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E-commerce trends to anticipate in 2021

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by Startacus Admin


Joris Kroese, CEO and Founder of Hatch shares his thoughts and insights into the key technology trends to expect in the e-commerce sector in the year ahead

Joris picture HatchWhile the Covid-19 pandemic was pivotal for e-commerce, we’re only scratching the surface of the impact that it will have for businesses in the next decade, writes Joris Kroese, CEO and Founder of Hatch.

In 2020, we witnessed a major transformation within the e-commerce landscape as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic. As consumers turned to online shopping, well-prepared brands rode the wave, while the ill-prepared struggled to keep their heads above water during the pandemic-fuelled e-commerce boom. 

As 2021 unfolds, we will see more technology solutions implemented to help brands thrive, rather than just survive through the massive shift in consumer habits. Below, we have outlined the three key technology trends to expect in the e-commerce sector in the year ahead. 

Online Shopping

In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic taught us all how to get the most out of shopping online. At Hatch, we witnessed all age groups shopping online, including those who have never made an online purchase before. 

pexels-photo (7)According to eMarketer’s recent report on the state of e-commerce, there was a 12.2% increase in new buyers aged 65 and over within the online retail space. We expect this trend will continue well into the new year, as people continue to embrace the convenience of online shopping in the face of Covid-19 restrictions. 

For startups to take advantage of the growing e-commerce market, it is essential that two things are kept in mind:  

  • A strong focus on user experience (UX): Providing website visitors with a flawless user experience is a great way to increase conversion rates and gain more sales. Don’t torture customers by making the ‘buy’ button difficult to find. Instead, making it easy for them to navigate your website, provide detailed product information, and create a simple path to purchase. 

  • Keep customers engaged: Nurture customers with informative and entertaining marketing campaigns, to ensure that you remain at the forefront of their minds. At Hatch, we are big fans of Typeform quizzes, Instagram live videos hosted by influencers, celebrities, and the faces behind the brand. 

Social Commerce

On the topic of social media – we expect a significant shift in how people shop online in 2021. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook have already begun putting shopping at the forefront of their apps and this will continue as the year goes on. 

photo-1522204523234-8729aa6e3d5f Recent data from Instagram has revealed that 70% of shopping enthusiasts are now turning to the app for product discovery, while 87% say that social media influencers have inspired them to make a purchase. While this may not come as a huge surprise, there will definitely be interesting developments, as people become comfortable making in-app e-commerce purchases through social media platforms. Here’s how B2C and e-commerce startups can use that to their advantage: 

  • Get on social media (once and for all!): It’s rare to come across a company that’s not on social media, but it still happens. Most companies have profiles on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, but there are valuable audiences that can be tapped into on TikTok, Pinterest, and Twitter too. 

  • Have a well-considered social media strategy: It’s not enough to simply exist on social media. Each platform requires a unique approach to cater to the different mindsets that users on each platform have. For instance, Facebook is designed for keeping in contact with close friends, Pinterest is designed for inspiration, and TikTok is designed for entertainment. Each one of these audiences expects different content, tailored to their mood. 

  • Take advantage of e-commerce capabilities: While social media platforms are primarily communication channels, many of these platforms now allow users to shop and make purchases directly through their apps. 

 High Customer Expectations 

The final key trend that e-commerce companies, B2C start-ups, and omnichannel retailers need to prepare for in 2021 is the rising expectations of consumers. According to PwC, 73% of people now believe that customer experience is an important factor in each purchasing decision. Data from Google backs this up, stating that 86% of people believe that convenience is important to them. 

While the pandemic has contributed to the increased expectations from consumers, it has also made people happier to pay more in order to shop from local businesses. Red Egg Marketing recently found that 82% of shoppers would prefer to support a local business over a large corporation, with 8 in 10 adding that they’d spend more money if the proceeds went to a local store. 

How can businesses use this information to their advantage?

  • Focus on your customers: To drive home the earlier point of providing a seamless user experience, it’s worth noting that the easier it is to buy products, the more likely customers will be to actually make a purchase. In turn, they’ll be more likely to talk about you to friends and family. 

  • Embrace omnichannel: Don’t forget about your offline channels. Merging sales channels and offering an omnichannel experience is vital for times when businesses can welcome customers back to their stores throughout the pandemic.

While e-commerce reached new heights in 2020, we expect it to grow even further in the year ahead. While this ushers in a new era of online shopping for consumers, it also makes 2021 the perfect time for businesses to expand and grow their market share. 

Joris Kroese is the CEO and Founder of Hatch, an Amsterdam-based global omnichannel commerce solutions provider that aims to revolutionize the e-commerce landscape.

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Published on: 1st February 2021

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