Business · February 11, 2020

Top 5-Trends Transforming E-Commerce and Online Retail in 2021

Businesses are looking for new ways to solve the eternal mystery called a customer. They are trying to devise new ways to forge connections with them and to make their brands click.  What’s the secret of standing out in the crowd of ‘me-too’ strategies? What are the trends that the brands ar6e missing out on? As we usher in 2020, it is time to find out what they can do to strike a connection with untapped markets and be more customer-centric!

So, don’t wait and scroll down for the lowdown of 5-top trends of online retail and e-commerce for the year 2020!

Amazon Prime spoilt its customers with same-day delivery. As if it weren’t enough, the launch of Amazon Prime Air has started to deliver the packages in thirty minutes or even less! No wonder, the 30-minutes-or-free generation isn’t willing to wait anymore or even for a week to get their products delivered. This recent shift in logistics has prompted customers to expect faster delivery and enhance the convenience of online stores with the immediacy of offline stores. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that eighty-eight per cent of customers are willing to compensate for faster delivery and shipping. Because it is the only hurdle that stops the online users from buying online especially when time is of the essence.

Same Day Delivery ruled the chart as the e-commerce trend in 2018 and is going to come out in full swing in 2020 with small retail stores leveraging this opportunity to boost their business and strengthen their relationship with customers. According to an Internet Retailer Report for more than nineteen per cent of users, Same Day Delivery and immediate product access is an important criterion.

Often customers abandon their shopping carts when there is an unexpected delay in delivery timings and also cancel their product midst shipping for delayed delivery.  However, small startups, mom-and-pop shops and retail customers are going to face a tough competition while keeping up with the unrealistic expectations of immediate delivery and resultant expenses.

Sustainable Fashion

While consumers these days prefer fast delivery, they are no longer identifying with fast fashion. Green consumerism is the buzzword and the biggest catchphrase. The millennial wants to stay on top of fashion without impacting the environment with their purchase decisions. The new-age brands support recycling and practice pre and post-eco-friendly habits. Be it free-range meat, skincare range or organic cotton basics, people prefer responsible brands. On social media as well, customers have been calling out e-commerce giants like Amazon for using too much plastic for packaging and outing brands for their non-greener practices.

Fashion alone contributes to more than eight per cent of greenhouse gases, and if continues to have its way, it will be responsible for more than twenty-five per cent of the global carbon budget across the world by 2050. While fashion waste can go up to 148 million tons by 2030, the ethical fashion and clothing market is gradually expanding its steps and is expected to increase by twenty per cent.

It takes more than 7,000 litres of water to process a pair of jeans. One kilogram cotton takes up to 20,000 litres of water to produce.

…And if the environmental impact of fast fashion wasn’t detrimental enough, seventy-seven per cent of clothing retailers in the UK believed that there could be a likelihood of modern slavery at some stage of supply chains.

If e-commerce businesses, small or big and retail companies want to strike a chord with customers, they have to take the environment seriously and be a responsible brand. While we have a long way to switch to regenerative and renewable closed-loop model, but waking up to the fact that the plastic, footwear or the cosmetics we once used aren’t ending up in an ocean or a landfill, is incredibly satisfying.

See it? Search it!

Often customers shop with set goals in mind. They want a particular handbag, the dress their colleague has or the wardrobe they saw somewhere on an Instagram feed – the visual search enables the spot-on and shop its mindset. Visual search is used by Amazon and several fashion stores to search for similar recommendations and to offer more personal and intimate shopping experience to their users. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the next trend to watch out for retail and e-commerce industry in 2020 is the Product Recognition AI, which makes visual search possible. Fashion retailers and startups want to improve their customers’ journey and make it incredibly simple. The visual search makes it possible. With it, customers don’t have to scroll through the endless stream of products, care for the brand or style –upload the image and let the magic unroll!

Thanks to visual search AI, the circuitous purchase cycle becomes a lot simpler. As only one in three Google searches lead to a click, the product recognition AI makes life easier for the startups that can at focus their attention to the customers with a target in mind and are not mindlessly browsing. It is more personalised and more powerful.

Just so that you know that visual search isn’t new, countless applications are using it to facilitate customers. We all are aware of Google Lens on Google Shopping that pulls similar products. Macy’s utilises visual search to blur the line between seeing and buying. Customers can upload an image and find similar products on the store. Designers are using it to search for stock images. Synthetic Style Intelligence Agent-SIA also uses AI to find the right accessories to complete their look, doubling up as a virtual shopping assistant.

The Power of Influence

Hype beast found out that influencers are losing their charm on commoners. Some of them are being ousted and called out for scamming (Fyre Festival, remember?) whereas some of them could sell only thirty-six t-shirts despite having over two million followers! Let’s accept it. Our Instagram feeds and lives are oversaturated with inspirational quotes, ad videos of brands with some bit of story in them and them always leading on colourful lives, which we clearly can’t afford. They are selling everything, from vitamins to lifestyle and they are everywhere, be it Instagram, YouTube or TikTok.  Researcher and Strategist Alexandra Samuel discovered three groups of social media

  • Enthusiasts (Users posting more than five times a week)
  • Lurkers (A whopping fifty-two per cent of users posting once a week or even less)
  • Dabblers (Users who post two to four times a week)

Lurkers are the hibernating cell of the social media that don’t care much about influencers or their friends.  The same goes for dabblers that don’t get “influenced” or draw a conclusion from their friends and family’s purchases. The influencers don’t seem to turn this category on as they make their decision independently.

