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2021 Wrapped: 11 Ecommerce Trends That Shaped the Year
Michael Hall
February 17, 2022

So… the 2020s aren’t panning out the way anyone expected.

While industries big and small are faced with turbulent times ahead — the shift in consumer preferences, courtesy of COVID-19, has ushered in good times for the folks in the ecommerce line of business.

We’ll throw in some stats here to prove our point:

This explains why businesses are pumping in money into their existing line of ecommerce channels or are now pivoting to go online for the very first time.

Going by the unprecedented rate of growth — online sellers, take note: it’s time to buckle up and get the ball rolling!

We’ve narrowed down the biggest trends that you need to keep up with, to find success in 2022. But before we head into that, let’s talk about why ecommerce trends matter.

Ecommerce trends, what’s all the fuss about?

Now, if you’re looking to scale up (and by that we mean, stay ahead of the competition) — keeping your pulse on the emerging trends in ecommerce, will help you build strategies to meet the changing needs of your customers.

With the ecommerce space only getting more competitive, ignoring these trends could end up hurting your business and costing you customers in the days to come.

With a failure rate as high as 90% for ecommerce businesses, it’s important to prepare for what lies ahead, build customized experiences, and meet customers where they are!

From personalization tactics to an increased focus on mobile shopping and visual commerce, monitoring and following these trends will set your online store up for success.

Ecommerce trends in 2021

So if you’re curious to know what the future holds for ecommerce, let’s dive right into the top 11 trends that dominated the space in 2021.

The parabolic rise of mobile shopping

Mobile commerce has grown by leaps and bounds given the massive proliferation of smartphones and tablets. Sure enough, customers are loving the convenience of shopping at their fingertips! As per the stats, mobile is expected to account for 72.9% of all ecommerce sales in 2021.

Improving the experience for mobile users should be the top priority for online merchants.

It comes as no surprise that ensuring your ecommerce store is mobile-friendly is vital to stay in the game. You need to make sure that your website can be easily navigated across all mobile devices and make it easy for customers to discover products that they are looking for.

Building accelerated mobile pages (AMP) and progressive web applications (PWA) could bring convenience on a whole new level for customers who shop using their mobiles. For instance, PWA loads faster than your actual website and comes loaded with features like push notifications, even allowing customers to view pages offline.

Shops went multilingual

This recent trend of online stores making content on their website available in multiple languages is taking the ecommerce industry by storm.

This is a calculated move considering how a growing number of users prefer using websites that have content in their native languages.

While the translation process can be quite a hassle, this is not stopping online merchants from building multilingual ecommerce websites and giving customers the luxury of shopping for products in the language of their choice.

So if you’re looking to go the extra mile, we’d recommend checking your local language graphics for wherever you sell and add translations for the top 3–5 languages spoken in your area.

Banking on fulfillment as a differentiator

As an online store owner, here’s what you are doing wrong — meeting only your customers’ basic expectations. Going above and beyond the call of duty is essential to keep your customers hooked on.

Delighting customers with a brilliant (not to mention lightning-fast and free) delivery experience is the need of the hour. With an aim to increase their profit margins and keep up with customer demands, brands are now making the move to explore far beyond the free shipping thresholds of yesteryear.

Retention steals the limelight as acquisition costs grow

So here’s the deal — acquiring a new customer costs 5x more than retaining an existing one. With stiff competition and skyrocketing customer acquisition costs — taking the route to foster repeat customers is the way forward.

This makes building a solid customer retention strategy essential for growing your ecommerce sales in 2022.

Retention strategies involve building interactive customer experiences throughout the customer’s journey with your brand, offering excellent customer support, and not to forget devising customer loyalty and reward programs.

Young consumers (Age: 18–34) drove more sales

The younger generation has been leading the shift in buying items online! By spending more hours online, consumers aged 18 to 34 are currently dictating the world of ecommerce.

As online store owners, your marketing strategies need to be fine-tuned to target younger customers. Don’t forget, this age group discovers brands and products on social media.

So directing your social media marketing towards the younger generation and building engaging campaigns keeping their interest in mind will help you ring in more sales this year!

Consumers are more eco-conscious

Furthermore, with consumers taking an environmentally conscious stand, opting for zero-waste packaging could help you chase after customer expectations and offer them meaningful experiences every step of the way!

Sustainability in ecommerce has been the talk of the town, and businesses that take up the green initiative will be rewarded in due time.

From capitalizing on sustainable shipping to reducing waste and promoting recycling policies, brands are steadily marching towards sustainable ecommerce.

Personalization to be spread across the buyer’s journey

To reach customers where they are, ecommerce businesses are dealing with multiple customer touchpoints. Customer interactions have been dispersed across channels and devices — from websites and apps to emails and social media.

This is why it is imperative to personalize experiences throughout the customer’s journey with your brand.

Mapping customer journeys for each persona, discovering possible touchpoints, and identifying the opportunity for product recommendations will help you deliver a more tailored experience.

Enabling more ways to pay

Improving your customer’s checkout experience and offering best-in-class payment options is a step in the right direction to increase online sales.

Customers today are picky and will even go to the extent of canceling their purchase in the absence of a preferred payment method. Offer simple and commonplace tools like saving payment details for the next purchase… or fall behind.

Consequently, online sellers are going after the big names to offer a host of mobile payment integrations from digital wallets to Amazon pay, Apple Pay — you name it!

Visual commerce is gaining more popularity

Visual commerce is another trend ecommerce brands are latching on to. It is the concept of using visually appealing imagery to increase conversions.

Brands are using high-quality product images across their website, and not just on their product pages.

Compelling visual elements can be used to create an immersive experience for shoppers — influencing them to purchase more from your website.

Consumers support small businesses

Retail outlets of small businesses struggled to survive the pandemic slump. But their online counterparts have managed to stay afloat with growing support from ecommerce consumers.

Small business retailers have witnessed a spike in online sales, which means the ecommerce world is slowly opening up to accommodate smaller brands and independent businesses.

Take advantage of this by being authentic to your story. Don’t try to act bigger than you are, people are drawn to personal, relatable stories.

AR to be a common phenomenon across DTC stores

Buying products online and being offered quick delivery options have brought in much-wanted ease, making shopping effortless for customers today.

That being said, there are possibilities of a gap between the customers’ visualization of the product online and the actual product itself.

Ecommerce businesses are filling up this gap by implementing augmented reality. With augmented reality (AR) technologies, online stores are using advanced graphics to show customers how the product will look in the real world.

These ‘close to reality’ experiences have not only helped in reducing product exchange and return rates but have been instrumental in driving in more conversions.

Time to build goal-crushing strategies for your online store

All these trends revolve around the sole concept of delivering effortless, engaging, and personalized shopping experiences.

While you gear up to adopt these trends and make the most of them, be sure to analyze them to understand if these trends make sense for your business. Ask yourself if these trends will help you enhance your customers’ experiences and take your business to the next level.

You must identify them, and take advantage of those trends that will set you apart from your competition and drive maximum value for your customers.