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Top eCommerce Trends for 2021

video tutorials Dec 08, 2020

Last year I made a video talking about my predictions for eCommerce in 2020 and while I did get some things right no one could have anticipated a year like 2020.

So in this video I wanted to take my 10 years of business experience in the eCommerce industry and try my hand again at predicting some of the top trends and the future of eCommerce for 2021.

 


 

View the Full Video Transcript Below

So it’s that time of year again and we are almost through 2020… thank goodness!

Last year I made a video talking about my predictions for eCommerce in 2020 and while I did get some things right no one could have anticipated a year like 2020.

I mean come on Covid changed everything for so many people and businesses and some of it was good and some of it was obviously not.

I think some of the biggest changes for eCommerce this past year deals with consumer buying habits and some of these changes are here to stay for years to come.

So in this video I wanted to take my 10 years of business experience in the eCommerce industry and try my hand again at predicting some of the top trends and the future of eCommerce for 2021. Let’s get started!

Ok quick disclaimer that a lot of the buying habits for 2021 still hinges on the virus and it’s containment. More government lockdowns could mean more consumers buying online but it can also mean they have trouble keeping employment and have less money to spend. While a fast vaccine deployment could mean consumers feel more comfortable shopping in-person again and online shopping decreases.

There are still so many unknowns and a lot will depend on individual countries and how they are handling everything.

So that being said I want to go over 8 trends that I’m seeing for 2021, in no particular order, and these are broader trends I see happening for all eCommerce stores.

Trend #1- Sustainability

My first trend is sustainably focused businesses and this actually relates to a few different aspects.

Consumers are becoming much more aware of how products are being sourced and made and the impact on the planet. Yes there is still “fast fashion” businesses out there with cheap goods but there is a definite rise in searches for sustainability related themes as well as influencers and brands that have this as part of their core mission.

So what could sustainability mean for your business? Well this comes down to three P’s: Products, Packaging and Purpose.

For products, this would be that your product itself is focused on sustainable material sourcing and ingredients.

Packaging would be focus on making your packaging of either your products or their shipping materials eco-friendly. Also you could make a switch to not sending a printed receipt and packing slip but sending it via email to the customer instead.

Finally for the last P it is purpose, this would be making your business mission as a whole more sustainably purpose driven. So you could guarantee paying your workers a living wage, giving back proceeds from every sale to a charity you believe in, or changing your processes for a greater cause.

A recent example of this is Amazon committing to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040 across all of their services.

So as you can see there are a lot of ways you can incorporate sustainability into your business and especially millennial consumers are really looking at buying from more brands that are focused on it.

Trend #2- Customer Experience

Let’s face it Amazon has made a majority of consumers just come to expect two day shipping times and a good way to piss off customers and get a lot of customer support emails is to have long shipping times.

This has been one of the biggest drawbacks for dropshipping businesses with customers sometimes waiting 2-6 weeks for their products to be delivered.

Faster shipping times as well as response times are quickly becoming a standard demand for online consumers and really play into the customer experience overall.

If your product does have longer shipping times that you can’t improve upon then you need to make sure that is conveyed on the product page and is very clear to the customer.

Plus make sure you have automated emails set up the whole time to keep the customer up to date so they don’t feel like you took their money and disappeared on them.

Your customer’s experience is KEY to getting them as a repeat customer and having them share your brand and products with their friends.

So think about ways you can make them feel remembered and special. Examples of this are: more frequent emails about their order, better packaging so they feel like they are getting a present in the mail, or a handwritten thank you note inside the package.

Remember there is a lot of online competition now so if you can deliver a memorable buying experience for them then they are more likely to remember your brand and turn into a raving fan.

Trend #3- Customization

So this was a trend I predicted for 2020 and it isn’t going anywhere. In fact more consumers are expecting it now and specifically searching for it.

Let’s face it people love themselves and they want to hear their name called, see their picture, choose their favorite colors and so on.

Honestly it only makes sense to include personalization on your products because then the customer has more attachment to it and you can typically charge a higher price which helps your profit margin.

There are so many examples of this currently like hair products and supplements that have your name featured on them.

Custom tshirts and socks with your face on them or your pet.

Plus even big brands like Nike are getting in on this trend and letting you completely customize your own shoe.

Personalization is great for gift giving as well as buying for yourself so this trend is definitely here to stay.

You can easily create customizable products for your eCommerce store by creating Print on Demand products and working with a supplier and Shopify app like Printful or Printify. You can add in customize fields on your product page that the customer can use to change colors, add in a name or upload a photo.

Then once the order comes through you or a designer can edit your product template and send it off to your chosen print on demand supplier who will then print it and ship it out for you. It’s an easy process and best of all you don’t have to have any inventory on hand since it is only created and fulfilled once the order is placed.

I have a brand new series coming out soon showing all the behind-the-scenes steps on how to create a Print on Demand store step-by-step in Shopify so make sure you subscribe and hit the bell notification so you don’t miss out when this goes live.

Trend #4- Voice Search

Voice based shopping through Alexa, Google Home and other voice activated personal assistants is projected to reach $40 billion by 2022.

So this means you need to get your site ready now for better accessibility and search capabilities by voice.

How do you do this? Well first off you need to think about how your customers will be using this functionality.

When we type a search into Google we are normally very brief using 2-3 words so something like “Mexican Restaurant Nashville”.

