In 2020, a pandemic shook up a lot of people’s lives in many ways, and it also had an impact on many facets of business across nearly every industry. With so many people forced to stay home more often, they turned to eCommerce, which has only flourished even more as a result of the “new normal.” The eCommerce industry is going to be increasingly integral long after daily life returns to a more familiar state, so it’s important to know what to anticipate moving forward if you want to use eCommerce to your advantage.
The following are some of the top eCommerce trends that you’ll see in 2021 and the years ahead as they continue to develop.
1. People Will Be Shopping from Mobile Devices More Than Ever
Consumers love convenience, and smartphones and other mobile devices provide it in spades. As a growing number of shoppers make purchases on mobile devices, you should make sure your online store and shopping experience are mobile-ready. If you’re not catering to mobile users, they will be more likely to fall out of the sales funnel before they even come close to making a purchase.
To prepare your websites and eCommerce platforms for mobile devices, you can develop accelerated mobile pages (AMP) that are specifically intended for mobile browsers. You should also consider creating progressive web apps (PWAs) that allow for faster loading times than websites and enable users to browse pages without an internet connection.
Before launching the mobile site, be sure to test it on a range of devices and see for yourself whether anything could benefit from additional optimization.
2. Voice Search Will Be Crucial for Getting in Front of Consumers
While many people are shopping more on mobile devices than computers, a growing number of people are bypassing both when performing searches on Google and other search engines. Instead, consumers are using voice assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home to do everything from look up a new concept to online shopping.
The increased reliance on voice search among millions of people is making it necessary to optimize your eCommerce platforms for voice search. If you’re used to implementing search engine optimization (SEO) for text search queries on Google and other search engines, you’ll need to make sure you’re also writing content for voice queries, including questions and answers that people are likely to ask their smart speakers. In many cases, people will use different phrasing when performing voice searches, but you can satisfy both if you know how to differentiate between them.
You can also optimize your website for voice search by enabling voice navigation on your eCommerce platform and apps. A combination of voice-optimized SEO and navigation will equip your website for all voice assistant users, who are likely to account for a large portion of your audience.
3. AI Will Allow for Even Better Product Recommendations and User Experience
Artificial intelligence (AI) keeps getting more and more efficient, and it’s become an invaluable asset for eCommerce processes. You can use AI in a number of ways, from sending automated personalized emails to prospects and leads to pushing personal product recommendations to past customers based on their purchase history.
AI is also getting better at gathering and interpreting data to give marketers more actionable insights into buyer and user behavior. Integrating AI can help you hone your eCom strategies to more effectively connect with your audiences based on the way they’re engaging with your business. For instance, you might find that at some point along the buyer’s journey people are dropping off, in which case you can use AI to get those people back on track with automated tailored messaging in emails.
4. People Will Continue to Prefer Visual Engagement
People enjoy images and video over massive amounts of text and extensive product descriptions. Shoppers want to see what they’re going to get without any guesswork as to how the product will look and function.
Using visuals, you can showcase your products and encourage people to buy them with enticing images that show them in a real-world environment. If you’re selling a type of floor lamp, for example, don’t include plain images with a white background; instead, show the lamp sitting in the corner of a living room surrounded by a space that feels lived in, with furniture and decor.
Make sure all images you use are of consistently high quality, but be sure to use JPEG and other image files that help reduce loading times for pages with many images. For certain products, you can also immerse your audiences with the use of virtual reality to put people in a virtual space, or use augmented reality (AR) apps to enable people to project 3D models of your products in a physical space.
User-generated content is another great way to get your audiences involved in content creation. You can then generate more high-quality images of products in real-world settings without the need for more work on your end.
5. Multichannel Shopping Will Be Vital
Multichannel or omnichannel shopping will be vital to an efficient and user-friendly online retail experience. Regardless of where and how people interact with your business, you should offer a cohesive and efficient experience that keeps them moving along from touchpoint to touchpoint.
Multichannel shopping applies to channels like voice search and social media, along with mobile devices and other platforms. In an effort to make sure that every point of interaction is conducive to a pleasant eCom experience, check to make sure your websites are optimized for mobile devices and voice search, give people plenty of buying options such as delivery or pick-up, provide personalized experiences using AI and automation, and offer plenty of support with chatbots and other customer service channels.
The easier it is for people to move along the buyer’s journey from prospect to customer, the more sales you’re likely to drive.
As you plan and execute your eCommerce strategies throughout 2021, keep these trends in mind. If you can create the most ideal user experience and connect with your audiences at every touchpoint, you’ll be able to increase sales and keep past customers returning.
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