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Industry Specialists’ Insights on e-commerce in 2021

The transition from offline to online shopping in 2020 will undoubtedly remain the primary ecommerce trend of the current year. More and more companies are opening and investing in online shops. In which direction is ecommerce developing, and what should we pay attention to in 2021? We present 25+ tips from industry experts!

The best way to leverage social media for your e-commerce in 2021 is to leverage both influencer marketing and user-generated content. Use tools to help find nano and micro influencers that are already your customers, followers, or even already mentioning or tagging you on social media  and leverage them to produce user-generated content that you can use not only in organic social media but also paid social, your website, and even in your shopping cart. If you don’t have enough customers or user-generated content, reach out to nano influencers, gift them your product, and leverage influencers to incite word of mouth marketing – and generate better content for you! Once you begin to collaborate with influencers, there is no limit to the invaluable collaborations you can have with them over time if you build out a mutually beneficial win-win long-term relationship.

Neal Schaffer, Author, The Age of Influence, nealschaffer.com

Customers’ trust in online shopping grows, and they feel more comfortable buying via their mobile devices. Experts predict mobile devices to make about 73% of total e-commerce sales by the end of 2021. More than that, 30% of online customers are ready to abandon their carts if they see the website is not mobile-friendly. That said, my tip is as follows: Focus on improving the customer experience of mobile users. Make sure your e-commerce website is mobile-friendly, design an app for your online store, implement AMP (accelerated mobile pages) for visitors who come to your store via smartphones, and test your mobile website regularly to check if it’s easy to navigate.

Lesley Vos, Content Strategist at Bid4Papers 

Reducing waiting times for delivery.

Consumers have more significant demands, and one way to satisfy them will be to reduce the waiting time for delivery. This requires the implementation of modern technological solutions. In shipments, it may be essential to invest in local warehouses, not only central ones. This will accelerate the pace of deliveries.

Gaetano Caruana, CEO, Early Parrot

Dynamic Pricing.

You should foresee more competition with e-commerce in general on the rise. This flood of figures is likely to alter the way the game is played, and competitive pricing, or shifting rates at a moment’s notice in a single channel to undercut rivals, is one growing pattern.

Dynamic pricing is also achieved using automated repricer software that monitor rivals and adjust their own prices accordingly (which makes this a technological trend). However, as we discuss in our market parity vs. competitive pricing comparison, if you deliver a stronger value on networks they haven’t seen, you could alienate existing customers.

Eliza Nimmich I’m the Co-Founder and COO of Tutor the People

One thing that really helps in e-commerce is having a fast website. Many studies have shown that when a website is fast, the customer is more likely to buy.

Furthermore, website speed is part of Google’s search engine algorithm. Google announced that they are incorporating “Core Web Vitals” as part of their ranking algorithm in 2021. These Core Web Vitals are site speed metrics. The faster your website is, the better your SEO will be.

Ideally, you want all of your webpages to load within 1 second. More realistically, any page load time of 2 seconds or under will keep your customers happy and your sales high.

Garit Boothe, SEO Consultant at Garit Boothe Digital

Case studies are one of the most significant social proof tactics. Why? You’re not only talking about the product/service itself; you’re explaining in detail how one of your customers implemented it successfully and what impact it had on their life/business. 

Josefina Ruiz, Communication Manager at Light-it

My most important tip for e-commerce companies in 2021 would be switching more of your resources to long-term retention strategies instead of short-term revenue strategies because you want to keep all those new customers you have attracted during the corona crisis. Make sure those customers keep coming back while you still can!

Jeroen Wiersma, GrowthPenguin

Customer service at the highest level. 

Customers attach increasing importance to the quality of service. 50% of customers have left a brand for a competitor who could stay more relevant to their needs. That is why it remains essential to invest in your customer service department. 

How can you help your consultants? First of all, rely on proven customer service tools! Not only will they speed up their work, but they will also have a real impact on consumer satisfaction with the service. 

