15th January 202115th Jan 21Jon Billingsley18 Minute Read

eCommerce Trends in 2021

The eCommerce industry is one that evolves on a daily basis. This is why it’s important to stay updated on everything related to eCommerce trends.

Two decades ago, most people would have sneered at the idea of using the internet to sell goods and services. In 2020, total retail e-commerce sales worldwide added up to a value of 4.2 trillion US dollars.

In the whole of Europe, eCommerce trends show that the UK leads the pack in terms of sales with consumers spending up to €200 billion on online purchases in 2020.

This sheer market size should give you an idea of the kind of competition you can expect from the industry. It’s also an indication that the best way to thrive with this level of competition is to stay on top of eCommerce industry trends.

For the big and smart players of the industry, eCommerce growth means more profit. For example, industry giants, Amazon made around 10.9 billion euros from the UK in 2020. The best part about harnessing these trends is you don’t have to be a huge company to see results. Small to mid-sized businesses in the UK can also increase their profit margins by paying attention to eCommerce trends.

This is where we come in. Throughout this blog, we will provide a detailed explanation of the top eCommerce product trends that will shape 2021.

More importantly, we will provide expert advice to harness these trends to great value! Come, let’s take a peek into the future of eCommerce.

Global eCommerce Market Size
Image credit: Statista (Global retail e-commerce sales)

What Are eCommerce Trends: A Quick Definition

eCommerce trends are unique behaviours that you can only notice when you study market data. Every business has some “hidden rules” that affect the probability of success. And for an industry like eCommerce that generated a national GBP of 688.4 billion, these trends are essential. You can use them as a roadmap to make decisions that will keep your business profitable.

The best way to know which eCommerce trends to follow is by studying the parameters of the market. These parameters are:

  • Experts: These are people who have experience in the eCommerce industry and can give insights and predictions of what you can expect from the market.
  • Customer reactions: Listening to your customer always helps. You’re doing business for them, therefore, you must dance to their tune.
  • Competitions: Your competitors will also influence eCommerce industry trends. It will help if you tried as much as possible to offer better services than your competitors.

Some other external factors may also affect eCommerce in your unique niche. Take for instance, the COVID-19 pandemic. A closer look at eCommerce trends post-COVID showed that the pandemic increased sales by 52.20% in 2020.

Do visit our eCom trends in 2020 article, you will love it!

eCommerce Consumer Sales
Image credit: Common Thread Collective

As a brand in the eCommerce industry, you need to understand and work towards the trends. By doing this, you are already making informed decisions in the right direction. For instance, most buyers want promotional offers such as free delivery. When you know this customer behaviour, you can align your business towards their needs.

The eCommerce business is in itself, a dynamic business. And consequently, the trends are also very dynamic. What worked in 2019 before the pandemic changed totally during the pandemic. Keep reading to find out the most important eCommerce product trends for 2021.

Since no eCommerce brand targets only one customer, you should expect different shipping habits from different buyers. Now, running an eCommerce brand already comes with many challenges. As a result, you may not have the luxury of time to study customer behaviour on different channels.

But as much as possible, you must try to align your brand with customer needs on a broad scale. Here are some eCommerce trends customers will want in 2021:

Product Description

Before a prospective eCommerce customer visits your website, they have done some level of research. Usually, they know the kind of product they want to buy and some features it should have. For example, let’s assume you want to buy a mobile phone in an eCommerce store.

You most likely have a budget and some specific features that you want. As a result, you’re going to be in search of indicators that a particular product can offer these features.

As a result, it’s a smart move as an eCommerce brand to have a product description. A product description should spell out the features of a product with explanations.

You can also take pictures of different parts of the product. This increases the level of trust a customer will have in your brand. Up to 87% of prospective customers use product descriptions as a determinant for making the buying decision.

Example of Product Description
Image credit: Amazon

Promotional Marketing (free deals)

Everybody likes free deals. And although the eCommerce buyer knows what they want, the average buyer will not turn down a free offer. Especially when this free offer comes from a brand with whom they have trust

As part of your eCommerce strategies in 2021, give out promotional offers like discounts and free shipping to your buyers’ location.

