In 2020, we saw online sales increase 141 percent in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We shop online for everything from gifts, clothes, and accessories to food and medications. So it should come as no surprise that ecommerce is expanding and transforming in all new ways this year.
eCommerce already makes up an enormous market share of our economy, and that trend is only likely to continue into the next year. Read on to discover some ecommerce trends we’re likely to see shaping the market in 2021.
Buy Now Pay Later
One of the most popular eCommerce trends we’re likely to see in the coming year is an increase in “buy now pay later” options. At first glance, this may sound like a credit setup, but it operates a little differently. These plans allow people with lower monthly incomes to make larger purchases.
When a person decides to purchase a new exercise bike, for instance, they may not be able to afford the up-front price. However, “buy now pay later” options allow them to spread that payment out over a few months. They pay small installments that seem much more approachable each month; the company gets their sale, and everybody wins.
Social media has become an enormous part of all our lives, so it makes sense that eCommerce would begin moving onto those platforms. Nearly 70 percent of American adults have a Facebook account, and another 37 percent use Instagram. eCommerce retailers would be hard-pressed to find another single platform with such a large concentration of their customer base.
Social media platforms recognize the opportunities there. Many of them are partnering with ecommerce retailers to make shopping on their platforms easier than ever.
Facebook has introduced a “Shops” option where business owners can create an online store for free. Instagram has also added a Shops tab to allow retailers to sell directly through the site.
In the last few years, climate change has once more become a hot topic of discussion in many circles. We’re seeing the impact of stronger storms, more frequent wildfires, and a cataclysmic decay of our natural systems. Many people are looking for ways to do their part in stopping climate change by making their own lives a little more sustainable.
This increased focus on sustainability is translating to the eCommerce market. In addition to pitching the quality of their products, retailers are also giving more information about where and how they’re made.
Customers want to know where their products come from. Retailers are pushing to find ethical, sustainable ways to source their materials.
Another part of the ethical commerce movement has been a shift to buying local.
For one thing, buying local helps consumers to reduce their carbon footprint. There isn’t as much shipping involved in the production process when you buy local.
But consumers also like knowing their money is going to support small business owners, rather than big box stores.
eCommerce is going to evolve to make local shopping much more accessible in the coming months. Small local businesses can set up online stores thanks to free platform availability. And larger eCommerce stores may offer an option for a consumer to select products from a local store, rather than a big-box retailer.
One of the most amazing technological developments of the previous years has been augmented reality. This technology allows us to interact with an upgraded version of our world.
We can still see and hear what’s going on around us. But we may be able to scan a physical magazine with our phone and watch a video message from our favourite celeb or check the reviews on a restaurant we pass on the street without having to flip through a bunch of different websites.
eCommerce retailers are using augmented reality to give customers a genuine product experience before they buy. For instance, let’s say you’re considering buying a couch, but you’re not sure if it will fit in your space. A retailer using augmented reality could show you an interactive, dynamic image of the couch in your home.
Blending Brick-and-Mortar and eCommerce
In the past, eCommerce has stood in sharp contrast to brick-and-mortar sales. Even if a business offered both options, those transactions never overlapped. But these days, the line between online and in-person shopping is becoming more blurred than ever.
Some companies now offer in-store eCommerce options to improve their customers’ buying experience. Shoppers can go pick out the physical items they want and then scan them into an app on their phones. They can check out through that app whenever they’re ready, rather than having to wait in line to make their purchase.
With everything we’ve discussed, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the biggest ecommerce trends this year will be omnichannel shopping. In essence, this approach allows businesses to take advantage of opportunities in every arena. A business is no longer just brick-and-mortar or online; it’s everything to everyone.
One business may have a brick-and-mortar shop where they offer their products to local buyers. They may also maintain a website and social media platforms where they list their products for sale. They may even list products on consignment through major ecommerce retailers such as Amazon to grab that traffic, too.
Discover More eCommerce Trends for 2021
In the previous year, online shopping became more important than ever in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. eCommerce trends have transformed the way we shop, from moving online shopping onto social media platforms to creating augmented reality experiences. As we move further into 2021, we’re likely to see this sort of omnichannel shopping continuing and expanding to even more frontiers.
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