Predictions 2021: Ecommerce

2020 has in many ways been a globally changing year, and as the year is coming to an end, it is time to reflect and predict future ecommerce trends.
Written by Rebekka Rich Topholm on 17.12.2020, 15:00
Predictions 2021: Ecommerce

A word that has been on everybody's lips – for a couple of years now - is experience. The year 2020 has been all about delivering the best possible experience, whether we talk customer, commerce or product experience, and it will continue to be a trend going into 2021. But, why is this topic (still) on the agenda? Because there is a lot of room to improve. 

As we are about to enter a new year, we have listed five ecommerce predictions for 2021 that we believe will drive your ecommerce business forward and improve your ecommerce success.

Also don’t miss our other Predictions 2021:

Predictions 2021: Digital Marketing

Predictions 2021: Product Information Management

Predictions 2021: Content Management


Predictions 2021: Ecommerce 

The changing economy calls for keeping up with emerging ecommerce trends to cut through the noise, get noticed, and attract customers. Here are our suggestions for ecommerce trends you need to pay attention to in 2021.
 

Ecommerce Prediction 1: Digital transformation

Looking back at 2020, digital transformation is indisputable for businesses to survive and stay competitive in the future. According to McKinsey & Co. B2B digital leaders drive 5x more revenue than their non-digital peers and their 2020 research answered why that is: more than 75% of B2B buyers and sellers say that they prefer purchasing online and prefer remote interactions with sales reps.  

The buyer-behavior, both B2B and B2C, is naturally moving towards the digital experience because of the new generations starting to enter the labor market. And with that new expectations, needs and behavior occur. But, the COVID-19 made that change lightning fast within months! Hence, a lot of companies started to look for turnkey solutions that enabled them to sell their services or products online in a matter of days. 

It is no longer the question of if you should put your business online but when. If you are not online, you might be missing out. Luckily, it is better to be late than never. There are plenty of possibilities to get your commerce online in a fast and reliable way with turnkey solutions

In 2021, we will continue to see companies take their business fully digital, and no doubt that 2021 will be a profitable year for digitally native merchants.
 

Ecommerce Prediction 2: Niche online marketplaces get more popular

Every business looks for opportunities to generate more revenue. Selling via online marketplaces is a no-brainer. 

Now, you are probably thinking of the most well-known marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, Etsy, etc. However, these are far from your only options. In fact, there are over 100 online marketplaces to benefit from. And the focus for 2021 will be niche online marketplaces across industries and sectors. 

Forrester predicts the full (re)emergence of niche B2B marketplaces. These niche online marketplaces will continue to appeal to B2B sellers and customers in 2021.

Whether you are getting ready to launch a new ecommerce business or have been selling online for years, online marketplaces should be a central part of your strategy for 2021 and beyond. 
 

Ecommerce Prediction 3: Personalized Ecommerce 

Even though people tend to shop online more and more, expectations of the shopping experience are rising. Creating a website and selling your products online is not enough. Cash will not just flow in once you launch your new webshop. The competition is getting steeper and online shopping behaviors are changing faster than ever before.

Customers spend 48% more when their shopping experience is personalized. To deliver a personalized experience and present relevant offers to your customers, it is important to gather as much information about your customers as possible. Luckily, 57% of online shoppers are comfortable with sharing their personal information with a brand if it benefits their shopping experience. 

How do you gather the right data? There are various ways to collect (more) data about your customers. For instance, if you are not already taking on a D2C approach, you could consider it. Gamification is another strategy, where you can run a competition that entails your customers to provide more info about themselves. Or, you could simply offer your customers a discount if they complete a short survey.
 

Ecommerce Prediction 4: Social Ecommerce

Buckle up for social commerce or lag in the competition. It is that simple. Today's consumers have sky-high expectations for the commerce experience. They want an integrated experience on social media and only having to use one site to buy your item. 30% of surveyed online buyers claim they will purchase directly on social media. 

Besides leveraging the traditional social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, you can even attract more customers and sell products through various other sites. Did you know that around 47% of people on Pinterest are searching for a product? With Facebook and Instagram, the figure drops to just 15% and 11% respectively. 

Social commerce is selling products directly through social media. It differs from social media marketing because you are not redirecting users to an online shop but giving them the ability to checkout directly within the network they’re using at that moment.
 

Ecommerce Prediction 5: Voice Commerce

Isn’t this a 2020 trend, you might wonder? And yes, to some extent. However, some trends, such as AR and VR and voice commerce, were among those that need more time to be fully adopted compared to what everyone was expecting in 2020. Gartner predicted that over 50% of medium to large enterprises would have chatbots by 2020. This is no surprise, as chatbot technology — which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to mimic human conversations — is beginning to mature and offer more sophisticated solutions. Today, chatbots have become a central and inescapable tool for effective conversational marketing, especially in the B2B market. 

In 2017, 13% of all households in the US owned a smart speaker. In 2021, 55% of households in the US are expected to own a smart speaker. In 2020, 43% of smart speaker owners use their devices to order products online. Voice Commerce will provide your businesses with another channel to connect with shoppers and integrate their shopping experience with everyday life and boost the sales opportunity.

Optimize your website for voice search and try to incorporate more of the natural language that your customers use. When voice searching often more questions are asked compared to online searching. Therefore, you may also add a Frequently Asked Questions page to your website and list all the possible questions with answers to meet the expectations and needs of your customers.
 

Conclusion

The acceleration of the ecommerce growth tends to keep its speed going into the year 2021. Statista shows that the average growth is continuing at an average rate of 15% Year-Over-Year. 

There is a lot of research and statements on what makes the winning difference. The market consensus seems to be that ‘Experience’ is the big differentiator. Oh, and then, of course, the digital transformation. If you are in the position to go digital, you might not want to wait too long and miss out. 


Bonus: How do others foresee the future of ecommerce? 🔮

The above predictions are based on our assumptions. To broaden the perspectives, we've asked six of our partners across the world to share their predictions on the future of ecommerce. You can watch the livestream on-demand or listen to it as a podcast.