Now, giving free offers may affect your profit margin, but it has its advantages. Let’s assume you have a product that shoots a little above the budget of a buyer. If you have a free delivery package or a discount, the customer may not mind going over their budget to buy the product.

Customer Relationship

As an online retailer, profit is essential. But, retaining your customer is also necessary. When a new customer comes to your online store, their experience should make them buy and come back. Understanding customer behaviour may take a long while because the customer always needs changes. That is why you need to study what your customer wants continuously.

From the pre-purchase experience to the post-purchase experience, your customer needs to feel comfortable. When a new customer gets satisfied with your online store, they trust the brand enough to return.

And according to Business Insider, your old visitors are 82.5% more likely to make a purchase than new visitors. That’s primarily because the personalization they enjoy means they trust your brand and are willing to spend more.

Money-Back Guarantee

Back in the day, not every customer would make the decision to buy online. But in recent times, the customer trust margin has been rapidly increasing. However, we are all humans, and every customer has a right to distrust your brand.

It’s up to you to make them trust your eCommerce brand. Buyers are more likely to trust your brand if you provide a money-back guarantee. eCommerce website trends dictate that a responsive website and reviews from customer review platforms like TrustPilot can boost the trust appeal of your website.

Survey by eConsultancy
Image credit: eConsultancy

Lovely Aesthetics

When you visit a place for the first time, you’ll make certain observations at first glance. These observations turn into assumptions that you may hold onto for life.

That’s the same experience a new buyer feels when they visit your online eCommerce store. All the assumptions they make come from what they see on their first visit to your eCommerce website.

As a result, you have to be meticulous with the outlook of your website. Also, make sure your user experience is top-notch. Take the time to develop a brand that consumers can recognise easily.

Top eCommerce Brands in UK
Image credit: Merchant Machine (Top eCommerce Brands in the UK)

Optimised Website (speed)

The eCommerce space is a very competitive one that leaves consumers with many choices. Thanks to this smattering of options, when it comes to online activities, the average user has very little patience. Even we tend to get a little frustrated when we keep trying a slow website continuously.

The same thing goes for your prospective buyer. When they decide to go shopping online, they don’t expect your site to be slow. Customers want to shop on a quick seamless platform. Otherwise, they’ll leave for a faster one.

Swift & Trusted Transactions

One crucial part of eCommerce growth and success is the area of payment. It’s vital to both your consumer and you — the seller of the product.

The consumer is second-guessing the safety of their money. You, on the other hand, wants to make sales and profit which can only come in the form of secure payments.

For this reason, you must ensure your customers do not get discouraged by your payment method. One of the top eCommerce trends we notice is that most customers want multiple options on the payment gateway. This can contribute to how much trust customers will have in your brand.

Shopify's Payment Gateway
Image credit: Expert Market (Best Payment Gateway Providers)

Customer Stories

If you have an online store or eCommerce website without reviews, your website is incomplete. When used appropriately, product reviews are almost as critical as a product describing features of the product.

A report states that up to 90% of buyers will read an online review before visiting your business. Over the course of 2021, one of the eCommerce trends to look out for is customers putting more stock in the stories reviews tell about your brand.

Every year, eCommerce brands try different strategies to increase revenue and boost customer engagement. You can only do this when you have current information on industry trends. Here, we discuss the eCommerce trends top brands are displaying in response to customer behaviour.

Improved Website

The first shopping contact a customer is going to have with your brand is via your website. Sure, social media, search engine marketing and influencers can help you reach more customers. But the actual shopping will happen on your website.

Firstly, it has to have standard website designs with excellent aesthetics. After that, you don’t want to have a scattered, muddled up website. Instead, you want products on your website to be neatly arranged. This way, it becomes easy for prospective customers to browse through your website.

Furthermore, you have to make your domain name simple and easy to remember.

For example, it’s easier to remember shopify.com than to remember shoptillyousatisfy.com. To cap it off, your website needs to load swiftly. Make sure your web design caters for the fastest load time possible.

Building Customer Trust

Before you can convert new customers, you have to spend time and money on marketing. But to retain old customers, all you need is to gain their trust.

eCommerce brands all over the world take their time to study customer behaviour. It’s not enough to just send a mail of transaction details to that customer. In 2021, one of the top eCommerce trends for brands building an open line of communication.

