There is no doubt the pandemic has pushed e-commerce to grow exponentially during 2020. The question on the minds of many is how much it will continue to grow in 2021. The growth and usage of e-commerce is based on much more than simply launching a website to sell goods or services. It requires a constant evaluation of your online sales to make sure your website is operating in the most effective way. Understanding eight of the current trends will help you plan for success in 2021 as well as taking advantage of new technology in e-commerce.
1. Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The two biggest improvements in e-commerce that online shoppers will be expecting are AR and AI. These two technology experiences offer online shoppers two key components of an in-store shopping experience. AI will provide the customer service by answering expected questions, providing more details and learning what details customers want to know about a specific product. AR will be the latest, greatest improvement by allowing people to “try” items before they buy. In a simple example, let’s say you are looking at a new dresser. AR will allow you to take a photo of where you plan to place that dresser in your house and then view an image of the dresser in the very spot you plan to place it. Implementing both of tools can give your e-commerce site the high-tech edge over your competition.
2. The Mobile Takeover
Mobile shoppers are gaining a bigger piece of the eCommerce pie every single year. In 2021, it is estimated that online purchases will account for 54% of all online sales. If your website is not optimized to serve mobile customers using phones and tablets to browse and complete sales, you may experience a loss of customers on your site.
3. Voice Assistant Shopping
By now, you have likely become friends with Siri and her cousin Alexa. Google Assistant and Cortana have recently become more prevalent in the voice assistant world as well. These virtual assistants will continue to grow in popularity. Companies like Dominos Pizza have long embraced the voice technology for ordering a pizza. It’s pretty convenient to say, “Alexa, order my favorite pizza from Dominos” and know that dinner will soon arrive at the front door. Customers who have an established Dominos account already have a credit card on file, their favorite toppings and pizza size pre-specified and their delivery address plugged into the system for the absolute easiest ordering experience. Now is the time to make sure your site is ready for voice optimization.
4. Environmentally Friendly
More consumers have become environmentally sensitive about issues of sustainability and carbon footprint matters and are concerned about caring for our planet. Showing that your company also cares about environmental issues is simply good marketing.
5. Delivery Matters
In addition to the cost and quality of your products, customers want to know how they will get their product, how soon it will arrive and what the cost will be. Obviously free shipping is a great value. Just ask Amazon Prime members. Try to build the cost of shipping into your mark-ups since customers love free shipping. If you can’t do this, make sure that shipping rates are competitive. Shop around for the best shipping rates. Ship promptly and notify your customer in advance of any lengthy delays in receiving their order.
7. Dynamic Pricing
While this gets into a touchy area, you don’t have to set a price in stone for each item you sell. In fact, you can implement dynamic pricing software that will help you determine the best price for your product based on current demand, your inventory level and internal costs. This type of software helps you identify the best price for your product based on many different factors. It is well worth the investment. As a side note, when you frequently change prices and offer great discounts on certain days, it keeps your customers coming back to your website regularly looking for deals. This is a vast improvement over brick and mortar shopping as people can visit your online store every day from any place they happen to be. Starbucks embraces this concept with their Double Stars day.
8. More Ways to Pay
The most important part of selling goods or services is getting paid. New payment options are emerging all the time. Tech savvy shoppers look for the most convenient payment methods available. Make sure you stay up to speed on all of the options your business should be offering for payments. Your Chosen Payments Account Executive can provide great recommendations on methods available for taking payments from your customers. Simply having an e-commerce website isn’t enough to be competitive in 2021. You must have an effective website design that delivers what people expect and makes them want to visit your website regularly. Following these trends as seen and shared by Chosen Payments will help you compete at the highest level.