Sona Pisova, Content Specialist, LiveAgent

One of the things I see people underutilize the most is having their own affiliate program. Amazon has reduced their commissions significantly and website owners are starving for higher commission alternatives. 

Put an affiliate program together on your website, there are tons of plugins and SaaS options you can use for this, and reach out to bloggers in your niche and let them know about your affiliate program.

Do a little leg work for the website owner, search their site for where your product is an appropriate fit and let them know where they can squeeze you in and how they can position your product so it converts on their site, so that they can make money.

Remember, everyone cares about what is in it for them, make it clear that they can make money and how.

Justin Grau, Founder, Bizdig.co

Once a customer lands on your e-commerce store, they either want to purchase your products or simply just learn more about your brand (especially when they’ve never heard of your store before). In this case, you need to tell a brief story about your e-commerce store in the first place using the About Us Page.

Creating a killer About Us page could be an underrated yet hot strategy to boost your conversion rates. You can include basic information about your business, team, history, achievements, vision, or mission on your About Us pages. The aim here is to make a great impression on your new potential customers.

You can also use the About Us page to answer customer basic questions. As you might already know, today’s customers care not only about what you offer. They are also interested in what is behind your store’s curtain and what your store stands for. And a well-written About Us page is a potential place to nurture this curiosity.

Andre Oentoro, CEO, Breadnbeyond

Consumers wants to support local businesses, especially given the devastation so many have seen with the economic turnaround. Ride this consumer sentiment and praise patrons as those who want to support local businesses. Consumers are willing to spend more if they are emotionally motivated to do so. Make them feel good by letting them know they are sparking opportunities in small communities.

Neal Taparia, Co-founder, Solitaired

As the e-commerce space becomes more and more crowded, e-commerce owners need creative ways to stand out from the crowd. This involves enhancing the customer experience and, at times, doing things that don’t scale. E-commerce-adjacent company Fast has proven the value of personalized engagement with current and potential customers. For example, it edited unique Fast-branded Twitter icons for users who requested them. E-commerce owners can similarly try to engage users one-on-one and create a branded experience that will encourage them to share, beginning a flywheel for the business.

Further, the rise of Augmented Reality (AR) has proven a success for translating traditional retail experiences online. For instance, AR lets visitors try out garments and makeup through camera filters, which allows customers to feel more connected to the items and, thus, increases sales. While not all e-commerce businesses will be able to fully invest in AR, this trend does point to a larger opportunity accessible to everyone: going beyond simple photos to connect with users. This can take form in social media videos, live streams, etc. E-commerce marketers should attempt to make the online experience as dynamic as possible to really attract their customers.

Isabelle Wisco, Marketing & Growth Analyst, Lido

The ecommerce industry has experienced a recent boom. With this wave, the number of options has increased dramatically. So, if you want to differentiate from your competitors, you need to focus on the customer’s experience on your store. Right from the time they enter your site to the time they checkout a product, the customer experience must be stellar. 

Deb Mukherjee, Head of Marketing, DelightChat

•        Embrace mobile device. There’s really no other way, because more than half of the traffic comes from smartphones and tablets. Your website, shop and services must be mobile-friendly if you are to succeed digitally. Start with the basics, e.g., check load times, scalability and readability of your website. 

•        While you are at it, have a look at your customer care. Are you sure you are using the most convenient and user-friendly channels to communicate? Make your customer service an asset and leverage over the competition.

•        Migrating business online is hard but certainly it’s worth the risk and your time. Since more and more companies compete online because of the COVID-related limitations, you should think of diversification of sales channels as an opportunity rather than a troublesome obligation.

•        Take advantage of Instagram and Facebook tagging. Use your social media outlets to promote and sell your products and services. All you need is an engaging content!