However when we use a voice assistant we tend to be more natural and ask as more of a question like “What are the Best Mexican Restaurants Near Me”.

With that in mind you need to write your content to be more longer form like that and answer specific questions that your customer would be searching. A great place to do this is on your FAQs page where you could write the question exactly like how your customer would be asking it and then provide an answer.

You could also write blog posts for the most asked questions and this will help with your search engine ranking as well as your likelihood to appear in voice search listings.

So I recommend doing some research on what are the top search queries for your product as well as looking at the top questions customers ask you by email or social media and start creating content to answer those questions.

Ok we are now halfway through the trends for 2021 so stay with me because we have got 4 more left! If you are getting value from this video though don’t forget to hit that like button below and subscribe because it really helps my channel out.

Ok coffee break over and let’s get back to the video and our last 4 trends.

Trend #5- Payment Plans

Trend #5 is to offer financing to your customers for their order. I have covered this before on this channel with one of my favorite apps for this which is QuadPay.

By adding in QuadPay or other apps like this to your store you are able to divide up the customer’s order into smaller monthly payments. But the best part is that you still get paid all up-front and it is the customer who pays QuadPay the monthly payments.

I personally use this all the time for both my business and my personal purchases like buying a really nice new gaming PC as well as a new mattress.

It helps break up big purchases for customers but it can also be used for any purchase over $35 so it really is a great option to add into your site.

If you want to learn more about QuadPay and how to set this up for your online store I will put a link in the info cards above and the description below to our previous tutorial video on it (https://youtu.be/ccwsLGgAmKk).

Trend #6- Better Imagery

With Covid lockdowns so many consumers had to switch to purchasing things online that maybe they weren’t used to purchasing before.

This is where we really saw an increase in brands focusing on high quality images for their website and social media.

Let’s face it… if you have crappy images for your products then potential customers will be less likely to trust you because they won’t see you as reputable.

Design Matters!

So you really need to focus on making your website and social media profiles have the best looking images possible to reassure your customers that you aren’t a scam.

A great way to do this is to order samples of your product and take photos yourself at home either as flat lays on a stylized background or modeling them yourself.

I also love using PlaceIt to put my design on their library of high quality photos and you can also use Canva.com which is a free online design tool to add in text and other effects to your photos for social media.

You can also purchase tabletop lighting kits that let you take 360 degree videos of your products which is a really cool function to have on your site to increase customer confidence. For this I recommend Orange Monkie and they make it really easy to take great product photos and videos with their different equipment.

Overall though you need to focus on good quality design and images for your website to make it an all around better experience for potential customers.

Trend #7- Better Returns

As people start buying more online there is inevitably going to be more an increase in returns especially if they are used to touching the product or trying it on like fashion items.

This can be a huge cost, as well as a customer support drain for your business so you need to try and minimize this as much as possible but still provide a good experience for customers.

One way of minimizing returns is by making sure they have all the info they need before they even buy. So this means having product information and sizing really highlighted on your product page.

You can also feature photos of someone holding your product to show scale or showcase multiple different models and their sizes like Fabletics does to show how the product looks on different body types.

You will still get returns though so you want to make sure the process is fast and easy for them plus it is as automated as possible so it doesn’t take a lot of customer support to manage.

For an automated returns process I like the Shopify app Return Magic which lets you create your own branded returns portal, offer multiple refund options and auto-generate return labels. It saves a lot of time and makes it a really easy and pleasant experience for your customers too.

Remember your customer’s experience with your brand matters especially if you are looking for repeat purchases or want them to share your brand with their friends.

Trend #8- Mobile Shopping

And finally our last trend in this roundup is an increase in mobile shopping.

I’m sure you already knew that more consumers were browsing websites on their phones however a lot of times the most purchases on websites come from desktop computers and not mobile devices.

Why is that? Well a lot of times it is because a website isn’t probably optimized for mobile devices and is hard to navigate or it just doesn’t look good on mobile and they don’t have the confidence to buy from you.

With a huge increase in unemployment and people working from home in 2020 because of the pandemic there was a sharp increase in time people spent on their mobile devices.

So they simply got more comfortable viewing websites from their phone and also ordering from these websites on their phone as well.

By the end of 2021, mobile devices are expected to make almost 73% of total ecommerce sales which is crazy! However, 30% of online shoppers are likely to abandon their carts in the middle of shopping if they find out that your website is not mobile-friendly.

So make sure you are ready and that your store is optimized for mobile devices. Even if you purchased a high-end template for your store or hired a designer it can still not look right on mobile because of the images you choose or if your images are really large and take forever to load.

First off make sure you are viewing your website on your own mobile device to notice any issues that need to be fixed and I recommend going through the buying process on your phone and actually timing how long it takes for you to place an order.

Attention spans are shorter on mobile devices so speed is important!

You can also use Google’s free mobile-friendly test tool and enter your url to see what improvements it recommends you make on your site to make it more optimized for mobile devices.

Especially with more people shopping from social media which is primarily done on phones you need to make sure your potential customers have a great experience on your store no matter what device they are using to view it.

Ok so I know that was a lot of different things we covered in this video with a total of 8 trends that I see for 2021 but now I want to hear from you!

Comment below and let me know if you think I left out any trend that you see coming for the new year and also which trend you are the most excited about for 2021.

Thanks so much for watching and I will see you in the next video!

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