You’ve probably seen the memes floating around the internet:
I’ve decided my 2021 will start on February 1st. January is a free trial month.
I’d like to cancel my subscription to 2021. I’ve experienced the free trial and I’m not interested.
We were told 2021 would be different, yet so far it is not only a mirror of 2020, but it is even more challenging. Of course its not just politics, social unrest, and natural disasters – I’ve had my own personal challenges with Covid. I suggest you turn off the news and pay attention to your business instead.
Did you know that many ecommerce companies are actually thriving during these times? Last year saw a massive shift to ecommerce. Consumers’ digital-centric shopping behavior will continue into 2021 and beyond. Yes, this is a good time to be in ecommerce! Around 75% of buyers and sellers now prefer digital options over face-to-face due to both safety and speed & convenience. This has put ecommerce growth projections two full years ahead of what was expected at the start of last year.
Obviously, we are living in a time where nothing is certain. The trends I’ve identified are happening now, but we must remain agile and ready to shift again as the new year unfolds. Here are things to be aware of:
- Fulfillment as a competitive differentiator
- Influencer marketing will continue to grow
- Personalized products, services, and marketing messages
- Consumers prefer big marketplaces over individual websites
- Sustainability and environmentalism are a growing concern
- Subscription based models help consumers and retailers alike
In spite of the consumer demand for ecommerce, many online shops are failing to meet expectations of their customers. The boom in ecommerce has created a lot of competition, so you must stand out. Businesses that didn’t even have a website before 2020 have suddenly come online. Fulfillment is emerging as a competitive differentiator. What are you doing to stand out this year?
Many eCommerce brands have a content problem – they simply are unable to create enough quality content to support their marketing efforts. After all, posting great images and written copy to social media multiple times everyday sounds like a full-time job. And it is. If you are unable to do this yourself and can’t hire anyone to do it for you, consider using influencers or freelancers to help.
Personalized messages and products are becoming the norm. You must figure out how to connect with your customers and create a bond with them by providing personalized products. I’ve created a new online shop myself this year, related to skiing (https://adventuresinskiing.com). Many products are completely customizable, as this is all done via print on demand. I’ll be sharing more with you about print on demand (POD) products in the coming weeks and how this can make your site really stand out.
Many consumers are preferring to buy from marketplaces rather than individual websites. Consumers prefer the mental satisfaction of 2-3 day shipping and free returns on most items. Consumers will expect the same from every ecommerce site. Big eCommerce companies offer the best of both worlds: they provide value to consumers and a low barrier to entry for brands to sell online. Yes, we are in the business of developing ecommerce websites, but more importantly we are in the business of helping you sell more online, and consumers are preferring to shop at the big marketplaces. The POD products I’m selling will also be available on marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy, not just my own website. I suggest you do the same.
Green consumerism will grow in popularity. If your products are sustainable, make it a point to let your customers know that; if not, figure out what you can do to make them more environmentally friendly. Being forced into isolation has caused us all to re-think our relationship with the planet we live on and you must be aware of this and how your brand is perceived.
Subscription-based ecommerce is a business model in which consumers subscribe to receive products or services on a recurring basis in exchange for regular payments. While this has been the norm for membership sites and digital products, it is becoming more common with the delivery of goods as well. If you are selling anything consumable, it only makes sense to add a subscription program to your offerings.
So, what are your thoughts going into 2021? Will this be your best year ever? How are you going to ensure that it is? I’d love to hear your thoughts!