Many of the retailers are happy to put 2020 far behind because it has disrupted the patterns of online shopping. Due to long lockdowns and terrible pandemic conditions, 2020 was a bruising year for everyone, specifically for online retailers.
Online retailers have faced enough in 2020, so they need to plan and re-build the strategies to re-gain the growth of their businesses. As a proportion of the population is still vulnerable to the virus, we cannot fully predict a change in consumer behavior any time soon. Therefore, retailers need to think about a post-pandemic situation and plan accordingly.
Online Retail Trends in 2020
Let’s have a flashback of some key trends of 2020 that are expected to be followed in 2021. In the past year, we have experienced the importance of the online world and came across the significance of technological innovation. We have observed the prominence of innovative technologies like Augmented Reality AR, Virtual Reality VR, and Artificial Intelligence AI. Along with it, social media has played an important role in aiding sales and has helped in creating brand awareness. Key trends of 2020 were:
- Social media has played an important role in building brands and generating sales and revenues.
- There was a significant increase in mobile shoppers.
- In 2020, more businesses have moved towards the integration of innovative technologies like AR, VR, and AI.
- A major shift from brick-and-mortar to online presence has been observed.
- Same-day delivery and the increasing partnership of retailers and ride-share or grocery delivery companies to support same-day delivery of all goods has been seen as a major trend.
Related: Latest Trends in E-commerce
Trends that will Shape Retail in 2021
Keeping in mind the gaps and loopholes of 2020, let’s prepare for a better 2021. In this year we need to plan something extraordinary that will work in both pandemic and normal situations. As we cannot predict our tomorrow, hence backup should be there to face any kind of hurdle. Considering the importance of the online world, some major trends that will shape retail in 2021 are:
Because of COVID, we saw an increase in the number of online shoppers. Everyone preferred shopping online in this pandemic. According to a recent study, about 41% of the consumers have bought stuff from online shops which they used to buy from traditional stores. This shows an increase in the number of online shopping. Ultimately, in 2020, an increase in social commerce has been observed, where we saw a partnership between TikTok and Shopify and there was an expansion of Snapchat for native brands. So overall, social commerce has fastened up in the past year, therefore, in 2021, retailers need to think out of the box and must come up with ideas that will provide ease to users.
Because of lockdown brand awareness campaigns were not in motion and people ended up losing their customers. Traditionally, flyers, billboards, and banner advertisements help consumers know about the brand. But in 2020, we saw an approach of influencer marketing and that worked for many businesses. Influencers worked well with brands in the past year and we have detected a major shift in their content and this change will continue into 2021.
In this year every retail needs to re-build their businesses and focus on unique influencer content that prioritizes infotainment and improves viewers’ experience. The brands have started pairing up with influencers and we will see paid partnerships all the way long on IGTV, Instagram Reels, TikToks, and many other digital forums.
When there is an increase in online shopping, we have also witnessed an increase in online selling. According to current statistics on online retails, a major increase in online shops has been observed. Total revenues hit just $1.3 trillion in 2014. But that figure has more than tripled to $4.2 trillion in 2020 and is projected to continue to rise as we step further into the 2020s.
Therefore, all those businesses who are intended to sell on an online setup could think of an online marketplace. Online marketplaces benefit both the owner and the seller, so this could be the best idea to start with an online setup.
Use of Chatbot and Smart Speakers
Since Covid-19 has reduced in-person encounters, retailers had to drastically reduce face-to-face customer service. More and more businesses have welcomed Chatbots and virtual assistants to reach clients where they are. This technology was already used by the retail industry before the pandemic, along with the banking and healthcare industries.
In 2019, the sales of smart speakers hit a new high, up 70 percent from 2018. And it’s still growing. By 2025, estimates indicate that the worldwide demand for smart speakers will expand to over US$ 35.5 billion. A smart speaker is used by 87.7 million adults in the U.S, which is equal to an acceptance rate of over one-third of consumers. So in 2021, we predict a remarkable rise in the use of virtual assistants and smart speakers.
Strive for Personalization
Consumers’ expectations will continue to increase in the future. That’s why it is important to build one-to-one experiences inside your campaigns, whether it’s personalized product reviews or visualization of data like social media posts, to drive engagement and keep your customers engaged over time.
It will be crucial in the coming years to leverage the data and use it to fuel targeted campaigns. Unfortunately, for many brands, collecting the data is still a huge challenge. So retails need to strive for more personalized techniques and strategies to build customer’s trust.
Faster or Same Day Delivery:
The demand for same-day delivery continues to rise as same-delivery becomes a more common shipping choice for individuals shopping with online retailers. 49% of online customers have indicated that delivery on the same day would make them more likely to shop online. 80% of online customers want same-day shipping, while 61% want their orders shipped within 1 to 3 hours of purchase.
Although shipping on the same day is far from a new idea, 51% of e-commerce retailers have offered same-day delivery in 2018, we are likely to see it becoming the norm and beyond as technology and expectations for order fulfillment develop in 2021.