Is e-commerce profitable now

The Future of Ecommerce: How Ecommerce Will Change in 2021 and Beyond

E-commerce is a huge industry. So it's not surprising that people keep asking about the future of e-commerce.

Worldwide sales in the e-commerce segment totaled nearly $ 3.5 trillion in 2019, proving that e-commerce is an increasingly lucrative option for businesses.

That’s enormous. And what's even better is that this is certainly not a new trend.

In fact, there was an average growth rate of 25.6 percent in ecommerce sales from 2014 to 2017.

These are hard facts that prove e-commerce is thriving - and has been for a while.

E-commerce is also an industry that is constantly changing. Trends are constantly changing, which has a huge impact on the way people buy products in all parts of the world.

That makes the future of e-commerce very exciting.

A lot of big things are expected to change with regard to ecommerce in the years to come. We would like to give you a little insight into the future of e-commerce and show you how you can benefit from these trends.

We'll analyze some of the top trends in 2021, discuss what we think will be the most important changes in the next few years, and then outline the greens behind those changes.

There's a lot to discover, so let's jump right in.

Don't wait for someone else to do it. Set yourself up and take the reins in hand.

Start for free

Future of e-commerce for retail

1. Emerging economies will play a major role

Emerging markets like India, China, Brazil, Russia and South Africa are expected to play a big role in the future of ecommerce.

This may not come as a complete surprise given the recent economic growth in some of these countries, but let's take a closer look at it.

It is estimated that around 3 billion potential emerging market buyers will have access to the internet by 2022. That's a lot of potential customers.

In addition, 20 percent of all retail sales in 2022 are expected to come from buyers based in these emerging markets. That's a lot of potential sales.

What is very exciting about all of this is that many of these markets are still relatively untapped by the existing online shops.

That means there is a lot of potential for existing companies to diversify and reach new audiences.

It also means that there are plenty of opportunities for new ecommerce brands to enter these emerging markets and tailor their services to local audiences.

2. The debate: e-commerce vs. physical commerce

We cannot talk about the future of e-commerce without mentioning the ever-growing debate about the tension between digital and brick-and-mortar retail.

In general, people in the e-commerce industry fall into one of two camps in this debate.

There are people who believe that it is only a matter of time before brick and mortar retail stores will fade in favor of an even bigger shift towards online shopping.

And there are those who prophesy a renaissance for physical shopping.

Our attitude to it?

It is undeniable that the growth in online shopping is outpacing sales in stationary retail.

But that doesn't mean that branch stores aren't still an incredibly valuable asset for ecommerce brands.

Instead of presenting themselves as the local version of their online stores (which typically have access to much more inventory), brick and mortar stores seem to be shifting towards offering unique shopping experiences. Digital retail and brick-and-mortar retail therefore follow different approaches.

Let's look at Nike. The brand has expanded into both New York and Shanghai with its brand new adventure shopping venues. The company also calls these places “Houses of Innovation”.

In the new branches of Nike you can pick up exclusive products, customize products according to your taste, take fitness tests, try out brand new products, use a personal shopper and much more.

These are experiences that you simply cannot have online and that strongly cement loyalty to a brand.

Then we also have Shopify. The e-commerce giant recently opened a location in Los Angeles to help emerging entrepreneurs. This also helps new and old customers to experience the company's products and brand in a whole new light.

All in all, exclusive experiences are what we see as the future of stationary retail locations. These are experiences that are permanent and cannot be found anywhere else.

3. B2B trading

Electronic commerce is no longer dominated by the B2C segment. B2B e-commerce sales are expected to grow to $ 6.6 trillion this year.

There is a growing trend for companies to buy software, products, and services for their own employees. It has never been more important for companies to have the right software to automate as many processes as possible. Ergonomically high-quality chairs for the well-being of employees are also something that companies attach great importance to today.

B2B no longer just describes wholesalers selling to retailers. It's a booming industry led by software and technology companies. Almost every day there are new tools that automate or redefine activities and thus relieve us of manual tasks.

These advances in technology make our lives easier and businesses more profitable. It is therefore not surprising that companies devote more budget to B2B purchases every year.

If you're a B2B retailer, make sure your ecommerce store allows for large orders, volume-based discounts, and the ability to easily reorder. With all these functions in your webshop, there are no limits to your way to the top.

4. Automation in e-commerce

Automation in the electronic mail order business is a core element of online business that is becoming more and more important. This extends from marketing automation to warehousing and beyond. Today every department or business unit has elements that can be automated to a certain extent.

This trend is great because it frees up employees time and resources for more important work. For example, companies that have large warehouses can invest in robotics. This makes them more efficient and allows them to deploy staff for more important fulfillment tasks.

Supply chain management can benefit from automation software that can schedule inventory alerts for re-ordering when inventory is running low.

The possibilities for automation in e-commerce are almost limitless. With a little research, you too will find solutions that will bring you and your business forward.

5. Shipping and Fulfillment

Another advancing trend in e-commerce is the increase in shipping and fulfillment centers around the world. As more and more customers buy their goods online, there is a need for fulfillment centers that can ship and deliver these items in the shortest possible time.

