2020 has in many ways been a globally changing year, and 2021 will in many ways continue the digital transformation projects and trends seen in the eCommerce industry! With that in mind it is time to reflect and see what 2021 will bring!
A word that has been on everybody’s lips – for a couple of years now – is experience. The last decade it has been all about delivering the best possible experience, whether we talk customer, commerce or product experience, and it will continue to be a trend going into 2021. But, why is this topic (still) on the agenda? Because there is a lot of room to improve.
We have listed six ecommerce predictions for 2021 that we believe will drive your eCommerce business forward and improve your eCommerce success.
Also don’t miss our other Predictions 2021:
Predictions 2021: Ecommerce
The changing economy calls for keeping up with emerging ecommerce trends to cut through the noise, get noticed, and attract customers. Here are our suggestions for ecommerce trends you need to pay attention to in 2021.
Ecommerce Prediction 1: eCommerce Platform vs Point Solution Integration (frustration)
Doing eCommerce well is no easy feat! You need an eCommerce marketing technology stack that is easy to work with while being able to offer a better experience than your competitor!
For this you easily need the following systems:
- Content Management System (CMS) – you need to integrate your eCommerce solution to a CMS that is modern, easy to use and scalable. This so that you not only offer the best possible experience to any browser and returning customer, but also to keep Google as your friend.
- A digital marketing solution – that can do more than just sent triggered emails to lower the abandonment cart rate and increase the conversion rate for first time and returning customers. Run campaigns using readily available (product) content that turn browsers into lifelong customers.
- A mature Product Information Management (PIM) solution – that ensures that you have all rich and accurate product information available to your other systems (including the marketing one) that will enhance the product and customer experience and increase your conversion rates… let alone being able to feed into the ever growing marketplaces space.
And then we are not even talking about integrating all these into your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system yet to complicate matters even more!
Integration nightmare! Don’t go with this FrankenStack strategy if you don’t have to!
Even with integration technically becoming easier every year, doing it right is not easy. And not doing it right will end with pain and a lot of frustration.
There are 4 common pains with integration to be considerate of:
- Complexity – integration adds complexity, what data goes where, is it enough and complete? Does it follow the data governance your organization is after? And complexity also directly translates into additional cost.
- Risk – integration all have 1 thing in common… they fail. Even if each integration only fails once a year, with at least 6 extra integrations to take care of in the example above that is 6x a moment of frustration and pain a year that you don’t need to have!
- Update pains – close to the risk bullet as when you update you run the risk to break things. And with some integrations (having an embedded approach to the ERP integration is a great example) it doesn’t matter which side upgrades you need to update the other side as well… doubling the pain and cost!
- Frustration – integration limitations or breaks never come at a good moment and they are highly frustrating! Try explaining to your sales team that your brought in solution is failing for the 4th time this year!
Total recurring cost could be seen as a 5th pain, but as it is a choice, I’m not adding this as a pain. (but having 4 point solutions will absolutely run you at a higher cost point than a platform that will bring you the most used elements of each point solution together in 1 complete eCommerce Suite)
Combine all this and an industry expert, and leading analysts, supported trend is showing that platforms are gaining terrain to the ‘diy-martech-eCommerce-stack’ approach. This is especially true in the sub-bigger-enterprise area as many mid- and larger market companies want something that just works!
Ecommerce Prediction 2: Digital transformation
Looking back at 2020, digital transformation is indisputable for businesses to survive and stay competitive in the future. According to McKinsey & Co. B2B digital leaders drive 5x more revenue than their non-digital peers and their 2020 research answered why that is: more than 75% of B2B buyers and sellers say that they prefer purchasing online and prefer remote interactions with sales reps.
The buyer-behavior, both B2B and B2C, is naturally moving towards the digital experience because of the new generations starting to enter the labor market. And with that new expectations, needs and behavior occur. But, the COVID-19 made that change lightning fast within months! Hence, a lot of companies started to look for turnkey solutions that enabled them to sell their services or products online in a matter of days.
It is no longer the question of if you should put your business online but when. If you are not online, you might be missing out. Luckily, it is better to be late than never. There are plenty of possibilities to get your commerce online in a fast and reliable way with turnkey solutions.
In 2021, we continue to see companies take their business fully digital, and no doubt that 2021 will be a profitable year for digitally native merchants.
