Online Shopping Trends 2021

South Africans’ shopping habits changed drastically in 2020 as people shifted online to stock up on day-to-day essentials during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we enter a new year, what are the online shopping trends that will rule the eCommerce landscape?   Payflex digs deep and highlights 5 key online shopping trends expected to define eCommerce in 2021.

Omnichannel becomes a post-pandemic essential

The pandemic has increasingly blurred the lines between shopping online and in person. Retailers are therefore going to have to provide a unified brand experience across all channels to create a fully-integrated shopping experience for consumers. A strong omni-channel strategy will enable customers to interact with your brand across multiple channels. 

Challenging times demand flexible payment solutions

Payments are expected to be one of the most important online shopping trends in 2021, with the pandemic highlighting the critical role they play in the customer journey. The next generation of shoppers is increasingly turning away from traditional payment solutions, and embracing payment flexibility. The pandemic has accelerated this demand, with buy now pay later platforms like Payflex exploding in popularity across the globe.  

Recent PYMNTS research revealed that payment options are a major determinant of where people spend. The report found 48% of respondents would not purchase from retailers that did not offer their preferred payment method. For retailers, offering flexible payment methods at checkout has never been more important. 

Mobile shopping to drive eCommerce growth

Mobile shopping will continue to be a key online shopping trend. From communicating to shopping to payments, mobile has taken centre stage in all our lives. In fact, by the end of 2021, it’s predicted that mobile devices will make up almost 73% of total eCommerce sales globally. Similarly, mobile is the fastest-growing channel and the biggest driver of internet growth in EMEA,  according to a report by the Mobile Marketing Association

Social Media to take centre stage in eCommerce 

Social commerce is blurring the line between eCommerce and social media. It is changing the way consumers shop, and prefer to make purchases, especially with the introduction of Facebook’s “Buy” button, and Instagram Checkout. Technavio recently reported that the social commerce market is poised to grow by $2,051 billion during 2020-2024, The sheer amount of time spent by people on social media apps on a daily basis has made social commerce one of the indisputable breakout online shopping trends for 2021. A strong social media strategy will therefore be a powerful tool for retailers looking to capitalize on this burgeoning trend. 

Augmented Reality brings a new dimension to online shopping

Augmented Reality (AR) has created a completely new digital customer experience. It enriches the relationship between consumer and brand and can be used in any location. Ecommerce stores are therefore increasingly using AR to replicate in-store experiences and address key customer pain points associated. In fact, 64% of leading consumer brands are starting to invest in immersive experiences. Retailers can use this technology to fundamentally change the way consumers shop, create deeper engagement, and maximize ROI.