As a result, fulfillment centers around the world are becoming smarter and more automated. These full-service fulfillment networks guarantee your company fast shipping, access to real-time data and allow you to perfectly present your brand from, checkout to delivery.

Ecommerce entrepreneurs are spoiled for choice these days, especially in developed and busy ecommerce centers. By having multiple locations in one country or around the world, your products are closer to the consumer, which means reduced transport time and costs.

The race for faster delivery times has never been more competitive. Fortunately, there are affordable ways to survive in this competition these days.

6. Environmentally conscious buyers

Today's online shoppers are better informed and more demanding. It's no longer just about which store can offer the best prices. Customers are now interested in B. also for the effects that a product can have on the environment. For a larger group of customers, plastic is now simply out. And when it comes to buying containers, glass is in.

Sustainable products - this is more than just a catchphrase associated with the rise of environmental activists. It is only right that retailers follow suit and ensure that their products do not have a negative impact on the environment.

For example, if you're a makeup brand, you could also offer your customers vegan options as this has become a very popular trend.

As this trend continues, sourcing these types of products is getting easier every day.

7. Private label

Private label means that a unique product is made by one company but packaged and sold under the brand name of another company. This method enables retailers to offer unique products without investing a lot of capital building their own product line. Corresponding companies can rely on manufacturers to deliver products that are very specifically tailored to the needs of their audience.

Private labeling is great for a company as it increases the perceived value of the product. For companies selling unbranded or dropshipping products, private labeling can be the next step.

Why is this an e-commerce trend? If you're in a niche that relies on certain materials not being used or certain standards to be met, private labeling is the way to go.

For example, VegexPro offers own-brand products with certifications such as organic, HACCP, kosher, halal, RAW, vegan, gluten-free and fair trade. This manufacturer would be a good partner if your customers want vegan or gluten-free products.

The trend towards more bespoke products makes e-commerce retail affordable and lowers the barrier to entry into a highly competitive area. If your customers are starting to inquire about bespoke products, this could be a good option.

Future of e-commerce for marketers

8. Device usage becomes even more important

When it comes to the future of e-commerce, one thing is clear: the devices that shoppers use to shop online will become much more important.

But why exactly?

In the past, most e-commerce companies built their shopping experiences with a desktop experience in mind.

Now it's the other way around. E-commerce companies are careful to develop their online stores with mobile users in mind. Desktop users come second.

That might seem like an odd adjustment. In fact, it makes a lot of sense, especially when you consider that an estimated 45 percent of all business decisions will be made on the mobile phone in 2021.

And that's equivalent to sales of $ 284 billion.

But, and this is potentially even more interesting: Research has shown that 56 percent of buyers already use their mobile devices at home for product research.

This contradicts the earlier doctrine that mobile websites should be designed to be easily digestible for shoppers on the go.

Now buyers want the full shopping experience on all devices.

With that in mind, Shopify will make it pretty easy to get your audience excited.

Here you have access to a plethora of themes designed to ensure a seamless shopping experience no matter what device your customers are using.

Also, you can easily check the adaptive version of your shop design by resizing your browser. If you work on the desktop, you can simply zoom out and see exactly what your customers see with mobile devices. This is just one of the many benefits of running your business on Shopify.

9. Video is on the rise

Ecommerce companies will need to hone their video skills as this medium is likely to play a major role in the future of ecommerce.

Research has already shown that 60 percent of customers would rather watch a product video than read a product description when shopping.

Additionally, 64 percent of shoppers make a purchase after watching branded videos on social media.

These changes in shopping behavior could be due to the development of popular social media applications like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, all of which have pushed updates (think Instagram Stories) that prioritize video content.

Or it could be due to the multitude of massively successful YouTube channels that focus on unboxing, rating, and discussing brand new products (unboxing).

When you combine these two factors, it's no surprise that shoppers are becoming more accustomed to consuming video content while shopping.

So it is only logical that e-commerce companies should also adapt to this change.

So adding video elements to your product offerings and integrating video into your marketing strategy is a must if you want your web store to be successful this year and beyond.

10. The Future of Ecommerce Marketing

Ecommerce businesses can't be successful with great products alone - they have to attract customers and encourage them to buy.

This is exactly why great marketing will always be an integral part of success in e-commerce.

Successful marketing often also means adaptation. So what will the future of ecommerce marketing look like? How will brands have to adapt to ensure they are reaching the right buyers through the right channels?

Well, we've already talked about how important the smartphone will be in the future. And that also applies to marketing in online trading.

Today's shoppers are becoming more and more familiar with browsing and shopping on their mobile devices. With this in mind, it is important that companies adapt and learn to optimize their marketing campaigns for the mobile phone as well.

But it's not just mobile marketing that is expected to grow in importance for ecommerce businesses.

So z. B. predicts that content marketing will become even more important than it is today to attract attention. 78 percent of buyers say that relevant content increases their intent to buy.

Essentially, good content helps brands convince potential customers of what their company stands for. And that's one of the greatest marketing successes companies can hope for.

11. Personalization as the key to success

Ecommerce companies are constantly working to improve the shopping experience for their customers.

