E-commerce is a game changer in retail. While the industry was already on an upward growth trajectory, the growth enhanced due to unprecedented consumer demand during the pandemic.
According to Statista, online shopping is one of the most popular online activities across the world. Further, e-retail sales are expected to grow to $6.54 billion by 2023 from $3.53 trillion in 2019.
With technological advancements, online shopping has become increasingly consumer-centric. The brands are consistently making changes to their marketing programmes to make them even more targeted, personalised, digital and precise.
From leveraging new opportunities in niches previously untapped by entrepreneurs to increased overall sales, e-commerce in coming years would continue to grow, become better and more consumer centric.
Let's explore key e-commerce trends that are set to define the marketplace in 2021 and beyond.
Increasing Adoption of Omnichannel Approach
Consumer buying preferences are evolving rapidly and today's consumer wants something beyond consumer satisfaction - not just a perfect product that suits his needs, but also a seamless buying experience. This has led to e-retailers adopting a broader approach which includes convenience, wider product availability and experience. Further, brands are focusing on omnichannel presence to ensure seamless as well as personally compelling shopping experience for each individual at every touchpoint through data-driven insights.
Deloitte State of the Consumer Tracker also revealed that 73 percent of Indian respondents are willing to spend more money on convenience. As convenience and experience become the key growth drivers of e-commerce, brands are ramping up efforts and moving to customer-centric business models rather than sticking to channel-centric ones. This in turn is enhancing customer satisfaction, acquisition and retention.
AI and AR to Enhance Shopping Experience
According to a report by Markets and Markets, the augmented reality in the retail market is expected to grow from $411.3 million in 2017 to $7,951.2 million in 2023. From premium brands to small ones, everyone is exploring ways to enhance the shopping experience and make it more engaging. These advanced technologies are being tapped on for providing personalised recommendations and guidance to customers, virtual try-on features and in-store navigation. Nike’s AR app ‘Nike Fit’ is a great example of how savvy retailers are integrating AR-enabled applications into their businesses. This app allows customers to get recommendations for best-choice shoes according to the feet measurement.
Headless Commerce: An Evolving Trend in Online Sales
Headless commerce provisions the decoupling of the presentation layer or front-end of a website from its functionality or back-end. This facilitates developers to utilise the front-end technology of their choice to deliver a good content experience and plug-in an e-commerce solution on the back-end to manage the functionality. For experience-focused brands like DTC brands, lifestyle products, and brands relying heavily on influencer advertising, experience-led strategy like headless commerce is a blessing in disguise. It not only helps brands create a seamless and personalized buying experience but also lets them create a unique brand identity by customising their checkout, themes, and other functionalities.
Digital Advertising Competition
While e-commerce has expanded due to the pandemic, so has the competition. Brands that can lead innovation for advertising and marketing content will reap higher rewards. Additionally, digital advertising content continues to play a significant role in driving sales for a brand and companies will continue to make progressively larger investments in this category. In 2021, e-commerce will witness an increased ‘arms race’ for digital content.
In 2021, e-commerce brands will up their game in how they interact with customers. Owing to evolving market conditions, marketers will get more sophisticated i.e. unify their communications with customers across channels and the customer journey. Further, brands will continue leveraging technologies for website and app optimization, customer experience, personalised services, customer relationship management, warehousing management etc.