If 2020 was the year for online shopping, 2021 is likely to be the year where e-commerce truly takes off. Prior to 2020, online shopping and e-commerce were on the rise.
With the coronavirus pandemic forcing entire countries to stay at home with minimal outside contact, millions turned to the internet for all of their retail needs.
From here, the e-commerce sector was able to grow exponentially with companies like Shopify and Amazon taking center stage. To the uninitiated, e-commerce is defined as the buying and selling of goods and services along with the transfer of funds over the internet.
In an age where zero-contact and cashless transactions are especially important, online retailers were able to thrive despite being in uncharted waters.
Now as we enter in the first quarter of 2021, we take a look at 4 of the most interesting e-commerce trends in 2021.
1. Tighter competition
2020 proved to be a disastrous year for the global economy with experts calling saying that this could be the worst recession since World War II. Widespread lockdowns, massive political strife, and a badly damaged economy have forced businesses all over the world to close their doors for good.
Even with the development of a vaccine, we can expect unemployment rates to continually increase as the world struggles to recover from the damage wrought.
Because of this, many have turned to e-commerce as a means of supporting themselves. From providing home-cooked meals to setting up online stores, the COVID pandemic has awakened the entrepreneur in many of us.
As some will be able to earn a decent living from their online ventures, it is expected that an increasing number of people will turn to full-time entrepreneurship. All of which would naturally lead to rising competition as more online entrepreneurs take to the market.
2. The push for branding
Amazon and Shopify have successfully positioned themselves as major e-commerce players with distinct branding.
For example, Amazon is renowned for competitive prices, reliability, and top-quality order fulfillment. This coupled with Amazon’s constant push for improvement and innovation has made them the world’s top e-commerce company.
Thus, as mentioned in the previous point, increased competition in 2021 will place the impetus on e-entrepreneurs to better differentiate themselves. In a room with 12 different merchants selling the same items, there has to be something that allows one to stand out from the crowd.
3. Unique value propositions
In a hypercompetitive environment, consumers are constantly on the prowl for merchants who can provide them with the most unique value propositions.
A value proposition is basically the benefit that one gains from purchasing a product or service from a seller. This is why merchants have begun looking at other ways in which they can differentiate themselves from their competitors.
From cheaper prices to better quality or simply faster deliveries, there are dozens of ways in which a seller can offer a unique value proposition.
Offering a lower price is the most direct way of providing a unique value proposition. However, an enterprise without economies of scale will quickly find itself becoming outpriced by more efficient competitors.
Investing in a strong value proposition is critical if a business seeks to foster customer loyalty on the long-term.
4. Increased focus on the user experience
Ensuring consumer loyalty is vital if an enterprise is to survive on the long-term. This is why 2021 is likely to be the year where the user experience comes into play.
Shopping cart abandonment often occurs when potential buyers are prevented from completing their transactions. Whether its random site crashes, slow loading times, or a confusing menu, poor UX or UI are one of the main reasons behind shopping cart abandonment.
Offering a well-optimized interface with a smooth feel is a surefire way of ensuring a better customer experience. Doing so results in happier, more satisfied customers and a higher conversion rate.
If you use Shopify, make sure you download the Help Center App. It guides you through the process of building your e-commerce business and also has a FAQ builder to improve your user experience.
2021 is set to be another amazing year for e-commerce and online retailers. With the COVID pandemic far from over, it is likely that the market will see an increasing number of players trying their hand.