Following industry trends is a great way to get ahead. Here are 20 eCommerce predictions to keep an eye on.
20 Ecommerce Predictions
1. eCommerce Continues to Go Global
There was a time when eCommerce was booming predominantly in America, but this has rapidly changed over the last few years. Over the rest of this year and into the future, eCommerce will continue to be a global phenomenon – with international sellers seeing a boost alongside purely domestic stores.
2. Online Sales Will Keep Growing…
2020 has been challenging to say the least, but eCommerce has proved unstoppable even in the face of a global pandemic. By the beginning of 2021, it’s predicted that eCommerce sales will hit $4.9 trillion, which is fantastic news for business owners.
3. … But It May Have Some Old-Fashioned Competition
Some industry experts believe that after Coronavirus lockdown measures are lifted, stir-crazy shoppers may be lured back to physical stores.
This means some competition for eCommerce stores, and so innovation is needed to keep shoppers buying online.
4. Digital Natives May Go Physical
As a result of prediction #3, we may even see some businesses that originated online move offline.
A great example of this is Pura Vida jewelry. Built online on the back of a brilliant social media presence, Pura Vida is now moving into bricks and mortar stores. As businesses look for new ways to reach customers, it’s unlikely that it’ll be the only one to do this.
5. An Omnichannel Experience May Deliver the Best Results
It’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to be an ‘either or’ scenario. To increase sales, research still suggests that a cohesive, omnichannel experience is best.
This means creating a seamless customer journey across web, mobile, and bricks and mortar stores if you have the capabilities to do so.
6. Online, Mobile Is the Way Forward
One of the most important ways to keep shoppers engaged online will be optimizing your store for mobile. Now more than ever consumers are using their handheld devices to shop – so a streamlined, positive experience is essential.
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7. Headless Commerce Will Become the Norm
‘Headless commerce’ is where the front end of a website (otherwise known as the head), has been decoupled and removed from the backend.
This means that front-end developers can customize and present website content in any way they want – across any kind of device.
We’re likely to see more of this thanks to the increased number of devices shoppers use to make their purchases.
8. Customer Reviews Will Be Key…
Reputation is everything when you operate online, and customer reviews are a huge part of this. 91% of people aged 18-34 trust the reviews of other customers, ranking them as highly as personal recommendations from a friend.
9. … So Your Customer Service Will Need to Step Up
The importance of customer reviews and online reputation means that customer service will need to step up to ensure customer satisfaction and keep up with competitors.
Which brings us nicely on to prediction #10…
10. Private Messaging and ChatBots Will Boom
One of the ways to keep customers satisfied is through private messaging and chatbots.
Facebook Messenger has seen a colossal increase in engagement over the last few years, and now more businesses are offering WhatsApp as a way for customers to get in touch. The experience feels more personal and allows businesses to connect with customers more easily – it’s a win-win all round.
11. eCommerce and Social Media Will Merge
We’ve seen an increase in social commerce over the last few years, with social media platforms such as Instagram introducing new and exciting ways for businesses to sell.
Making potential customers leave social media to shop has always hindered conversion rates, but with in-app purchases on the rise we predict that the future of eCommerce is on social media – watch this space!
12. And Voice Search Will Emerge
Voice search has been on the horizon for some time now, but it will emerge more fully in the rest of this year.
Dustin Coates, Voice Search Lead for Algolia, states that this will be far more ‘than simply returning answers to predictable search queries.’ Think more of a seamless voice search application that lets customers easily interact with retailers ‘using language that’s natural to them.’ Exciting!
13. Content Repurposing Will Help Your Marketing Strategy
The demand for useful, engaging content is still raging but it can be a time-consuming task for any business owner or marketing department.
‘Repurposing’ essentially means taking your existing content and tweaking it to make it more relevant as time goes on or translating it to a different platform. With increased demand, this is a smart business move.
Think transforming your written tutorial into a YouTube video, or turning the info in your latest podcast into an infographic.
14. Amazon Will Continue to Dominate
Amazon continues to dominate the eCommerce market, and this is demonstrated by its earnings from the first quarter of 2020. As reported by Practical eCommerce, its revenue increased, and it remains one of the few businesses continue to hire new staff through the coronavirus crisis.
Unless something catastrophic happens to the company, we can’t see its dominance decreasing any time soon.
15. Personalizing Content is a Way to Compete
A lot of businesses are already focussing on personalizing their content to keep customers coming back – Amazon is a prominent example of this.
Personalizing content takes work – you need to know who your visitors are and what they need. As Magento highlight, ‘relying on blanket offers and advertisements is not enough to drive customer engagement anymore.’
16. Automation Will Further Streamline Business
As eCommerce grows and businesses scale up, automation provides the best solution for efficiency. It removes the repetitive nature of certain tasks and reduces the need for increased staff.
Tasks that are being increasingly automated include tracking and reporting; scheduling inventory alters for reordering and marketing stock; and listing new products across multiple channels.
17. While AI and Data Will Improve Customer’s Experience
Leendert van Delft, Vice President for Sales Programs and Digital Marketing for global delivery service DHL, states that the company is ‘constantly looking to use data to drive innovation.’
This means that in the very near future, online shoppers should expect to be able to change ‘delivery and purchase options up until the moment a package arrives.’
18. Businesses Will Move to Progressive Web Apps
These days, every big business has an app available in app stores for mobile devices. But this may become a thing of the past with the increased use of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs).
PWAs are being adopted by big brands such as Twitter and Starbucks. It negates the need for separate coding for different software such as iOS and Android. Users can simply visit the business website and save its PWA as an icon on their home screen – it’s quicker and easier for both businesses and consumers.
19. And Offer More Subscription Services
A subscription service can be offered alongside a regular eCommerce offering, or as the focal point of a business.
There are three main ways this can be done: a service that delivers products to the customer regularly, replenishing their items; a ‘curation service’ providing personalised products on a scheduled basis; or a system where customers pay a recurring fee for access to a product or service.
Subscriptions can save businesses time and money, while providing customers with high quality products or services – it has benefits on both sides, which is why we’re likely to see an increase this year and beyond.
20. eCommerce Will Go Green
Lastly, there will be a shift toward more environmentally friendly practises.
Consumer awareness of environmental issues has definitely increased, with half of digital consumers saying that environmental concerns impact their purchasing decisions.
In response the eCommerce industry will take on more sustainable methods of business – including more green supply chains, sustainable manufacturing, and zero waste packaging.
eCommerce and the Future
While adapting to the changes coming our way, it’s always a good idea for online store owners to ensure their business is operating at its full potential.
For Magento users looking for assistance with maintaining their Magento website, from general support and performance services to expert consultation, you can look through the Magento services CreativeMinds offers here. Whatever comes next – we’re always here to help!