Today, we’re going to take a peek into the future of eCommerce.
For almost a full year, there has been an ongoing discussion about our “new normal” and when we’ll get “back to normal.” I’m not here to define what either of those things mean, but I do want to offer some insight on where eCommerce is heading in 2021.
The truth is, at least for the economy, things are never going to go back to the way they were.
According to a Shopify study I am going to be referencing throughout this video, 47% of US shoppers are uncomfortable with the idea of in-store shopping. This points to one unavoidable truth: it is not enough to be just a brick and mortar store anymore.
The pandemic has permanently altered the way consumers shop and interact with brands, and the best thing you can do is adapt. Don’t worry, I’m here to guide you through this new landscape with 3 eCommerce trends to look out for in 2021 and beyond.
No longer are the parents and grandparents of the world driving the economy, at least online. According to Shopify, 67% of young people increased their online spending in 2020, which is noticeably more than the older age demographics.
How does that help you? Let’s break that down into steps. The vast majority of commerce in the country is trending toward online shopping, and the majority of online shoppers are younger people. So, to access this market, you have to reach those younger people.
Social media. You are probably sick of hearing and reading about it, but it is an essential marketing tool for any brand in 2021. Engage with your users there: treat it like a networking opportunity. Social media has become a great new way for brands to build trust and loyalty with its customers, and consumers are taking notice of more than just what you sell: they want to learn who you are.
In that same Shopify study, they found that 32% of young people shopped “to make a difference.” This means they made their purchasing choices based on factors beyond cost. They looked for things like brands with environmentally friendly initiatives, charitable work and positive impacts of companies, and location. This is more than the 28% of 35-54 year olds and 23% of 55 plus consumers who shopped to make a different in 2020.
“Shop Local” became a big trend in 2020 and young people were spearheading that. So let’s talk about the local business.
When the news discusses local businesses, it’s all doom and gloom. They throw around phrases like “death of the local business.” And there is some truth to that, as 2020 saw painful numbers of brick and mortar stores closing their doors for good.
But there was a positive change in 2020 too. This is a direct quote from Shopify:
“By adapting to consumers’ changing shopping habits through new strategies and technologies, Shopify’s retail merchants replaced 94% of Point of Sale (POS) sales lost in the first six weeks of the pandemic with online sales.”
That’s huge. The numbers don’t lie: businesses that adapt will rebound. Let’s talk about some of those strategies and technologies that helped these businesses replace their lost sales.
You’ve probably seen it everywhere from supermarkets to car dealerships, but does your store include contactless payments? The world has never been more conscious of the surfaces we touch, so naturally the economy will shift to match this. Contactless payment options could be anything from “touch and go” card readers or offering the option to pay online and pick up in the store.
Or, you can go even further and offer in-store appointments for shopping. This tends to be more popular in Europe than the US, but with nearly half of all shoppers feeling uncomfortable with the idea of in-store shopping, removing the extra bodies could go a long way toward changing that.
Then there are options for your online store. Traditional shipping still dominates the market, with Shopify estimating 54% of consumers got their packages this way. But, we are starting to see other options in the mix with options like local delivery and curbside pickup hovering around a quarter each for fulfilment of online purchases.
There’s a benefit for the merchant on this side too: shoppers that chose one of these alternate shipping options tended to spend more, have larger carts, and convert more frequently when checking out.
And that leads me into my last topic for today:
In 2019, Statista estimated that 73% of eCommerce sales will take place on mobile devices. That was 2 years ago, so we can only imagine what that statistic will actually look like, knowing what we do now.
This trend toward mobile shopping shouldn’t be shocking, it’s a natural progression: as people became more comfortable with computers, they became more comfortable with online shopping. The mobile device is an extension of the computer, so mobile eCommerce is an extension of eCommerce.
There are two major aspects fueling this growth: that 18-34 demographic I spoke about previously, and Google. In 2018, Google launched a mobile-first index, which means that websites optimized for mobile will naturally climb in their rankings, while those websites that aren’t, won’t. Don’t look at this as punishment, look at it as encouragement. Optimize for mobile and you could see a boost in your rankings.
Something else that shouldn’t be shocking, this massive market is being driven by the largest market of online shoppers: young people. They’ve grown up with computers so they never had to get comfortable with computers.
This is good news for the future: technology will allow you to reach a younger audience that could become lifelong customers.
And that is your peek into my crystal ball of eCommerce to give you an idea of what the future is going to look like. The market has shifted dramatically, but this is exciting. This means there are so many more options for you and your business, especially once you get into ecommerce SEO, and massive new markets to explore. Don’t fall behind!
That’s all for today, but if you want to talk more about our new normal in eCommerce, click the link below to get in touch with us!
I’ll see you here next time!
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