Pandemic conditions have allowed ecommerce businesses to thrive as people have gotten used to buying more and more items online. UK online retail sales reached a record £10bn in July 2021 – and many sellers have been forced to up their games in the face of increased competition.
Consumer expectations are always evolving after all, and new trends are emerging as ecommerce businesses look for ways to improve the customer experience. Paying close attention to these developments will be key for ensuring healthy sales figures throughout 2021 and beyond.
So if you currently manage an ecommerce operation and are keen to see where the industry is heading, read up on six rising ecommerce trends below.
AI and AR improving the online experience
Both artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) technology are being leveraged to boost online sales.
AI can offer personalised advice and recommendations based on consumer preferences and behaviour, similar to getting advice in a store. AR meanwhile is allowing customers to inspect products more thoroughly before buying, helping to build trust.
More ways to pay
From digital wallet apps that allow you to store card details to Buy Now Pay Later services, offering a variety of ways to pay is helping ecommerce businesses increase conversions.
Buy Now Pay Later apps are becoming controversial however as some users have reported running up debts.
Social media shopping
Social media has long been crucial for driving brand awareness – but many of the leading platforms now offer shopping features, such as Facebook’s ‘Buy’ button and Instagram Checkout.
Businesses can link their stores so people can buy from them directly through social media, making the journey from inspiration through to conversion seamless.
Young consumers driving online sales
Over two-thirds of young consumers aged 18 to 34 are spending more money on online shopping according to research by Shopify. This shift has been seen across all age groups – but none to such a high degree.
Tactics such as boosting social media efforts can help appeal to this crucial segment.
Environmental credentials influence buyers
As environmental awareness grows and climate fears heighten, consumers are increasingly acting with their wallets and supporting businesses that display green values and credentials.
Catering to these needs could involve launching more eco-conscious products and adopting eco-friendly packaging, as well as displaying honest information about product sourcing.
On a related note, more shoppers are now choosing to support independent businesses rather than large international brands. As well as it being more sustainable, consumers grew keen to support small businesses that were hit by the pandemic.
Promoting your brand story and mission can help consumers connect with you, which is especially important in the absence of physical stores.
Is your ecommerce business taking advantage of these trends?