This can be in the form of an active social media page where you deliver news, videos how-to guides and community-related content. In the same vein, you can use segmented email lists to correspond with your customers regularly.

Perhaps more importantly, you can use blogs to provide relevant information for your target audience.

Blogs are a great way to increase your site authority and show in a prospective shopper’s search results. You just have to figure out how much content is great for SEO.

When you regularly engage with your customers, they will start to extend the same courtesy to your brand. You can even convert them into a community of loyalists. By so doing, you have better reviews that will drive sales upwards. And you can bank on them to keep purchasing and trusting the brand.

Dynamic Payments

Brands try as much as possible to put many payment options on their eCommerce marketplace. That’s now a significant trend because of its importance to the profit margin.

Let’s assume you do not have a Paypal account, but you prefer to make bitcoin purchases. You won’t want to go through the stress of creating a new PayPal account to buy any product. You’ll instead choose to buy for a website that accepts bitcoin.

Now, that doesn’t mean that a PayPal transaction will not go through. Neither does it mean that the product isn’t right. It only means you’re more comfortable with the payment method. As a result, a website that offers both payment options will not lose you as a consumer.

In light of that, eCommerce trends in 2021 show that most marketplaces are now accepting multiple payment options. These range from card payments, to PayPal, Cashapp and cryptocurrency payments.

This is also a B2B eCommerce trend to keep an eye. With only 23% of B2B retailers still accepting fax orders, it’s more important than ever to accept varied payments for your business.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence in eCommerce may not be so popular, but it’s getting important. If you don’t know what artificial intelligence or AI is, let’s paint an example. You know when you visit that website and a chatbot pops up saying hi, that’s a form of artificial intelligence.

AI features like a chatbot means that brands are making it easier to communicate with prospective customers. Furthermore, it saves expenses that will otherwise have been spent on funding a customer support team.

Customers will always have questions about your products. And it’s impossible to answer those queries 24/7. However, when you incorporate artificial intelligence into your eCommerce platform, you can answer some of those questions automatically.

Image credit: Freepik

Related Article: How To Use Artificial Intelligence in Your eCommerce Business

Brands are Listening to their Customers (voice commerce)

Many customers today prefer to use devices that have voice assistants. At least, 43% of customers who own a smart speaker use it while shopping. And because of that need, many eCommerce brands have incorporated voice accessibility features into their business.

Here’s how to make your eCommerce website voice search friendly:

  • Optimize website speed
  • Use SEO keywords that cater to voice search queries
  • Structure blog and web content to answer questions
  • Build a website that’s responsive to mobile browsing.

The Future of eCommerce: Best Trends to Follow in 2021

Global & United Kingdom eCommerce Trends

So, what eCommerce trends do you need to key into to drive sales and increase customer retention in 2021? Here are some eCommerce trends that will shape how successful your brand will be:

Employ Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are the future of eCommerce. It’s spreading like wildfire because it helps with sales automation and customer interest. Machine learning is a vast field, which may be discouraging. But when you employ this innovation to your website, you’ll love the experience.

Let’s broaden it up with an example. If you have a customer that keeps searching for shower squeegees over and over again.

If your website has machine learning and AI, on the next visit to your store, the consumer may not have to search. This personalization feature will have successfully studied the shopping data of your consumer. As a result, the system will quickly display products similar to previous queries.

Online shopping trends in the UK show that 73% of consumers do not like seeing products they do not need. With machine learning, it will be like you’re reading the minds of your customers.

That’s because using previous data, the system will study what the consumer wants and provide analytical solutions based on this information. The best part is, you don’t have to be onsite for this to happen. Simply, install the system and allow it to work seamlessly.

Graph showing retail eCommerce's investment in AI & IoT
Image credit: Zebra Study

Customer Retention

As an eCommerce brand, you need to find all possible means to retain your customers. There are a lot of competitors waiting and searching for customers. And these customers know about your competitors well. So, you must do everything you can to keep them with your brand.

If you notice consumers are searching for some unavailable products, try to purchase them. If you see your customer is unhappy with a product, respond in the quickest possible time.

Try as much as possible to get some personal contact from your customer. When you want to reach out to your consumer, do so in a homely and exciting manner.

