Amazon & E-commerce Trends in 2021
Technology is changing the dynamic of every market. E-commerce is no stranger to this phenomenon. New advances improve efficiency in the front and back end of digital stores. There was a rapid integration of new platforms and methods during the last years. Then the pandemic outbreak shifted things further. Consumers had to rely on online activities due to the closure of physical stores. And many shops had to become digital to continue their sales. Thus new competitors joined the game. Advertising strategies changed. This process is not even close to being over. More innovations will appear at a fast pace in the next few years. Surviving the wave demands an understanding of the upcoming trends. This article aims to show you the most relevant Amazon and e-commerce trends to keep in mind.
Increased Online Shopping
The COVID-19 crisis caused a rise in online activities. As the access to local shops was limited, consumers had to buy online out of necessity. They also found comfort in digital retail therapy. Digital sales spiked as physical stores closed. Fresh produce, alcohol and other categories entered the e-commerce field. Soon, every retail sector will join. Merchants optimized operations to suit the digital demand. International shopping accounted for a big share of the market. And there is also an increase in trust. Websites are more customer friendly, giving them peace of mind.
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Bloom of Private Label Products
Many companies diverted to a D2C business model in 2020. Direct to Consumer selling removes any third party between brand and buyer. This gave private labels direct reach to their end customers. Their bond grew stronger and it unveiled the new market demands. Private labels are able to use data to make their brand unique. They are free to update or improve their products based on customer feedback. Quality at competitive prices provides high returns. Mainstream brands dominance decline. Home brands offer the same features at a better price. And their niche profile suits the demand for customization. The result is a big rise in their profitability in Amazon and other e-commerce sites.
This scenario in the context of a pandemic outbreak also favored independent businesses. The global halt affected small businesses. This inspired support in many customers. Their unique portfolio and customer care were able to keep them hooked.
Marketplaces Win Over Online Stores
The convenience of online marketplaces is yet to be matched. They have a solid back end infrastructure. Small businesses cannot handle large traffic and shipping requirements in the same way. Plus marketplaces offer free returns and other benefits. Big e-commerce sites are easy to enter and give exposure to small brands. They are able to offer services that many brands alone cannot support. But they also present limitations to a business’ growth. First, they own customer data. Second, customers do not usually buy from the same shop twice. Brands should be present on various marketplaces. They also need to drive visitors into their own website.
Niche marketplaces are also becoming popular. They focus on a narrow set of products, as opposed to large generalist online stores. They offer specialized items from a particular category. In general, they are high end, luxury marketplaces. Consumers do not only shop for products but for ideas. The experience is more inspirational than practical. These are the benefits of niche e-commerce:
– Increase loyalty through emotional connections.
– Increase trust with specialized security.
– Market to a specific target.
– Improve customer experience.
– Stand out from saturated marketplaces.
Growing Fulfillment Capabilities
Shipping and delivery need to catch up with the progress of e-commerce. The biggest challenge is how to reduce click-to-door time. Physical stores offer immediate availability of products. To compete, e-stores are making great efforts to fulfill on-demand. That is, at a time determined by the buyer. Many sectors are offering same day delivery or collection, and click and collect.
Fulfillment By Amazon adds value to sellers and consumers. Amazon manages storage, shipping and returns. But they keep trying to further enhance customer satisfaction. Amazon Go, Prime and Prime Now respond to the fast delivery trend. The key is to control the supply chain and master last-mile delivery. Drone delivery is a work in progress.
Consumers love it when their favorite brands show that they care. Personalization is the act of tailoring content to suit each individual. This makes customers more engaged and loyal. Brands use digital marketing to adjust their content. The most common methods are:
- This is when brands adjust their message based on browsing and purchase history.
- This implies using other shoppers’ habits to anticipate behaviors.
- This means pushing personalized deals based on demographics.
- This is to adapt a brand’s context to match the shopper’s context (for example, device location).
The use of artificial intelligence in the field of online sales in increasing. Many e-stores are using deep tech in the front and back end. AI solutions are useful tools in business promotion and decision making. The most common uses of AI in online retail are:
– Data collection
– Demand forecasting
– Generating recommendations
– Localization of customer experience
– Automated warehouse processes
– Automated inventory management
– Improved customer interactions
– Insights into customer behaviors
– Price optimization
– Brand monitoring
The most popular AI-powered tools to improve customer experience are:
- Machine learning
- Augmented reality and virtual reality
- Voice search
Machine learning is useful to capture behaviors and buying patterns. AR and VR simulate physical stores. Voice search is helping in making web navigation more intuitive. And chatbots offer customized replies via live chat.
Dynamic pricing is a strategy based on supply, demand, conversion rates and sales goals. It uses machine learning algorithms for real time data. Real time pricing is a way for businesses to stay flexible in a dynamic scenario.
The correct implementation of dynamic pricing is crucial. Overpricing may result in loss of customers. Under pricing may result in lower revenue. The key is to make real time adjustments to maximize income and minimize loss.
Customers want to feel confident in the buying decision. Prices can change from one customer to another based on their habits. But shoppers notice price changes. And browser extensions like Amazon Assistant help them track and compare prices. It is important to be as transparent as possible to keep loyalty and trust.
