Whether you already have a successful online store (or multiple ones) or plan to open your first eCommerce venture this year, it’s wise to watch trends.
You might pick up on product types to consider for your shop, marketing strategies to test out, conversion optimization tactics worth utilizing, or other tips by doing so. Read on for some top trends in the industry to scope out.
More Use of Marketplaces
Consumers have increasingly high expectations when they shop online, much of which has been fueled by the high level of functionality and service they receive via huge marketplaces such as Amazon and Etsy. These shopping spots also provide people with the chance to browse a wide array of products in one spot. All this convenience leads to excellent sales, and eCommerce businesses around the globe are taking note.
Today, many entrepreneurs who want to sell online are either choosing to do so only on marketplaces or using such sites to supplement their reach or diversify their brand. Companies lacking the backend infrastructure to cope with high demand and incorporate all the functionality they’d like are using marketplaces to launch and grow their businesses.
Apart from the big, well-known names, there are also many niche marketplaces accommodating digital sellers. They provide low barriers to entry for business owners, access to targeted traffic and high search engine rankings, and helpful support. Plus, many shoppers feel more comfortable dealing with bigger online stores and are more likely to buy from these sites than barely-known eCommerce startups.
Personalization More of a Focus
Another way to expand your sales and profits is to wow customers so they shop with you repeatedly. Today, consumers prefer tailored experiences that suit their individual needs, and they’re more likely to develop long-lasting relationships with brands when they get this. Although such personalization was once fairly limited to email marketing, more is possible now.
Thanks to various tech tools, eCommerce entrepreneurs can gather data about customers to learn about their shopping habits, such as when they browse and buy, the types of items they purchase, the price points they stick around, and more. Using a comprehensive session recording tool to see which pages shoppers visit, business owners can understand the products and content that proves most popular and see areas where people might get frustrated and click away.
Use technology to help you provide next-step or product recommendations to your customers and send them relevant deals. Software programs will help you know the last time someone made a purchase and when to get in touch to see if they need anything. Technology can even keep track of when products previously bought from the site might be starting to run out and need a top-up or other personalized info related to what people searched for, asked about, or purchased in the past.
Growth in Subscription Services
Subscription services, where people have goods automatically shipped to them every month or every quarter, etc., can be another great way to get customers buying from you again and again. They’re becoming increasingly popular with store owners and consumers alike.
In 2021, increasing types of subscriptions are popping up, and people are discovering that they can work for a diverse array of products, from wine and books to stationery, beauty supplies, health products, and much more. For businesses, a key benefit is that it makes inventory easier to plan for and cash flow more consistent and reliable.
Increasing Use of Chatbots and Other AI
Customer service must be excellent on your site if you want to build your venture quickly. However, with people shopping at all times of the day and night, it’s costly and challenging to offer round-the-clock customer support. This is where a chatbot can be your friend.
Increasing numbers of businesses use chatbots to interact with online shoppers to answer basic questions and provide general recommendations when you and your team aren’t available. This trend continues to grow as artificial intelligence (AI) improves and expands, too. According to the report Can Virtual Experiences Replace Reality?, compiled by Oracle and CX Research, 80 percent of surveyed businesses already used or planned to use chatbots by 2020.
AI is being used in eCommerce in other ways, too. For instance, these days, brands can leverage voice search to position their brands in front of customers via search engine optimization, and the tech can help with predicting inventory needs. It can streamline marketing by crawling social media profiles and podcasts to spot brands that are popular with your audience, too.
Selling online provides many opportunities for innovation and growth. One or more of the above trends may be just what you need to build your business this year and beyond.