Ecommerce is developing quicker than Amazon can deliver, and that’s saying something. One minute we’re marvelling at being able to order from the family computer and the next minute we’re shouting at Alexa to re-order kitchen towel. The future of ecommerce is already here, and it’s still changing.
To help you prepare your business for the next step in the ecommerce story, here are nine trends to watch out for in 2021:
1. Premium private label brands
Over the past few years, direct to consumer (D2C) commerce has exploded – giving brands direct access to customers and profits, and giving customers direct access to brands and lower prices.
But this trend is shifting.
If you associate D2C with cheap razor blades, affordable mattresses and trending makeup, then prepare to have your mind changed.
Premium private label brand sales are increasing, creating a new vertical in the D2C sector. Customers are turning to luxury private label brands for superior products and better shopping experiences.
2. Offline ecommerce
Let’s take this blog offline for a minute. We all know that ecommerce is booming and rapidly catching up with traditional retail sales and depleting the high street.
However, there’s a growing trend for taking ecommerce stores offline. Pop-ups shops, interactive ecommerce kiosks, and bricks and mortar stores are all bringing our favourite online retailers onto the high street. Even Amazon is getting in on the action, with its chain of physical convenience stores.
In 2021, we will see an increase in ecommerce brands on the high street, occupying pop-up and multi-channel shops that bring the internet to real life.
3. Shoppable TV
We’ve all been there, watching the latest Netflix series and thinking “damn, that’s a nice shirt.” Well, soon enough you’ll be able to click, find and purchase that damn good shirt.
Late last year, NBC rolled out shoppable TV ads that connect programs to a mobile phone app, enabling viewers to purchase what’s on-screen. And it looks like this technology will soon be directly incorporated into smart televisions, giving a whole new worry to sitting on the remote.
Shoppable TV will finally connect viewing and shopping into a seamless experience that benefits both shoppers and retailers.
4. AI customer sourcing
Artificial intelligence is already used in ecommerce to make intelligent product recommendations, help customers visualise products better and assist you with customer queries. In 2021, AI is going to help find your customer for you too.
Intelligent algorithms will analyse current trends alongside your products, sales channels, customers and buyer behaviour to identify the best channels, time and price to list your products. This will save hours of number crunching, graph creating and report writing, and will help brands to accelerate sales and boost profits immediately.
ReCommerce, also known as second-hand commerce will see a renewed revival next year.
Recent research predicts the second-hand market to double within the next five years, but if you’re thinking we’ve already been there and done that with eBay and Gumtree, think again.
With consumers becoming increasingly motivated by sustainability, rather than price, second-hand sales of luxury items will shake up the reCommerce industry. This presents an interesting opportunity for brands to open up their own reCommerce marketplace and turn second-hand shopping into an exciting shopping experience.
6. P2P and rentals
It’s no secret that the ecommerce industry is grappling with a significant returns problem. Dishonest customers are using returns windows to dress up for their latest Instagram story or satisfy their need for fast fashion, while honest consumers are returning items out of conscious consumerism. Could rentals be the solution?
Following the significant growth in P2P (peer-to-peer) platforms, many retailers are looking to expanding into rental ecommerce next year. By offering consumers the opportunity to rent clothing, furniture or electronics, you can increase audience reach while reducing returns.
7. Advanced customisation
Have you been on the Nike website recently? You can now customise every aspect of your Nike Airs, even the wording on the back.
Product customisation isn’t new, but your ability to provide last-minute personalisation at an affordable cost is. 3D printing is changing manufacturing and fulfilment processes to enable quick customisations towards the end of the product journey.
Plus, with 3D printers becoming more affordable and available, it’s only a matter of time before customisation becomes the norm.
Of course, we couldn’t write a blog on the future trends of ecommerce without touching upon the emerging tech in ecommerce logistics.
2021 will see increased use of autonomous deliveries, smart sensors, blockchain tracking, and digital twinning to increase delivery speeds, efficiencies and cost savings.
We could write a whole blog on the emerging trends in ecommerce logistics, so we did. Check it out in our resources section.
9. Smart home assistants
Alexa and Google Home have been great for turning on the lights, telling you the weather and playing your favourite radio stations. But they’ve also been quietly taking over the ecommerce industry.
Around 20% of smart speaker owners use them for shopping-related activities, whether that’s ordering products, creating a reminder, conducting research or tracking deliveries. This figure is expected to jump to 52% within the next four years.
If you’re not currently optimising your ecommerce and fulfilment processes for voice search, get moving or get left behind.
How can you benefit?
If this year has told us anything, it’s to always prepare for the unexpected. Whether you agree that these ecommerce trends will take off in 2021, or you think they’ve got a few years left, preparing your sales, marketing and fulfilment strategies for tomorrow’s world of ecommerce will ensure your business isn’t left behind.