Does it mean the influencer culture peaked? Do companies need to quit influencer marketing?

Certainly not!

Influencer marketing needs to be adopted brilliantly and smartly.  In 2020, businesses would need to understand their customers and broaden their mind towards social media so that the ‘lurkers’ somehow could be included and influenced. The influencers need to work on their CTA to not to look like a complete sell-out and instead work towards ‘nudging’ the customers to make a well thought out decision.

In this year, businesses would like to pay attention to not only the big reach but also their content that can unlock the opportunities for you.  Apart from it, social shopping is going to rule the roost. According to a North American e-Commerce agency Absolute,

  • More than eighty per cent of e-commerce shoppers accept that they rely on social media for a shopping decision.
  • Thirty per cent of customers purchase directly through social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
  • More than 40 per cent of businesses are utilising social media to gain traction, generate leads and sales.
  • One-in-four businesses are selling through Facebook alone.

One of the interrelated trends in 2020 will be the dominance of mobile sites. Social media sites and e-commerce sites are mainly mobile now. Brands are cashing in on ‘instagrammability’ and creating visually-driven customer-driven content.

If used intelligently, influencer marketing can be used to harness trusted voices and help customers make an informed decision. Aimed to become a more than $10 billion industry by the end of 2020, the influencer marketing, mobile website and social shopping are going to prove its dominance.

The brands, however, are putting their relationships with influencers under scrutiny. The rise of fake influencers and ‘likes’ no longer being considered as the potential engagement metric, the brands want to leverage nano-influencers, people who have a tightly-knit community as followers.

The other thing to watch out in social space as a booming trend in 2020 is Instagram and Facebook stories that have an engagement of 500 million daily users. Similarly, Instagram trends, polls, interactive stories are also a brilliant way to catch attention and continue to be so.  Meanwhile, this New Year also rolls in Instagram business feature, Growth Insights and “Stories about You” to help a business to strengthen their foothold in their domain.

This feature will be incomplete without the mention of TikTok –the most installed app of year 2019! Once rejected and ridiculed as childish and ‘royal waste of time’, this app now has more than 800 million active users now. The users are spending more than 46 minute every day on the app, which is important because the videos on this app are only 15-seconds long! And businesses are using this app to reach out to the user base of this platform, which typically consists of 16-24 years old. However, the app’s sixty per cent of users are based in China and this is where it loses its steam. In order to maintain the dominance of its digital footprint, the app needs to wade through the Chinese territory.

Voice-based search SEO 

You have optimised your website content for SERPs.  But it is time to embrace and adopt this new trend in the New Year!  The voice search is on the tremendous rise and there were more than one billion voice searches monthly by January 2018 alone. It is estimated that by 2020 more than thirty per cent of website browsing will be conducted with voice, without needing a screen! Similarly, an astonishing sixty-two per cent of individuals have admitted buying products using the voice search capabilities of their smart speakers.

A study discovered that the voice search e-commerce brought in over $1.8 billion in Amazon revenue, which is expected to go up to $40 billion by the year 2022.

The voice-only search allows the users to search through the internet with the voice. One doesn’t need a physical keyboard or have to scroll through several websites on their desktops, mobile devices and tablets.  The programs with voice searching capabilities like Microsoft Cortana, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri are driving the brands and businesses to make their interfaces voice-search compatible.

Voice SEO is different from traditional SEO. While the latter is about ‘fixing’ the content with keywords, the former is based on ‘what people say while talking to Siri or Google.’  For instance, a user might type “affordable data mining services” on Google whereas her voice search would vary to “affordable data mining services in my city near me” or “where can I find affordable data mining services?”

It is imperative to think about customers, and your sales funnel while optimising your business and its platforms with voice-search capabilities. Voice search often entails long-tail keywords and smart searches conducted by customers, which may vary from a business to another. The website should load quickly to ensure a comprehensive voice search across the internet.  The files should be compressed and images should be optimised for search.

More than twenty-two per cent of voice search queries are location-based. This is why the keywords ‘near me’ hold preference and have a higher chance of appearing in the search result.

The Conclusion:

These social media trends will help retailers and e-commerce enthusiasts to level up and establish contact with their customers like never before. From personalisation to interactive visualisation and chatbots, businesses are making every effort to get ahead from their competitors and win this race of ROI, customer engagement and create a strategy that makes them the most-talked-about brand online. Early adopters of commerce strategies have experienced rapid growth and with more than 1.66 billion online players, it seems they were right about hopping on this wagon. Besides these, eCommerce and retail sectors are harnessing data solutions such as data mining service, data scrubbing, data appending, data verification email verification and data analysis for business intelligence and sales forecasting!

Wisite : Top 10 Data Mining Techniques for Business Success

The race is on! Where are you? Are you prepared for the exciting future of online retail and e-commerce? Is your business joining the e-commerce revolution or is it going to lag and miss out on the estimated $4.8 trillion e-commerce sales projected worldwide in 2021?