E-commerce has been a dominant platform when it comes to consumer choice for years now. Yet, as shops were forced to close as a result of the pandemic, it has become even more prolific in the last year. When it comes to buying habits, there has been a strong shift towards e-commerce which is likely to stick. So, here are a few of the trends that are likely to have a significant influence in 2021.
Transformed Consumer Behaviours
As mentioned in the introduction, Covid-19 has encouraged consumers to make the shift to online shopping. Whilst younger generations are already accustomed to e-commerce, older generations have had no choice but to adapt in order to continue with their non-essential shopping. In doing so, it is likely that many older consumers realised the benefits, such as avoiding busy shopping centres, accessing sales, easily comparing prices between websites and accessing brands or shops that they could not reach otherwise.
E-commerce has become an aging marketplace that companies must adapt to. For example, offering clear ‘how-to’ guides on some of the basics that other users take for granted, or thinking more carefully about the needs of older consumers in order to take advantage of this new online audience. The potential for growth online is at an all-time high as a result of the pandemic, so make sure that as a business, you take advantage and properly take into account all age brackets.
Second Hand Shopping
Another dominant trend that has continued to grow year on year is consumer demand for ethical products. People are becoming more aware that their consumer choices have the ability to influence either positive or negative change when it comes to the environment and also the welfare of people all around the world. Hence, there is a focus on buying ethically and sustainably.
One area that is particularly successful is second-hand shopping, since not only is waste reduced as products that would have gone to landfill have the chance of a second life, but it also massively reduces the CO2 emissions that would have been produced making new products. Recycling clothes or other products is both economically and environmentally friendly.
Online businesses will need to highlight what they are doing to reduce their emissions, how they are helping the environment and the ways in which they are participating in fair trade. Also, a focus on implementing some kind of second-hand or recycling initiative could draw in eco-friendly shoppers. In such a competitive online marketplace, being ethical could be that unique selling point that sets you apart from another business.
Focus on Retention and Qualified Users
As e-commerce becomes increasingly popular and competitive, there has also been an increase in certain costs. Bidding for ads becomes more expensive as more companies compete and the demand for the best website developers in the business also increases cost. So, when companies are paying more than ever before to get customers onto their website, they want to make sure that they stay and buy something.
This increase in cost has resulted in a focus on customer retention and drawing in qualified users. A qualified user is someone who has shown interest in your product in some way and so is likely to become a customer. Say someone searches for ‘portrait photographer London’, it is likely they will be looking for a general photographer based in London. So, if you are an animal portrait photographer in London, optimising your website to draw in consumers looking for a ‘portrait photographer London’ is unlikely to bring you qualified users since they will reach your website but will not purchase anything when they realise you are not offering the service they are looking for. The important focus here is on bringing qualified users to your website. This might reduce your traffic but result in your sales going up.
The significant shift in consumer behaviour made 2020 a huge year for e-commerce. So, in order to succeed in 2021, online businesses will need to adapt to both cultural changes, for example a focus on sustainability and ethical shopping, whilst also keeping up with the competition by understanding exactly what their customers are looking for and targeting them. 2021 is set to be an exciting year for the world of e-commerce.