If you offer products that consumers need over a period, maybe monthly, you can get them to subscribe.

Give them freebies, offer them some sort of incentives to get them to join a subscription model. For instance, freebies like the first month off can persuade prospects to commit to your brand.

Influencer videos can also help with customer retention. A sizable percentage of Gen Z and millennial consumers will choose to buy from companies affiliated with their favourite influencers.

Use a Simple Website

The truth is that the bulk of your target audience will favour simplicity over the challenge of navigating a complicated website. In light of this, always go for a landing/home page with only a few features.

Screenshot of Shopify Homepage
Image credit: Shopify

We are a full fledged agency providing services for Shopify and Magento, if you are looking for a helping hand do contact us.

You cannot talk about eCommerce in Europe without referencing the United Kingdom. That’s because we have the highest eCommerce market share on the continent. And, that’s not stopping anytime soon. Data shows that

Retail eCommerce sales share in UK market
Image credit: eMarketer

Below are some eCommerce trends for 2021 that are unique to the United Kingdom:

Directly-to-Consumer Commerce

Most of the time, retailers have no options but to use freight and shipping companies for deliveries. As much as this means one less thing to worry about, it also means the product’s safety is with another brand. Therefore, eCommerce retailers in the UK are extending resources to sell to customers directly.

Faster Shipping

With many eCommerce competitors coming on board, there’s a need for swift shipping solutions especially for B2B businesses. Consumers in the UK want solutions and they want it fast. Offering faster shipping options will give you an edge over your competitors.

Quality Trial Test

Have you noticed that some retail companies now allow you to test their products out before confirming payment? It’s a process that ensures the quality of the product in question without cheating the retailer.

One of the top eCommerce trends in the UK is the emergence of tools such as Klarna that allow buyers to pay for many products. On arrival, you get to choose or reject the products you wish to purchase. Of course, more consumers will look for eCommerce websites with these features.

Image credit: Klarna

Consumer Activism

Now more than ever, consumers who will make up your target audience in the UK are clamouring for their favourite brands to do more than just sell products. In fact, up to 74% of consumers in the UK demand that brands take more responsibility during the manufacturing process.

In fact, half of them say they are more likely to pay a steeper price if the brand uses environmentally friendly packaging.

As a result, whether it’s in the form of fair salaries, humanities movements like Black Lives Matter, eCommerce retailers will feel increased pressure to contribute positively. For instance, Yorkshire Tea spoke out using social media channels during the Black Lives Matter protest. They asked critics of the movement to stop buying their tea

Post-COVID eCommerce Trends

Thanks to the pandemic, there has been a dynamic shift in the way consumers are responding to eCommerce retailers. Here are some of the top post-COVID eCommerce trends to know:

Increased Trust in Online Retail

Before the pandemic, not many people could confidently trust online stores for their shopping needs. Most people would prefer to see a product before purchasing it.

However, everyone had to stay indoors for quite a while, with very few stores open. This situation made the trust level for eCommerce increase. As many as 56% of consumers tried a new online retailer during the pandemic.

Increased Competition and Omnichannel Accessibility

When a business is booming, it is normal for more companies to emerge in the industry. Thanks to the unique nature of the pandemic, more and more brands are shifting to eCommerce. When this happens, you’ll need a lot of brand repositioning to have success.

Your website needs lovely designs to lure prospective consumers and stand out. Likewise, you’ll need to invest in omnichannel retail.

Doing so makes it easier for customers to continue shopping regardless of whatever channel they are using. For instance, omnichannel retail features allow the same customer to start shopping with their laptop and finish seamlessly using their mobile phone.

Wrap Up!

Knowledge of these eCommerce trends are significant to the growth of any eCommerce business. With this knowledge, you have a blueprint of the type of decisions to make to help your business increase its reach.

However, knowing these eCommerce trends is one thing. The other is taking the time to implement strategies that align with this trend. Bing Digital can help with that. We offer complete eCommerce solutions designed to help you develop top-of-mind relationships with your prospective customers. Get in touch with us today!

Find out how we can help you

If you would like to discuss the possibilities, why don’t you give Bing Digital a call on 0800 802 1206 . Alternatively, complete a contact form and we’ll be in touch soon.

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