Maja Wiśniewska, Marketing Manager, SMSAPI

If you ever wanted to build a better eCommerce brand then get better with your customer service. One of the biggest pain points for customers is when they have to deal with poor customer support. According to Forrester, almost 70% of customers in the US will prefer to shop with brands that offer support online and offline. Yes, that’s how critical customer support is. The earlier the issues of customers resolve the better it is for you. See how Amazon does it – they are known to delight their customers. I have personally experienced it, whenever I have any concern I call their support and in most cases, within 24 hours the issue is resolved. Do you see how I praised Amazon in the last couple of lines because of the excellent customer service culture they have? That is what a good customer service culture can do to your eCommerce brand – people will love talking about you, your brand. On the other hand, if people are not delighted after doing business with you, they won’t come back and will shop with a brand that CARE for their customers.

Vineet Gupta, SEO Specialist, 5 Minutes SEO

In response to the new pandemic reality, Instagram unveiled a couple of commerce-friendly features that allow users to discover brands and shop directly on the platform of their daily use. Shoppable posts, Instagram Shopping, gift cards, live streams, and support small business stickers – just to mention a few – are features that gained huge popularity in 2020 and they’re already widely used by brands and creators all over the social media platform. We forecast that 2021 will only reinforce the trend and Instagram will become one of the leading marketplaces in the world. There’s definitely huge potential for eCommerce brands in iCommerce (Instagram+Commerce)!

Kasia Slonawska, Marketing Executive, NapoleonCat

Process automation is a trend for 2021. Thanks to it, you will be able to serve more clients and improve your consultants’ comfort! Relieving repetitive processes will also definitely increase the productivity of your team.

Lukas Mehnert, CMO, Smartlook

If you want your SEO done right for a new e-commerce website, the most important first step is building brand authority to increase the website’s importance in the eyes of search engines and potential customers. Quality content alone isn’t enough, however. With no built-in audience, new sites also need to heavily promote their new content in order to jumpstart initial readership. To accomplish this, define a content amplification process for each target audience and identify PR opportunities with the help of CanIRank’s Promote My Content tool. Following this process can land backlinks via guest posts, blogger reviews, roundups and interview features.

Matt Bentley, Founder & CEO at CanIRank

Tailor your sales efforts to your customer’s needs

It’s no wonder why customers respond so favorably to personalized experiences. Customers like to be treated as the individuals they are, not just as another number. However, when you’re selling to thousands or hundreds of thousands, personalization can become a bit tricky.

Luckily, you can achieve it with the right technology.

Start by collecting as much information as you can about your customer so you can properly segment your audience. This alone will achieve a better personalization in their customer experience.

Then, use the data you have of your customer to engage with them individually. If you use a CRM, make sure all interaction with your customer is properly recorded and stored. 

You can also use automation to ensure your customer gets the best experience possible. Is your customer persona likely to make a second purchase to replace one of their products? Make it easy by automating a re-engagement campaign around them.

Will Cannon, CEO at Signaturely

The transition from offline to online activities has also significantly impacted training sessions, company meetings, or trade fairs. Now it is worth taking the option of presenting your product during webinars as well! Valuable content delivered to customers will undoubtedly be increasingly appreciated. Such a compliment to marketing activities may prove to be a great solution in 2021.

Piotr Borkowicz, Digital Marketing Specialist, LiveWebinar

Embrace inclusivity

One of the growing trends for 2021 is the growing user interest for inclusivity in the companies they give business to.

After a rocky 2020, users are very interested to see how your business deals with inclusivity and are more likely to prefer companies that embrace it. If, however, there isn’t any acknowledgment of it, customers are likely to go where there is.

You don’t want to seem like you’re just catering to their needs as a fad, nor seem desperate to get their approval. 

To avoid this, start small. Make sure your content shows inclusivity wherever possible, instead of keeping all humans the same race and gender all the time.

Then, if you want to increase your inclusivity appeal, look into charities and non-profits that fight for inclusivity to sponsor. 

If your users can see their values reflected in your company, they’ll be more likely to become brand ambassadors, instead of just another customer.

James Davis, Head of Marketing at Messagely

Omnichannel! This is the keyword of 2021. If we want to meet our customers’ expectations, we should invest in multichannel outreach. The choice of how to contact our company should lie with the consumer. 

We also have to make sure that we combine the channels so that the consultants have constant access to all the data and contact history with the customer. This will help streamline and speed up the contact process.

