The e-commerce industry has been undergoing a paradigm shift and exponential growth during the last few years. We’ve seen COVID-19 give it a huge boost as well since most of the businesses shifted to the online marketplace. The difference between successful e-commerce companies and not-so-successful e-commerce companies has been forming and implementing a good e-commerce strategy.
The future of e-commerce is bright, and if you want to stand out, you must adopt e-commerce innovations while crafting and executing a stellar e-commerce strategy. What follows is a list of e-commerce trends in 2021 that can help you grow your business.
Offering Your Customers A Personalized Buying Experience
An excellent e-commerce strategy is focused on customers and offering the best possible buying experience. When customers truly feel that your e-commerce store is doing its best to select the ideal product for them, your business will witness growth. Personalizing your customers’ buying experience has more to it than simply personalizing the emails that you sent to them. It features a variety of techniques ranging from recommending products using previous purchases or the browsing/search history of a specific customer on your e-commerce website.
Take the example of Amazon – the king of personalizing buying experience, if you will. Not only does it showcase related products and recommendations of products to its customers, but each customer’s dashboard is also unique and tailored to meet their needs and taste. You can also utilize personalized quizzes to better understand your customers and use the obtained data to tailor your email marketing and SMS marketing strategy.
Ensuring That Your Checkout Process Is Seamless
You can drastically reduce cart abandonment by optimizing your checkout process. This e-commerce strategy is generally neglected, resulting in abandoned carts, which leads to your business losing sales. Businesses spend time, energy, and money on getting the customers to visit their e-commerce store and browse through products. However, a tedious checkout process can lead to these visitors leaving your e-commerce store without making a purchase. That’s why it is crucial that your trust-building process continues even through the checkout phase. A smooth and trustworthy checkout process can help you bump up your conversion rates and minimize cart abandonment, thus leading to greater sales and profits.
Thanks to e-commerce innovations, the checkout process can be simplified and made trustworthy. You can begin by ensuring that everything is presented on a single page. However, if you must use several pages, add a progress bar at each page’s bottom, letting the customer know how far they are into the checkout process. You should ensure that the buttons are easy to find, thus ensuring that your customers don’t get frustrated while looking for them.
Your Existing Customers Are EXTREMELY Important
Unfortunately, most e-commerce businesses tend to forget a crucial piece of information – the cost of retaining customers is much lower than acquiring new customers. You will find that many e-commerce businesses are focused on acquiring new customers and tend to neglect their existing customers. Whereas, studies have shown that a repeat customer can spend 67% more on your website and offers a conversion rate of up to 20% as opposed to a new customer.
How do you focus on your existing customers? You focus on providing excellent customer service. From the moment a potential customer lands on your website to after-sales services, everything should be seamless, easy, and convenient for the customer.
Employ Outstanding Marketing Strategies
Take things a step further from email marketing! An effective SMS marketing strategy can help you see a huge rise in your sales. Why? Because research shows that a text message has an open rate of 98%, and most of the users will read a text message within the first ninety seconds of receiving the text message. You can use this to your advantage and send personalized texts detailing discounts and new product arrivals to your existing customers. This e-commerce strategy is linked to the previous one that explained why retaining customers is important. By relying on an excellent SMS marketing strategy, you can effectively bring your existing customers back to your e-commerce store for making repeat purchases.
Enhance Your Onsite Experience
When your customers are visiting your website, it is crucial for them to feel delighted and enjoy browsing through your services and products. That’s where the onsite experience comes into play. You have to use the available tools to determine how your visitors are interacting with your e-commerce store. This will help you understand where visitors are leaving your website and what you can do to keep them engaged and ensure that they make purchases.
Furthermore, you have to optimize your site structure and deliver a delightful customer experience to your customers. Your e-commerce store should open quickly and must be easy-to-use and highly interactive. Look at it this way, would a potential customer make a purchase from a brick and mortar store that has broken lighting and untidy shelves? They would prefer a store that has a nice façade, clean shelves, and proper lighting. This is the concept that you must apply to your e-commerce store website and deliver an incredible onsite experience to your customers.
Focus On The Customer Support
The customer experience is what determines whether your customers will purchase from your e-commerce store or not. That’s why it is crucial that you continually focus on customer experience and enhance it. There are multiple ways to enhance the customer experience, but the best way of doing that is by improving your customer support. For instance, you can use a help desk ticketing system to ensure that your customers’ queries are being handled in an expedient manner.
The help desk ticketing system allows you to reduce the burden on your customer support team. Furthermore, you can utilize email and SMS to assist you with customer support. Let your customers know when their order has been dispatched and reach out to them for feedback.
Be Smart About Targeting Your Audience
That’s where data analysis comes into the picture. It is crucial for your e-commerce store’s success that you identify who your target audience is, what products they are buying, and if any products are performing better than others. Data analysis plays a significant role in determining how your e-commerce strategy should proceed.
Once you have an appreciable amount of data, you can target a similar audience through your social media campaigns. Such marketing campaigns – tailored to your target demographic – can help you enjoy a much higher ROI as opposed to marketing campaigns without clear goals and target audience. You can also rely on data analysis to see which blog posts are performing better and then send that particular blog post via email to your other customers.