Ecommerce Prediction 3: Niche online marketplaces get more popular
Every business looks for opportunities to generate more revenue. Selling via online marketplaces is a no-brainer.
Now, you are probably thinking of the most well-known marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, Etsy, etc. However, these are far from your only options. In fact, there are over 100 online marketplaces to benefit from. And the focus for 2021 will be niche online marketplaces across industries and sectors.
Forrester predicts the full (re)emergence of niche B2B marketplaces. These niche online marketplaces continue to appeal to B2B sellers and customers in 2021.Whether you are getting ready to launch a new eCommerce business or have been selling online for years, online marketplaces should be a central part of your strategy for 2021 and beyond.
Ecommerce Prediction 4: Personalized eCommerce
Even though people tend to shop online more and more, expectations of the shopping experience are rising. Creating a website and selling your products online is not enough. Cash will not just flow in once you launch your new webshop. The competition is getting steeper and online shopping behaviors are changing faster than ever before.
Customers spend 48% more when their shopping experience is personalized. To deliver a personalized experience and present relevant offers to your customers, it is important to gather as much information about your customers as possible. Luckily, 57% of online shoppers are comfortable with sharing their personal information with a brand if it benefits their shopping experience. How do you gather the right data? There are various ways to collect (more) data about your customers. For instance, if you are not already taking on a D2C approach, you could consider it. Gamification is another strategy, where you can run a competition that entails your customers to provide more info about themselves. Or, you could simply offer your customers a discount if they complete a short survey.
Ecommerce Prediction 5: Social Ecommerce
Buckle up for social commerce or lag in the competition. It is that simple. Today’s consumers have sky-high expectations for the commerce experience. They want an integrated experience on social media and only having to use one site to buy your item. 30% of surveyed online buyers claim they will purchase directly on social media.
Besides leveraging the traditional social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, you can even attract more customers and sell products through various other sites. Did you know that around 47% of people on Pinterest are searching for a product? With Facebook and Instagram, the figure drops to just 15% and 11% respectively.
Social commerce is selling products directly through social media. It differs from social media marketing because you are not redirecting users to an online shop but giving them the ability to checkout directly within the network they’re using at that moment.
Ecommerce Prediction 6: Voice Commerce
Isn’t this a 2020 trend, you might wonder? And yes, to some extent. However, some trends, such as AR and VR and voice commerce, were among those that need more time to be fully adopted compared to what everyone was expecting in 2020. Gartner predicted that over 50% of medium to large enterprises would have chatbots by 2020. This is no surprise, as chatbot technology — which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to mimic human conversations — is beginning to mature and offer more sophisticated solutions. Today, chatbots have become a central and inescapable tool for effective conversational marketing, especially in the B2B market.
In 2017, 13% of all households in the US owned a smart speaker. In 2021, 55% of households in the US are expected to own a smart speaker. In 2020, 43% of smart speaker owners use their devices to order products online. Voice Commerce will provide your businesses with another channel to connect with shoppers and integrate their shopping experience with everyday life and boost the sales opportunity.Optimize your website for voice search and try to incorporate more of the natural language that your customers use. When voice searching often more questions are asked compared to online searching. Therefore, you may also add a Frequently Asked Questions page to your website and list all the possible questions with answers to meet the expectations and needs of your customers.
The acceleration of the ecommerce growth tends to keep its speed going into the year 2021. Statista shows that the average growth is continuing at an average rate of 15% Year-Over-Year.
There is a lot of research and statements on what makes the winning difference. The market consensus seems to be that ‘Experience’ is the big differentiator. Oh, and then, of course, the digital transformation. If you are in the position to go digital, you might not want to wait too long and miss out.
At Dynamicweb we believe that eCommerce is complex enough already and that if we can make it less complex and more complete we should try to do this. Being able to offer a frictionless and near perfect eCommerce experience is what we are after for our customers. While we try to reduce complexity, increase efficiency and scale your eCommerce success!
Bonus: How do others foresee the future of ecommerce? 🔮
The above predictions are based on our assumptions. To broaden the perspectives, Dynamicweb asked six of our partners across the world to share their predictions on the future of ecommerce. You can watch the livestream on-demand or listen to it as a podcast.