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More Shopping on Mobile
The use of mobile phones increases every year. People spend a lot of time on their devices. Smartphones provide access to many different activities. Mobile shopping adds to e-store revenues and even supports in-store purchases. People investigate a product on their phones before buying. They also check discount deals, reviews, and prices of other stores.
Mobile shoppers need easier digital transactions and payment methods. Amazon Pay responds to this demand. M-commerce optimization includes single-pay checkout and mobile wallets. PWAs, AMPs and Alexa for tracking orders are tech innovations to consider.
E-Commerce and Social Media Integration
E-commerce is merging with social media. E-stores use their platforms to reach large groups. They deliver ads as stories, matching the style of regular content. High quality video ads grow visibility. At the same time, online stores are linking with social media sites, like Shopify and TikTok.
At the same time, social media sites are adopting e-commerce trends. Context and programmatic advertising is one example. Facebook allows e-stores to lure a specific public based on data. Automaton allows to schedule social media posts. Social payments is another trend. Users can transfer funds using social media. Facebook has a new ‘buy button’ and Instagram has a checkout.
Amazon is also merging with social media. Sellers can share updates on their products with Amazon Posts. Amazon Live offers real time demos and promotions.
New Payment Options
A complex payment processing can result in losing a customer. E-commerce needs to speed up the transaction process. Also, it is important to offer various payment options. There are already a lot of options, like digital payment and bitcoins. But the demand for new forms of digital payments is growing. New technologies can make payments easier, faster and more secure. Cards were dominating in physical stores, but it changed with the pandemic. Touch free options became necessary. The resulting trends are:
- Biometric authentication
- Temporary security codes
- Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS)
- Smart speaker payments
- Contactless payments
- Mobile wallets
Environmental Concerns Changing E-Commerce Habits
There is a new trend towards ethical shopping. Consumer behavior is changing as they gain awareness of their impact on the planet. People are adopting more ecological practices. E-commerce must adapt to this trend. One of the ways is to offer more sustainable products. But they should also take responsibility in helping the environment. The ways in which a business can reduce their carbon footprint are:
- Optimize their website navigation.
- Choose service providers that use renewable energy.
- Use ecological packaging.
- Choose green distribution methods.
- Install energy efficient equipment.
- Reduce their e-waste.
- Recycle and upcycle as much as possible.
The Rise of Visual Commerce
Visual commerce is a way to reduce the gap between e-store and in-store. It offers users an immersive interaction with a product or brand. Instead of static photos, businesses use next generation interactive and engaging visuals. Some examples of this new technology are:
- 360-degree video
- 2D and 3D configuration
- Visual search
- Augmented reality (AR)
- Visual reality (VR)
- Consumer generated media
- Image recognition
New Creative Advertising Strategies
New technologies have a big impact on the customer journey. There are a lot of channels for brands to interact with their customers. In response, businesses need to come up with strong marketing strategies. They can increase reach, conversion and engagement at various stages of the life cycle. The new advertising trends are:
- Video marketing
- Guided selling
- Google ads
- Micro-moments marketing
- Product pages, testimonials and reviews
- Programmatic advertising
- Content marketing
- Email newsletters
- Influencer marketing
- Pay per click (PPC) ads
Upselling and cross-selling
Online Purchases of B2B Products
B2B transactions are also in the e-commerce sector. Changes in buyer demographics led to a growth in the B2B e-commerce industry. Tech savvy buyers value convenience, speed and security. They demand for personalization. Some of the main trens in B2B are:
– Create educative material that is SEO optimized.
– Guarantee cybersecurity and data privacy.
– Include customer loyalty programs and reward systems.
– Integrate solutions for customization.
– Enhance order routing and catalog management.
Influencers Are New Brand Partners
There is a new thing called influencer marketing. Influencers are people with high presence and following in social media. Brands partner with them to endorse their products. These partnerships are long term projects. One-off sponsored posts do not bring a real contribution. With time, they become valuable assets when they align with the values of a brand. The content they produce is of interest to the public. They also give recommendations that have a proven impact on sales.
At first, influencers were celebrities and famous people. Now, there are macro, micro and nano influencers. These are niche-specific and cost effective. They also have the highest engagement rates.
Importance of Self-Service Platforms
Most people prefer using self-service tools over human help to place and track orders. Less human agents mean less costs and call volumes. It also shows to increase site traffic. But digital customer service is more than responsive interfaces and intuitive commands. There are many strategic decisions to make. Businesses can combine unassisted service with a mix of live agents. The effective use of these tools depends on choosing the most appropriate options:
– Transactional tools to order and pay online. Customers can also access billing information.
– Clear and updated information to troubleshoot common issues.
– Community forums for users to assist each other.
– Assisted self-service through online chats, email and social media.
The digital world offers a whole new spectrum of possibilities for avid merchants. Commerce as we know it has been transforming throughout the years. Each innovation surpassed the previous one. As circumstances forced people into confinement, online activities delivered unrestricted freedom. Hence the ever-changing online scenario took a huge leap forward. If the global situation taught us anything, it is to be adaptable. As supply and demand intertwine, innovation is as important as going with the flow. Those businesses paying attention, whether small or large, caught the right wave. Brands should not underestimate the importance of responding to trends and consumer needs. We gave you an insight to the most pertinent trends. Now it is up to you to take action in accordance. Good luck!