Already today there are algorithms that collect and evaluate data about your behavior and probably know more about your tastes than your closest friends and family members.

In this way, companies can ensure that their marketing campaigns are consistently optimized.

They are constantly working to show us exactly the products they think we are most likely to buy.

But maybe we're reaching a turning point here.

There seems to be some fatigue because people know that communication is through algorithms and not through real people. Accordingly, they long for a personalization of their shopping experiences.

Buyers want to feel like they are being looked after on the other side of the screen. The whole thing doesn't have to be too complex. It could be as simple as a personalized email, a custom discount code, or something else.

Research supports this assessment: 41 percent of buyers said they had already switched from companies they actually liked due to poor personalization.

In addition, 48 percent of shoppers end up spending more money with a company when they are offered a personalized shopping experience.

What does it all mean?

Well, if you are like us, you will likely receive regular emails from companies recommending products to you “based on your recent purchases”.

Here's a scenario: You buy a blender from an online store. Great. You will receive an email from the same company in the next week. Subject line: “Hi, we saw you bought a blender. Here are other models that you should have a look at. "

At this point, algorithms fall short.

Of course we don't need another mixer.

A real account manager would know that such an email makes no sense to us. The only thing this achieves is the feeling of an impersonal shopping experience.

For this very reason, an integral part of the future of mail order business will be about companies and entrepreneurs finding ways to build direct relationships with their customers.

Optimizing your marketing campaigns with elements of personalization is an easy way to start building such relationships.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • When sending emails to your audience, you should address the recipients by their name.
  • Send them advance notice of upcoming product launches to show your appreciation. Bonus points are awarded for sending them content related to previous purchases.
  • Ask your customers for feedback on the products they buy. This will also help you use social proof as a marketing tactic.

These points just scratch the surface. You yourself know best what goes down best with your audience. So don't be afraid to run some tests and see which will bring the greatest success.

12. Customer experience

Both the customer experience in-store and in the online shop is extremely important for the success of your business.

Hiring top-notch salespeople can make the sales process smoother and more worry-free for your customers and have an effective impact on your sales.

Similarly, optimizing your online sales process with your customers' expectations in mind is extremely important. This means that you should test your sales process or your checkout with actual people in order to identify any points of friction in advance.

Here are a few things to test on your website:

  • Your call-to-action (CTA)
  • The length of your checkout process
  • The information asked for on the checkout page
  • Your communication
  • The structure of your product pages

These measures can effectively contribute to the user experience of your company.

13. AI and chatbots

The change in e-commerce is also expressed in the use of AI and chatbots, which are intended to lead visitors to online shops to their destination more quickly.

Chatbots have been around for a number of years and are constantly being developed to answer customers' questions and take on many other customer service tasks. This is ideal for companies that operate in many different countries but don't have the resources to be online 24/7 to serve customers.

AI assistants are also very important for online shops as they can manage inventory levels, reorders and other processes. This gives e-commerce entrepreneurs more time for the really important things that drive the business forward.

AI and chatbots have really picked up speed in the past five years, with advances in technology meaning this trend will continue into the future. Every year, AI is used in different disciplines or areas of the company. If you run a Shopify store, be sure to check out some of the AI ​​apps designed for it that can help your business today.

14. Interactive products

One of the biggest drawbacks to e-commerce is the fact that customers can't try the product before buying, as they would in a physical store. In a 2018 survey, 51 percent of customers stated that the biggest disadvantage of online shopping is that they cannot touch, feel or try out a product in advance.

Unfortunately, this experience is almost completely lost in electronic trading. However, technology can help here. Augmented Reality (AR) technology can be used to create impressive shopping experiences where shoppers can engage with the products before they buy them.

For example, Shopify AR allows brands to show their customers their products in natural surroundings before buying them. In this way, you can ensure that the product in question really corresponds to your own ideas. With this technology, customers can quickly make informed purchasing decisions.

Interactive product viewing through AR or VR is still new, but e-commerce brands are quickly adapting them to help customers choose the right product.

15. Informed buyers

When it comes to where to buy products, especially more expensive products, customers tend to do their research online. Even if they end up buying a product in the local store, shoppers tend to do their research online beforehand.

A V12 study found that 81 percent of shoppers researched online before buying. This is a huge number that shows the importance of being found on social media, Google search, and everywhere potential customers go.

If your customers research a product and you give them all the right information at the right time, they may choose to buy from you instead of in-store. Understanding your target audience and the way they buy products can help you build trust and grow your customer base.

Here are some more stats describing the future of e-commerce for the informed shopper:

Final remarks on the future of e-commerce

The future of e-commerce will no doubt be full of exciting change and innovation - for both businesses and buyers. The digital transformation in retail will continue to prevail and determine many trends.

Whether you are an entrepreneur or work in an e-commerce company yourself, you should keep up to date with changes and trends in e-commerce.

Our best advice is to keep learning.

Read articles. Watch videos. Listen to podcasts.

Try to gather as much information as possible about the e-commerce segment in order to give yourself an edge over your competition.

So what do you think Do you have any predictions for the future of ecommerce in 2021 and beyond?

Was there something that you think is missing from our list that you would like to learn more about? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.

Would you like to find out more?