What to Know About These 6 eCommerce Trends in 2021
E-commerce doesn’t seem likely to slow down next year, but it will undoubtedly evolve. What does the e-commerce trend landscape look like in 2021? Here are six trends likely to factor into its makeup.
1. Online/In-Store Hybrid Options Will Gain Momentum
Stores began offering buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) before the world dealt with the public health threat of COVID-19. However, the virus only accelerated this option that lets people enjoy many of the conveniences of traditional e-commerce options without waiting for deliveries.
People should expect the BOPIS trend to stay prevalent through 2021. Statistics show that 90% of physical stores will offer it by that year. This finding is significant because it emphasizes that brick-and-mortar retailers recognize the value of moving at least part of the purchasing process online. People appreciate convenience, and BOPIS options provide it.
2. Increasingly Blurred Lines Between E-Commerce and Physical Retail
Internet-only sales work well for some products, but not necessarily if someone wants to touch and hold a product before committing to buy it. That’s why there has been a rise in digital-first brands opening physical stores. Now, companies including Rent the Runway and Warby Parker have brick-and-mortar locations after initially getting set up online.
A look at e-commerce trends for 2021 indicates that such expansions will likely continue, and they may boost website sales, too. For example, a partnership with Walgreens and the Birchbox beauty subscription service lets people stop into a pharmacy and shop Birchbox-offered brands or recreate the experience of subscribing. These trends matter because they promote growth in e-commerce brands that may otherwise have hit limits without moving offline.
3. Multichannel Sales Will Remain Relevant
An e-commerce retailer cannot hope to stay successful in 2021 by enticing people to a website alone. Similar to how multichannel sales rose to the forefront in 2018, they’ll become prominent again in 2021. However, the methods used to connect with potential consumers will get more diverse.
One recent example occurred when the Syfy network offered a shoppable TV special that exposed viewers to a curated collection of items. They could purchase them by scanning codes with their phones. This approach relates to e-commerce because it requires using internet-enabled devices. As 2021 progresses, people should expect to see more retailers trying to reach interested people in innovative ways. If that happens, it’ll reshape advertising in major ways.
4. More Customization Options
Customization is another likely theme associated with e-commerce trends in 2021. If people can personalize products to fit precise needs with a few clicks, the opportunity to shop online is especially enticing. This option also lets people save money, especially if customized products have a higher likelihood of the best results, compared to mass-produced goods that people may buy and ultimately dislike.
For example, Pure Culture Beauty recently launched online. When purchasing cosmetics, shoppers use a microbiome swab kit at home that reveals crucial details about their skin types.
They also fill out online lifestyle surveys that show how specific choices affect skin condition. The idea is that people get cosmetics made just for them, not intended to please hundreds of thousands of people.
5. Retailers Will Focus on Better Product Detail Pages
A study that reflected on likely trends in e-commerce next year found that 45% of people who purchased online visited product detail pages (PDP) before finalizing their transactions. Moreover, 41% of those who ranked touchpoints for influencing purchases said that PDPs persuaded them the most.
These findings mean that 2021’s successful e-commerce retailers must explore how to make PDPs maximally effective, whether by adding interactive content, product videos or specification sheets. People no longer visit PDPs in passing when deciding whether to buy. Many consider them top drivers of what they purchase.
6. A Renewed Effort in Direct-to-Consumer eCommerce
People should also watch for an increase in brands offering direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales through e-commerce platforms. For example, Tapestry — the owner of the Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman brands — weathered the COVID-19 storm better than other brands through a focus on more direct and digital sales. Upcoming plans include closing some stores to focus on expanding an e-commerce presence.
Levi’s, Colgate-Palmolive and PepsiCo. are among the other brands making waves in the DTC space as of late. Some of them cater to consumers with online exclusives. This approach makes sense, considering how many people stay at home.
Even if the COVID-19 threat eases in 2021, people may still stick with the convenience of DTC e-commerce shopping, which means brands should prepare themselves for that possibility.
An Evolving Outlook for eCommerce 2021 Trends
These six trends are shaping up to have tremendous impacts on online commerce in the coming year. Even if merchants don’t plan to directly implement some of these trends, they should at least stay aware of what’s on the horizon and plan accordingly.
Additionally, they should remain mindful that these likely outcomes are only a sampling of what to expect. Staying abreast of other trends as they emerge is an excellent way for e-commerce retailers to retain or gain competitiveness and resilience during 2021 and beyond.