Don’t Ignore Disruptive Technologies
It’s a common phenomenon; a new technology enters the market and entirely changes the way you can interact with your audience and generate higher sales. Conservative businesses avoid adopting such technologies; however, it is strongly recommended that you become an early adopter. Take the example of Instagram and TikTok. These two platforms have completely overhauled how an e-commerce store can interact with its customers, and the companies that adopted them have reaped significant benefits. The future of e-commerce is linked with the developments going on in the technology sector, and that’s why it is important for you to adopt them and use them to your benefit.
Mobile e-Commerce Is A Must
The paradigm is currently undergoing a huge shift as we’re seeing more and more customers utilizing their smartphones for interacting with e-commerce stores. According to a study, mobile commerce will be generating 54% of all online sales in 2021. Is your e-commerce store optimized for mobile usage? Are you also offering a mobile application? If not, then you must actively take action in this direction. Otherwise, you will end up losing a huge percentage of potential customers. Mobile e-commerce should be a significant part of your e-commerce strategy because this is where big money lies!
Incorporate Personal Assistant Based Shopping
Siri and Alexa have come a long way from merely letting the users know about time and allowing them to set reminders. Nowadays, they are being used as personal shopping assistance, and that’s why you should focus on voice search as part of your e-commerce strategy as well. A study carried out in 2019 estimated that about 45% of its respondents are already relying on voice assistants to search and review products. The industry saw a 10X increase in 2020, rising to approximately $20 billion.
Payment Gateways – Trustworthy & New
We’re moving into a digital currency era, and new forms of payment are popping up. PayPal already has a service slated for launch in 2021 that will allow its users to keep virtual coins in online wallets. Some Bitcoin platforms allow their users to make purchases at different stores such as Walmart and Home Depot. Keeping this development in mind, it makes sense for your e-commerce store to incorporate new and trustworthy payment gateways. By allowing people different ways of paying, you’re facilitating them, thus bumping up your sales.
Create Helpful Product Descriptions
Regardless of what you’re selling, providing a good and helpful description is strongly recommended. Not only does it help your customers but it is also a good practice for optimizing your e-commerce stores for search engines. Your product descriptions must also feature the relevant keywords and should help your customers make an informed decision regarding purchasing a particular product or service.
Incorporate Reviews In Your E-Commerce Store
Reviews are what impart authenticity to your e-commerce store. That’s why it should be a part of your e-commerce strategy. You can rely on email or SMS marketing to prompt your customers to submit reviews. These reviews will help other visitors decide if they wish to use a particular product or service that you’re offering.
Create A Striking FAQ Page
An FAQ page can help you win your customers’ hearts and therefore play a crucial role in the success of any e-commerce strategy. As far as e-commerce trends in 2021 go, we strongly recommend that you spend some time creating a detailed and properly structured FAQ page for your customers. Customers prefer finding solutions to their problems on their own before they reach out to your customer service team. By creating a detailed FAQ page, you can help them solve their issues by providing them helpful information and reducing the load on your customer service team, thus ensuring better customer service.
Focus On Creating An Omnichannel Experience
Your customers are relying on different platforms to interact with your brand. Some of them might be interacting with your e-commerce website, some might be using your mobile application, and some might be relying on your social media channels to connect with your brand. A successful e-commerce strategy incorporates this fact into itself and is geared towards creating a consistent and delightful omnichannel experience for the customers. What does it mean? It means ensuring that regardless of the medium that the customers are using to get in touch with your brand, they get the same brand experience and customer service!
Bonus – 7 E-Commerce Stats
Check out the following 7 e-commerce states that depict how e-commerce has transformed in recent years:
- The number of regular online shoppers aged more than 55 has increased three times in 2020, as per Waitrose’s report.
- Digital advertising is predicted to rise to 51.3% of the entire US ad spending by 2021 (eMarketer).
- During COVID-19, the average items per order were increased by 60% (Contact Pigeon).
- A total of 44% of consumers tried new brands during the COVID-19 (Arlington Research).
- The gift stores experienced a 490% year-over-year growth in gross merchandise value in August 2019 (Wix).
- 40% of consumers placed orders via Facebook, 13% through Instagram, and 12% by using Pinterest (Avionos).
- Digital and mobile wallet payments made up 42% of online transaction volume despite only 29% of online merchants accepting mobile wallets (Statista).
The E-commerce industry is booming, and there’s a huge market to be captured. Although setting up an e-commerce store is easily doable, you must have a detailed e-commerce strategy that incorporates e-commerce innovations and caters to e-commerce product trends if you want your e-commerce store to grow and scale up!
Author Bio: Saaqib Ahmad Malik is an experienced content writer with over a decade of experience under his belt. He’s worked as the lead content writer for Wonderful Engineering and enjoys writing about various topics. Currently, he’s working with Vertex on two projects, namely, helpcenterapp.com and senderium.com. Apart from content writing, he is running his own IT company as well.