterest was the first to incorporate social commerce at-scale in America. Now Instagram is implementing shopping features, too.
And although TikTok isn't as advanced as its Chinese cousin PinDuoDuo, it is not far behind.
Companies can leverage these trends by:
- Working with influencers
- Creating robust affiliate programs
- Offering sponsorships for individuals
The New Normal: Mobile Payments
More shoppers are using their smartphones to conduct transactions. This has led to an explosion in mobile payment tools and services.
PayPal has been dethroned as the main online payment processor. Instead, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Afterpay, and a slew of others are now emerging and battling it out for the top spot. Businesses are using Stripe to handle the increased volume of these transactions.
Additionally, most online commerce tools, including Shopify, integrate with all of these different payment processors. Check which ones are compatible with your e-commerce solution and circumstances, and your online store should be all set.
The goal is to create a frictionless experience for the consumer. With attention spans shrinking, these tools make the buying and checkout process more efficient—allowing less time for distractions and fewer abandoned carts.
Artificial Intelligence Is Here
If popular culture is any indication, people have been wary of artificial intelligence (AI).
Incorporating AI within the retail industry is trending, and the technology is expanding into e-commerce. It’s deployed in customer-facing operations more often than you’d expect.
Chatbots are used to answer frequently asked questions. They’re also used to foster customer relationship management by optimizing sales funnels.
AI also helps companies manage their backend with inventory management and data analysis capabilities.
If your company is exploring the possibility of AI, the options can be staggering. We recommend you build processes and strategies before incorporating this technology into your operations.
AI is best used for automating repetitive tasks and procedures. This results in saved time and money. Once your strategy and goals are established, find an AI solution, like DataForce, that meets your needs.
Another tip: don’t use AI as a catch-all solution. Decide what you want to use it for specifically, whether that be customer service or inventory management. Doing so will save you the hassle and cost in the long run.
Content Marketing is a Must
One of the unexpected “symptoms” of COVID-19 has been increased content consumption. People are consuming more content on a daily basis. As a result, content marketing has continued to rise to the top in importance in ROI strategies for retail and e-commerce companies.
Content fosters engagement with consumers and is excellent for brand affinity. The best way to make content that drives sales is by delivering value to your target audience.
With attention spans shrinking and the number of things competing for that attention increasing, the value of consumer attention is at a premium. By creating content that is valuable to your target customer, you increase the odds of closing a sale.
For example, a company that sells coffee may have a productivity blog, since coffee is associated with productivity. Creating posts that help people work effectively will lead them to associate productivity with the brand. Everyone wants to be productive, so articles like this will drive traffic. If people associate your coffee’s brand with productivity, they're more likely to buy your coffee.
There are many different content mediums, including podcasts, blogs, newsletters, and social media. Your particular product, service, and unique circumstances will dictate which medium(s) are best for your content. By delivering valuable content to consumers, you make them more likely to become customers.
These e-commerce industry trends are always changing, and COVID-19 has only accelerated those trends while also jumpstarting new ones.
At TransPerfect, our goal is to help industry professionals stay informed, keep up with trends, and make educated decisions. Contact us today to learn how our experts can help.