Research & Opinion

6 eCommerce Marketing Trends for 2021

Check out the top tips and tricks to optimize your consumer experience and stay on top of the latest eCommerce Marketing trends.

If you’re looking for some inspiration and insight, we’ve gathered the top marketing trends that aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. 

Keep reading to learn about 6 eCommerce marketing trends to keep top of mind in 2021!

What is trending in eCommerce?

A more appropriate question might be “what isn’t trending in eCommerce?” especially in the digitally dominated world we live in today.

There seems to be a new Instagram update or site widget coming out each and every day. 

While there are a seemingly endless amount of options to choose from, we’ve gathered the top trends that provide the most value to your consumers, and give you the most bang for your buck.

Here are the top 6 eCommerce marketing trends to prioritize in the new year:

1. Social Commerce 

Creating a seamless shopping experience is becoming increasingly important, especially in the digital age where consumers are always introduced to new forms of technology.

According to Lyfe Marketing, 74% of consumers rely on social media for information regarding product purchasing, and 43% are more likely to purchase a product after learning about it on social media.

In order to meet consumers right at the place where they find new products, many social media sites are enabling consumers to make purchases right in-app.

One of the first social media sites to introduce this seamless shopping feature was Instagram.

The Instagram checkout feature was introduced in March 2019 as a means of combining inspiration with action, as consumers can purchase certain products without ever having to leave the app.

Earlier this year, the Instagram Checkout feature was enhanced to include an entirely separate shopping tab built into the app, so consumers can make collections of product inspiration and make purchases even more efficiently.

Pinterest has also implemented an in-app shopping feature in the form of “buyable pins.” 

These pins enable eCommerce brands to infuse their website data and products into their Pinterest advertisements in order to seamlessly tie the inspiration and purchase steps together. 

eCommerce marketing platform, MikMak, has further simplified this process as their business model is entirely centered around social commerce. 

By limiting the number of redirects your consumers need to take, your brand will successfully create a more seamless shopping experience.

A key component of social commerce is that it’s also a great way to connect with your consumers and provide a more interactive experience. 

2. Interactive Experiences

Interactive experiences enable greater fun and engagement compared to traditional consumer-brand interactions.

Think of interactive experiences as the next step in assisting consumers digitally.

An interactive experience can be anything from a product recommender quiz, a lookbook, a knowledge quiz, and so much more.

Interactive experiences are essential for eCommerce because they simplify the discovery and consideration steps within the shopper journey.

Take if from CBD brand, beam. 

CBD is a rapidly growing industry that faces the interesting challenge of educating consumers, while also assisting with site navigation so finding the best CBD dose and products is simple and convenient.

By implementing a CBD product finder quiz, beam was able to overcome both challenges and increase their conversion rate.

The beam story highlights just one of many ways your brand can implement interactive experiences across all channels.  

Leading beauty retailer, NARS, was also looking to implement an interactive experience that not only improved the consumer experience, but also collected key data to drive future personalization.

By implementing 20 interactive beauty lookbook variations, NARS was able to increase their understanding of consumer preferences on an individual level and provide personalized recommendations in future communications.

At the end of the day, interactive content is not only more visually appealing, but it also converts!

Research by Demand Metric found that interactive content increased conversion rates by at least 2X compared to passive content.

Maybe your brand is within an emerging industry and is working to increase brand awareness. By implementing an interactive experience, such as a knowledge quiz, you can educate your audience on the market and recommend products that are most relevant to them.

The possibilities are endless!

From here, order completion and payment processing is the only step left to complete the experience.

3. eWallet and Loyalty Apps

eWallets have become an increasingly popular and efficient way to simplify the eCommerce payment process.

Apple wallet and securely saved payment details make the process of checking out and completing an order seamless.

Many businesses have increased their capabilities to support cashless payments by tapping into the eWallet business.

An interesting trend on the rise in 2021, is that many of these eWallet capabilities are now tying right into loyalty reward programs as well.

eWallet-eCommerce-Marketing-Trend

Aside from using eWallets to simply log credit card details, many consumers are utilizing store loyalty cards within their mobile wallets.

Rather than having to keep track of a physical loyalty card, an eWallet loyalty card integration makes using and keeping track of a loyalty card much easier.