Agnieszka Kuprianowicz, Marketing Specialist, Angry Nerds

Find better ways to be sustainable

Sustainability is the neverending trend, with more and more users actively preferring sustainable brands above all others.

Luckily, you don’t need to be a large brand to show how you’re protecting the environment. Whereas large brands, like Amazon and Coca-Cola, can spend millions in sustainability pledges and donations, users also know they are the main causes of the lack of sustainability, to begin with.

You don’t have to rebuild the ozone layer to be sustainable; just start small and work your way up.

Do you ship many items? Favor sustainable packaging and transportation. Do you build products? Have sustainable options with recyclable materials.

And, even if you can’t find anything to improve, you can always add a donation box at the end of the purchasing process for customers to contribute to a sustainable cause, aligning you with the solution, at very little cost for you.

Lisa Dietrich, Founder at Let’s be crazy

Offer omnichannel shopping

If you want to keep up with the times, you need to embrace omnichannel retailing.

Multiple customers first see about a company somewhere on social media, then go to a landing page, then get retargeting ads while navigating online, all within the same customer journey.

If your company isn’t optimizing for an omnichannel approach nowadays, it’s losing business.

Start by gathering all data you have of customer behavior to fully understand your customer’s journey. With it, you can start to learn where to optimize so you can unify marketing efforts.

Make sure your website is fully optimized for mobile, and create your own mobile app if you have any reason to believe it’ll be successful.

Offer multiple purchasing options to your clients, like online purchasing, in-store pickup, customized no-contact delivery, and whatever else your customers may want.

Finally, make sure you’re putting your best face forward every time by embracing omnichannel marketing as well, so you can continue to engage your customer, regardless of the channel.

Max Benz, Founder at BankingGeek

Use the advanced e-commerce configuration in Google Analytics. It will help you better understand what your most engaging products are, and it will help you with retargeting across Google Ads in Search and Display. 

Helena Ronis, Co-founder and CEO, AllFactors

Building relationships with customers.

We should pay more attention to the personalization of services. Relationship building can increase loyalty. This can be as simple as adding a name when communicating with the customer or recommending customized products.

Andrej Csizmadia, Growth Marketer, Post Affiliate Pro

Customize your thank-you page

As the price of ads keeps rising, squeezing more revenue out of every customer is the name of the game.

One of the easiest ways to boost your bottom line is by leveraging your thank you page to pump-up average order value. 

It’s amazing how many stores are leaving money on the table by just rolling with the standard thank-you page that came with their theme.

Our research shows that when properly optimized, your thank you page can effectively upsell 2% of all customers to a higher order value and increase your returning customer rate by 10%.

But your thank you page isn’t just for upselling, you can also customize it to collect valuable feedback from customers and use that to improve your shopping experience.

You only need to look at the thank-you pages from some of the world’s biggest eCom companies like Amazon and Walmart to see these strategies in action. 

With open rates for post-purchase offers dwindling, customizing your thank-you page is possibly the easiest way to eek out more profit from your store in 2021. Seize the opportunity before your competitors do!

Eric Haim, Co-Founder, Reconvert.io

In 2021, we should focus on improving UX and UI. The intuitiveness and simplicity of our website can be crucial when customers choose our product. 

Andrzej Bieda, CMO, Landingi

Proactive chat invitations

There are still very few companies proactively inviting people to the chats on their website. And I don’t really understand why. If you still don’t use live chat, go grab a solid and featured-packed solution like LiveAgent and you will see results immediately. 

You are paying for the traffic with your time and money, you make your ideal customer visit your top pages and you let them go without knowing what happened. If you can use automatic chat invitations, some of them will ask you questions you never knew they are bothering them.

On top of that, you have more contacts in your helpdesk & CRM you can work with and you are basically getting free market research while doing your daily job. That’s what I call a win-win situation. So go ahead and setup automated chat invitations on pricing or other important pages or try inviting specific users based on where they are currently browning and thank me later.

Matej Kukucka, Founder, Marketing Player

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