How changing consumer habits are shaping our new normal

eCommerce Trends for 2021 so far

5 May 2021

Online shopping is booming. With new ways of working, shopping and going about daily life hugely accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, eCommerce uptake has now surpassed levels not expected until at least 2025. Experts predict our newfound online shopping habits are here to stay and it’s estimated there will be 46 billion connected devices by the end of 2021. While the future is in many ways already here, what key trends can we expect in the eCommerce sector as we progress in our new normal?

1. Taking it mobile

While online shopping has brought a huge amount of convenience to consumers’ lives (even more so during the pandemic), mobile shopping takes convenience to the next level. Encouraging customers to make purchases whenever and wherever they are opens a wealth of new buying opportunities. With trust levels in online shopping on the rise, it’s predicted that up to 73% of eCommerce sales will happen on mobile devices this year. For this reason, it’s critical that eCommerce sites have mobile-optimised sites, easy navigation and a smooth checkout process.

2. More ways to pay driving sales

Thankfully, we’re well past the days of needing a PayPal account. Removing barriers to purchase like antiquated or restrictive payment methods is driving conversion rates and increasing convenience for customers. More and more, they can buy now, pay later, use saved credit card details or even pay with a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. Likewise, B2B customers are demanding a more streamlined payment system – physical invoices will lose ground as automated payment options take over.

3. The changing shape of B2B

Consumer purchasing has moved online and B2B is moving to mirror these changing shopper habits. With Gen X and Millennials becoming increasingly involved in the B2B buying process (a whopping 73% of all Millennials are involved in making B2B purchasing decisions), businesses need to adapt to their new audience. These generations are digital natives, who'd rather use technology to browse, research and review than meet with a salesperson. A huge 68% of today's B2B buyers prefer doing business online. As a result, B2B eCommerce sites need to evolve to serve a generation that has grown up alongside technology. While it's not the death of B2B sales, it could very well be the death of the B2B salesperson.

4. Green is the new gold

Sustainability and going green are no longer terms reserved for niche brands with a niche audience. Millennials are increasingly known as the Green Generation, and for good reason – around 61% of Millennials say they’d pay more for eco-friendly products, with Gen Zers not far behind at 58%. These preferences have big implications for businesses and also provide big opportunities. To stay relevant and competitive, prioritising and promoting green practices is crucial. ECommerce giant Amazon has already jumped on the green-train, pledging to bring their carbon emissions to zero by 2040, with many other prominent retailers following suit. With big bucks to be made by going green, it’s little wonder marketing commentators see going green as the new marketing gold.

5. The in-store experience goes virtual

With COVID-19 driving shoppers online, retailers looked at new ways to deliver an in-store experience at home. Bridging the gap between in-person and digital experiences is a huge undertaking but is being assisted by augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) and services like live chat. AR technology is a complete game-changer, allowing shoppers to get up close to a product from the comfort of their own homes.

6. Things get personal

Tailoring an interaction to a customer’s unique needs deepens engagement and improves the overall customer experience. In fact, according to this report, 72% of customers only engage with personalised messaging. The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become increasingly widespread as a tool to collate data and deliver tailored shopping experiences. The benefits of personalised experiences on-site or in marketing efforts have been shown to have a strong, positive effect on sales – this study found retailers with advanced personalisation capabilities experienced a 25% lift in revenue.

7. Video remains crucial

Video remains a crucial part of eCommerce strategies going into 2021, with research showing that it can improve online retail conversions by up to 85%. Video has the power to bring brands to life and build trust, and is easily digestible on mobile devices. From product how-to guides to customer reviews, video can speed up purchasing decisions, with 33% of people preferring to learn about products by watching a video. For more on the power of video, view our blog here.

Technology and customer habits are evolving and businesses must evolve to remain competitive. Is your eCommerce site adapting in line with our changing world? Contact the Solutionists team for guidance today.



date published:

5 May 2021