The implementation of digital loyalty cards encourages consumers to take advantage of their loyalty points and rewards each time they shop with your brand.

A consumer will likely not have a physical loyalty card on them at all time, but they will have their mobile device!

An improved shopping experience increases the likelihood of a consumer returning in the future to make additional purchases.

Most importantly, consumer satisfaction is increased and the overall eCommerce experience is simplified.

4. Voice Search

Voice search capabilities are an eCommerce marketing trend that is growing rapidly with increased adoption among consumers.

With Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google home devices positioned as a staple for many, the added benefit of simply speaking to a device has transformed the eCommerce shopping experience.

While some consumers are still skeptical about this voice search technology, the overwhelming majority are willing to use voice search as a means of simplifying their eCommerce shopping experience.

The average number of consumers who shop with voice search technologies has increased 3x between 2017 and 2020.

Voice search capabilities are most commonly used during the pre-purchase phase of the consumer journey, with many shoppers relying on this capability to better understand products and conduct research prior to purchase.

The growing momentum of voice search and selling has opened up new opportunities for marketers looking to create more authentic relationships with consumers.

Looking ahead to 2021, voice search capabilities offer the competitive advantage your brand needs to diversify your marketing mix and stand out from the competition.

voice-search-eCommerce-marketing-trend

Marketers are able to use the artificial intelligence component of voice search and conversations as a means of better understanding consumer behaviors, wants, and needs. 

Rather than making assumptions on consumer behavior, the voice search and selling forges a relationship similar to simple conversations with a sales associate in-store.

Voice search and selling provides opportunities to personify marketing messages and selling strategies in order to provide more authentic, less intrusive advertisements and promotions.

5. Green Consumption

Sustainability has been top of mind for many businesses in recent years, as global warming and impending climate change have shifted consumer perspectives to be more conscious of where they shop.

Many businesses are turning to eco-friendly packaging, technologies to limit returns, and environmentally-friendly production processes as a means to reduce their carbon footprint.

As more and more consumers prioritize sustainability, an interesting rise of second-hand marketplaces have taken the market as well.

eCommerce sites like ThredUp, Poshmark, and Depop encourage consumers to consider shopping second-hand and make the process of purchasing used products online, simple and convenient.

Another growing trend to keep an eye out for in 2021 is the rise of environmentally friendly website hosting platforms.

While direct-to-consumer brand storefronts live entirely online, efforts to prioritize green website hosting have taken off in recent years. 

With green hosting platforms, businesses are able to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (REC’s) in order to offset their carbon footprint by providing green energy through wind and solar.

Some of the leading green hosting platforms in the market, like GreenGeeks and InMotion, offset carbon emissions and partner with organizations to plant trees and promote green practices.

As climate change becomes a more prevalent issue, the focus on green consumption will only increase over time.

6. Augmented Reality 

The current state of the world in response to COVID-19 has put the “try before you buy” business model on the back-burner for the time being. 

Rather, businesses are looking for solutions that most accurately depict products and services digitally. 

The impacts of COVID-19 have accelerated this shift by roughly 5 years.

Augmented Reality (AR) has become, not merely a trend, but a defining characteristic for the future of eCommerce. 

The most successful implementations so far have been within the healthcare, government, beauty and retail industries.

Potential store closures and delayed re-openings have led many businesses to turn to up and coming AR solutions in order to assist with eCommerce buying decisions.

For example, Sephora’s AR foundation-match mirror allows consumers to simply upload a photo of themselves and receive a recommendation for the best foundation match to their skin tone.

Home furnishings retailer, IKEA, has also tapped into the AR space with the IKEA Place app that enables consumers to accurately visualize how home decors will look in their home.

2021 will be an important year for AR updates and iterations.

Kickstart Your 2021 eCommerce Marketing Strategy

There you have it!

By keeping these 6 trends top of mind for the new year, your brand is sure to power a seamless eCommerce experience to increase consumer satisfaction and conversion.

Which trend are you most interested in for the new year? Kickstart your 2021 eCommerce marketing strategy today and create an interactive quiz experience (within hours!) to drive consumer engagement and loyalty.

Published December 3, 2020

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