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This is a guest post from Rodney Laws from Ecommerce Platforms.io
The ecommerce industry is in a constant state of iteration. With new tools, technologies, and strategies appearing virtually on a daily basis, the world of ecommerce is always changing and developing.
And in this post-COVID world, ecommerce brands would do well to revamp their strategies, keep their eye on the horizon and spot the key trends that they can use to excel.
With that, read on to discover four ecommerce trends that will make your brand stand out in 2021.
Chatbots will become commonplace for brands
Consumers today are increasingly demanding when it comes to customer service. As social media becomes ubiquitous for brands, customers often take to Twitter to ask questions (or vent their anger), expecting genuine human replies within minutes.
Of course, having a real human being on-hand to answer every customer query isn’t always possible. Sure, you can hire admin staff and virtual assistants, but not all brands can afford this. Consequently, many ecommerce businesses are looking to chatbots to replicate these interactions. It’s entirely possible to achieve a realistic human conversation through advanced chatbot AI.
What really makes brands stand out in 2021, more than great products and memorable marketing, is excellent customer service. This hinges on realistic-sounding chatbot scripts — keep your copy clear, consistent, and concise. Customers don’t want an actual conversation, they need information, and such a clean approach helps achieve this.
But even though it is essentially a robot, don’t feel as though you can’t write in a human tone. Use informal language (within reason), mimicking your brand voice. You don’t need to pretend to be a human (quite the opposite, in fact), but speaking in a naturalistic way will help your chatbot script land better.
New ways of connecting with consumers
For ecommerce brands, keeping customers hooked requires a strategy that is constantly moving and always innovating. Customers get bored easily, so you need a fresh approach that provides variety and value to keep them interested.
This has particular resonance in a post-COVID world. What worked prior to the pandemic might not work today, and as such, we will expect to see new and exciting ways of brands connecting with customers and nurturing those relationships in 2021.
There are already lots of fresh and unique ways to reach new customers: brand collaborations, proximity marketing, and staff as brand ambassadors are just a few examples of these. However, post-COVID, the best ecommerce brands will find their own ways to connect with their customers.
Start by considering your customers’ specific needs. If one audience segment leans heavily on Facebook as their primary social platform, for instance, your strategy should start here. Social platforms roll out new features all the time — native shopping, instance, or Story features — and a keen awareness of these will help you build creative methods of connecting with consumers.
Whichever approach you adopt, it will ultimately need to be value-led. With customer financial circumstances changing following coronavirus (not to mention their personal priorities in terms of shopping habits), brands that offer value will stand out against those that don’t.
Social selling will see greater growth everywhere
Social selling has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, with virtually every social platform introducing some form of social selling feature for its users.
Take Instagram, for example. Its Shoppable posts let you peruse a carousel of products, clicking and buying them natively, without ever leaving the app. Naturally, this blend of social media and ecommerce is a huge boon for ecommerce brands, letting them sell products in an organic and creative way.
While social selling is nothing new per se, its popularity is rapidly increasing. More than half of customers today have bought something via a social platform, and that number will continue to grow. It’s therefore crucial that your brand spreads itself across a plethora of social platforms and embraces social selling in 2021.
Indeed, it is quite possible that brands will place greater emphasis on social stores than their own dedicated online store. While it won’t replace the latter, as more and more customers use social to browse their favourite brands and products, the social commerce ecosystem will only continue to evolve to meet these needs.
For your brand, this is not an option — social selling is all but mandatory in 2021. It’s organic, effective, and sells where your customers are active most. What’s not to love?
Secondhand ecommerce will grow in popularity
2020 has seen a surge in the popularity of sustainability. As consumers become ever more concerned about the growing problem of climate change and global warming, the world of ecommerce has adapted to meet those concerns.
This has led to an increase in demand for secondhand clothes, jewelry, and other goods. As trade moves from the high street towards the web, we can expect to see more and more ecommerce businesses embracing the appeal of used, secondhand, or vintage-style goods.
The huge popularity of Depop is a good example of this. Specializing in preloved, vintage, and streetwear, the app lets style-conscious shoppers nab secondhand clothes for half the price — indeed, secondhand is virtually an industry in itself.
As well as being better for the environment, secondhand ecommerce is also generally cheaper than buying new products. This affordable and eco-friendly trend will only continue to grow in 2021 as the global warming crisis looms ever larger and consumer budgets are squeezed by the ongoing pandemic.
Ecommerce is in a constant state of flux, always offering new and exciting ways for brands to grow and develop. The trends highlighted here are just a few of the ways that ecommerce will transform in 2021. Keep your eye on the horizon and adopt these trends early to ensure your brand stands out this year.
Rodney Laws is an ecommerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. Check out his reviews on EcommercePlatforms.io and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business. Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsio.