About the author
Hann P. is a copywriter at ConnectPOS, a cloud POS software for omnichannel retail stores in multiple platforms including Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, WooCommerce. Being fascinated with Fintech and E-commerce, she has been keeping an eye on particularly how technology has been changing the game in the fields. In the article below, she analyses TOP 4 Online Retail Trends To Maximize Profits In 2021.
Making as much profit as possible is the core of every business, and retail stores are no exception. Especially when the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing people to cut back on their spending, it’s vital for online retailers, in particular, to be more creative to not only maintain their sales but also maximize their profit. To achieve that, they need to stay up-to-date, or even be ahead of any trend. And we’re here to help. In today’s issue, we’ll present you with the 4 most prominent online retail trends that are going strong in 2021 and the upcoming years.
Voice commerce is emerging
In this technology-driven era we’re living in, people are more and more counting on voice assistant devices like Amazon Echo with Alexa and Google Home with Google Assistant. From searching products online to ordering, paying, and requesting shipment, all can be done simply by asking the voice assistant to do that. According to Loup Ventures, 75% of households in the USA will have smart speakers by 2025. Besides, voice commerce sales are expected to reach US$40 billion by 2022. These numbers are promising for the voice commerce industry, making it one of the not-to-miss online retail trends.
(Source: Startup Grind)
The reason behind this positive attitude towards voice commerce is the ultimate convenience it offers. With a simple voice command on a voice assistant, buyers can save time on browsing, entering their payment and shipping information. Even better, the device remembers past purchases, making it very easy to repeat the order. With that being so, customers can make their order while still doing other stuff as they never have to touch a single screen.
Another reason why voice commerce is on the trend is the constantly increasing accuracy and convenience of the technology. Both Google and Amazon are supporting and optimizing regional languages in their virtual assistant devices to make it more convenient for customers to shop through voice command.
Here are 4 ways to prepare your e-commerce site for voice queries:
- Pay attention to long-tail keywords to optimize your content for voice searches
- Include new functions on Alexa and Google voice assistant devices
- Optimize your website and mobile app by integrating voice-based navigation
- Streamline and simplify the check-out process to make it compatible with voice command
AR enhances the authenticity of online shopping
Augmented Reality (AR) has been around for a while–a major game-changer in e-commerce and one of the key technologies in the retail industry today. It helps minimize ambiguity while customers do online shopping. The online retail industry has brought customers many undeniable benefits. However, there has always been one downside: online shoppers can’t actually feel the product or try it on.
(Adapted from ETI Labs)
With AR, shoppers can now see how it would look like while they are wearing a certain clothing item or how nice their home would look with a certain piece of furniture. This reassures customers of the genuineness of online purchases, urging them to hit the ‘buy now’ button. Without a doubt, leverage AR is definitely one of the online retail trends to watch out for in the upcoming years.
Among plenty of tech-savvy retailers, IKEA takes the cake with its AR-based app. The brand has always been deemed a trailblazer in applying new technology to improve its products and overall retail experience. In 2017, IKEA launched the IKEA Place app adopting Apple’s new ARKit technology. With the app, users can snap a photo of the place where they would like to visualize an IKEA item. Then they browse the app, select the product to insert it into their photo to see if the piece of furniture works for their place.
(Source: Tech Crunch)
Gartner predicted that 100 million consumers will shop using AR by 2020, so it is interesting to see how that shakes the online retailing industry in the forthcoming years.
AI helps online retailers learn about shoppers
Another aspect of offline shopping that has been lost in the online counterpart is the helpful in-store assistants. They are who can make product recommendations and offer personalized guidance based on the shopper’s needs and demands. That’s when a powerful technology called AI comes in handy.
The prevalence of AI (Artificial Intelligence) is increasing. It’s because retailers are finding new ways to enhance personalization and improve customer service by connecting customer data with real-time insights.
Specifically, with machine learning - a subunit of AI - it becomes possible for websites and apps to make personalized product recommendations for each customer. It’s powered by the AI ability to ‘learn’ a person’s buying behavior and preference through wishlists, past purchases, browsing history, etc.
Moreover, natural language processing applied in AI-based chatbots can also automate tasks such as 24/7 customer support. In fact, more than 60% of customers say that they prefer to have bots and other digital self-service tools to answer simple questions. One of the major reasons for this is the faster response time.
(Source: Martech Advisor)
All in all, the application of AI in the online retail industry is diverse and efficient. Not only does it help enhance customer experience but it also supports merchants with up-selling and cross-selling.
Leading fashion brand Natori adopted AI to make smarter decisions for their digital ad spending. And the result was phenomenal: the brand saw a 76% increase in social media revenue in its first 6 months.
Customers are demanding more ways to pay
The retail space has been witnessing the emergence of numerous payment methods lately. Customers are also demanding more and better payment options. For example, when shopping from an overseas business, customers tend to expect to be capable of using their preferred local payment provider to pay for their purchases.
Additionally, e-commerce websites are increasingly using Apple Pay, Paypal, and other financing options that enable a frictionless check-out. The ability to offer multiple payment methods is among the major reasons why customers choose a specific brand. In fact, if you don’t offer your customers their go-to payment option, they are unlikely to purchase from your online retail store. That’s the reason why offering multiple payment alternatives is a must for keeping your digital buyers satisfied and loyal. According to Leeline Sourcing, digital payment methods are the most popular in Western Europe and China whiile eCommerce customers from Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, on the other hand, prefer cash on delivery.
As of now, other than debit and credit cards, almost all e-commerce businesses accept payment gateways and e-wallets like Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, etc. Additionally, cryptocurrencies, with low transaction fees and no reverse transactions, are becoming more and more favored by online retailers in certain countries. For example, Overstock partnered with Coinbase, a Bitcoin platform, to enable buyers to pay for their order using Bitcoin.
In 2021, we might see more e-commerce businesses start accepting cryptocurrencies. So offering more kinds of payment like Bitcoin is doubtlessly an online retail trend that you don’t want to miss.
Above are the 4 online retail trends that we believe will interrupt the e-commerce industry in the forthcoming years. We hope that online retailers like you can see your potential and find ways to make the most out of these opportunities with today’s issue. Should you have any questions or need further assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us now! It’s always our pleasure to be your supportive companion on the way to your business success.