eCommerce trends to watch out for in 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has marked a turning point for eCommerce.  In fact, McKinsey found the sector has experienced 10 years of growth in just 90 days. Therefore, keeping up with emerging eCommerce trends will be instrumental in helping merchants cut through the noise, get noticed, and attract more customers. Payflex outlines 5 eCommerce trends merchants should watch out for as we edge closer to 2021. 

1.Mobile will continue to drive eCommerce

By 2021, mobile commerce sales are expected to account for half of eCommerce sales, making it one of the biggest eCommerce trends for 2021. In addition, the industry is projected to grow by $5.1 Trillion between 2020 and 202753% of mobile website visitors will leave if a webpage doesn’t load within three seconds. Failure to provide a mobile-friendly shopping experience will therefore put retailers at a major disadvantage. Merchants must focus on improving and optimising customer experience for mobile users.

2.Alternate payment methods will become the norm

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unlikely catalyst for the growth of alternative payment methods. Alternative payment methods  offer a flexible alternative to cash-strapped consumers. Globally, there are over 200 alternative payment methods including buy now pay later (BNPL), mobile payment solutions, bank transfers, direct debit, digital wallets, cash on delivery, e-invoices and digital currencies. At the same time, a recent PayPal survey found flexible payment offerings like BNPL help retailers shift from reactive mode to more strategic planning.    Retailers therefore need to ensure they offer a number of alternative payment methods on their sites.

3. Voice search will become the new normal

Voice shopping will be one of the next big eCommerce trends. According to Zion Market Research, the global voice-based smart speaker market will be valued at $30 billion by 2024. Virtual assistants such as Siri, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, have been instrumental in mainstreaming the concept of voice shopping. Optimising your eCommerce site for voice search won’t only increase sales, but put you way ahead of the game.

4.Omnichannel to shape offline & online commerce

Omnichannel is an essential eCommerce trend for 2021.  Shopping platforms  click-and-collect, and contactless delivery have become part and parcel of the post-COVID retail landscape. Retailers need to meet customers where they are both online and offline. Providing more opportunities for consumers to connect with  your brand  will create a positive customer experience and increased loyalty.

5. AI & AR transforming the eCommerce experience 

Artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) are  playing a major role in making customer service automated, immersive and hassle-free.  Merchants are in a prime position to capitalise on their growing adoption of to make the shopping journey more personalized and tailored. In fact, Boston Consulting Group found brands that create personalized experiences by integrating advanced digital technologies re seeing revenue increase two to three times faster than those that don’t.