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The Future of eCommerce: 2021 and Beyond

By: Lynn Ruthe


Little blond girl selling pink lemonade in the country.

Many things changed in 2020, some for the better, some for the worse. One area that has grown significantly is ecommerce.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), online retail grew by 46% in 2020. With customers unable to shop via traditional methods due to lockdown, ecommerce growth was accelerated by almost five years.

Staying ahead of the game

When it comes to ecommerce and digital platforms, it is important to stay one step, if not two, ahead of your competition. Keeping an eye out for emerging trends and learning to interpret consumer behaviour data will help you to adapt.

To help you stay on top of your game, consider employing an ecommerce agency to help you set up and manage your online store. Getting the experts in will free up some of your time and enable you to focus on other aspects of your business too.

Evolving ecommerce trends

No matter the business you are in, it is important that you are aware of the how ecommerce and consumer behaviour is evolving. Below are some of the trends in ecommerce for 2021 and beyond.

Video-first storytelling

Digital-native customers such as millennials and Gen Z-ers are increasingly using video content as their first point of contact with brands. Adapting your ecommerce funnels to favour video content is a good idea if you want to capture a growing cohort of customers.

Younger audiences also connect with brand stories more so than older generations. Video storytelling can help you grow brand affinity with this demographic and improve ecommerce sales.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) has been making the rounds on ecommerce sites for a while now, but its potential post-Covid is huge, especially for clothing retailers. Many shoppers will be weary of fitting rooms and trying on clothes in store in the future. AR could be the solution retailers need.

AR can also help brands blend their ecommerce and bricks-and-mortar offering by bringing AR and ecommerce sales together in store.

Visibility in emerging markets

Emerging economic markets including Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) have been causing a stir for retail for the past decade. In line with the rest of the world, the BRICS economies, especially China, are moving to ecommerce too.

Gaining visibility online in these markets will be key for ecommerce retailers in 2021 and beyond.

Speaking to a global audience

One of the many benefits of building an ecommerce platform is that you can reach a global audience with ease. However, working across cultural and language differences can pose unique problems for online retailers.

Having a multilingual site will set ecommerce businesses apart from their competitors in the future. Although Google will often translate site languages, hiring a multilingual team will help you communicate cultural nuances and broaden your opportunities.

B2B ecommerce platforms

Software as a service (SaaS) has dominated the B2B ecommerce market in recent years. However, as consumers have moved online to spend, businesses have started to follow suit.

Manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers are now actively targeting B2B customers through traditionally B2C channels such as social media. These are usually backed by comprehensive online catalogues that support their offering.

Device adaptation improvements

Mobile-first search rankings are not a new concept. In fact, the Google mobile-first algorithm was first announced back in 2015. However, as newer technologies emerge on to the market, ecommerce sites will need to adapt.

Staying at the forefront of digital advancements will give your ecommerce business the edge. Working with highly skilled developers can help you keep your site agile in a changing environment.

The last 20 years has seen a wholesale shift in the way consumers connect with, understand and ultimately shop through ecommerce platforms.

For businesses who want to thrive in a digital future, staying up to date with ecommerce trends, analysing customer usage and being agile enough to adapt will be key to their growth and success.

Published: June 21, 2021

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