There were many things we would have done if we had the opportunity for a quick peek into the future (*cough Bitcoin). Basing your e-commerce plan on past trends is the same as selling Bitcoin to buy Dogecoin. E-commerce is a fast moving market, changing minute-by-minute, and exploring today’s trends will give you the insight you need tomorrow. Let’s explore a few e-commerce trends and why they are so vital to the future of e-commerce and your business.
Most consumers own speakers and rely on voice assistants for their daily needs. Poking at screens has become less thrilling for people who rely on devices for everything from GPS to grocery shopping. 71% of consumers prefer voice search over typing. Optimizing your e-commerce site for voice search opens up a whole new world of more tech-savvy consumers, and simplifies the search and purchase process for customers.
Omnichannel Shopping is the New Norm
Customers in 2021 expect a cohesive shopping experience across all channels. The “spray and pray” approach might get you exposure, but it’s important to maintain a consistent brand image and customer experience. If you think this sounds difficult, you’d be right. Analyse and optimize the channels your customers use most often, before expanding into new areas. A strong foundation in a smaller pool of e-commerce channels will help you build a loyal customer base, a recognizable brand, and will provide the data you need to expand onto other profitable channels as needed.
AI Enhances the E-commerce Experience
A customer question like “shipping cost” may seem like an easy win, but imagine 500 of these messages flooding your inbox. Even the most resourceful employee will be busy answering these queries for hours, while more come in. Implementing AI to handle easy questions and customer service inquiries will ensure your employees are free to answer more complex questions or resolve more pressing customer issues. AI gets less robotic every day, making it perfect for use with any customer base.
New Payment Options Emerge
20 years ago cash was king.. E-commerce sites are all enabled with card payment options or link directly with bank accounts, but adopting new payment methods like buy-no, pay-later (BNPL), lease-to-own and even QR code payment, is looking like the way of the future. In tech and e-commerce forward markets like China, QR codes are already used for everything from online purchases to personal transfer of money between individuals. Looking to other markets for future trends is certainly the best way to stay ahead of the curve, and even attract consumers from different countries.
Adopt Dynamic Pricing
In early 2020 we noticed the prices for hand sanitizer and toilet paper shooting up overnight. Dynamic pricing will automatically adjust the price of your product depending on supply and demand, competition and other, ever-changing market conditions. You may have seen this in play in the hospitality and travel industries, but it’s slowly bleeding over, and enterprises are using it to their advantage. For example, some businesses charge less for their products that come directly from a shipping warehouse, as they eliminate the need to process, stock or restock the item.
Mobile Will Dominate E-commerce
Goodbye B2C and Hello B2Everyone! Mobile is already dominating the e-commerce landscape. Again, we look globally for our future trends. 80% of consumers in the USA have never used a tap-to-pay method, while users in the UK and Australia use this method daily. Optimizing your site for mobile is just the first step. Consider implementing an array of mobile pay methods to reach the broadest subsection of consumers, and be prepared for the day when this trend takes hold in your area.
Augmented Reality Transforms Shopping
E-commerce businesses are using augmented reality (AR) to make a more concrete connection with the consumer by changing the relationship between shopper and product. While purchasing glasses once required a trip to the store, now AR lets customers try on glasses virtually, leaving them excited for a purchase that they have already invested in financially and emotionally. Making room for the diverse needs of customers is at the core of AR success, and we can expect to see more customers demanding to see how a product fits into their lives, before it actually arrives.
Change is inevitable. To continue to follow an unproductive course of action is the very definition of insanity. Luckily, the internet provides us with both a place to sell our goods to a wider, global audience, and a way to predict future changes in the market, consumer preferences, and e-commerce. Being aware of trends will make or break any business – and those wishing to be on the forefront will certainly be looking to the future, and making the right adjustments to keep their business booming.