Customers expect their goods and services only to be a click or tap away in the digital age. ECommerce companies are leading the charge to help consumers get what they want in the shortest amount of time possible. 2019 was a huge year for eCommerce — the industry boasted revenue of more than 3.53 trillion USD. Pretty impressive!
With that said, creating a website and selling products isn’t going to be the strategy that puts you over the top. eCommerce industry leaders are actually moving toward automation to help take their businesses to new heights. Below, we’ll explore some of the eCommerce automation trends for 2021, as well as a few of the other general industry trends that seem to be taking hold. Keep reading to learn more.
Trend #1: COVID-19 Online Shopping Influence
COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed the world as we know it. Many customers and businesses have transitioned to an online-only environment. Lockdowns will likely be our reality until the virus is under control. Luckily, technology has been a saving grace during this period of uncertainty.
Even after COVID-19 is just a fading memory, its impact on eCommerce is likely to stick around. Consumers are used to the idea of shopping online for groceries, home goods, clothing, and other items.
Plus, now you can have virtual visits with your doctor, your therapist, and even your banker!
Trend #2: Voice Search and SEO
With the influx of virtual personal assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant, our lives are increasingly digitized and streamlined. These personal assistants are also helping propel the biggest trend in search: voice search. Instead of relying on manual typing, many customers use their virtual assistants to find answers for them. As customers ask questions aloud like, “Hey Alexa, where is the closest vegan donut shop,” SEO and Google’s rankings will change as more and more people use voice search. The subtleties of spoken word over typed search phrases mean that SEO, as we know it, will likely see a shift.
Trend #3: Automated Marketing
To really push your business to the next level, you might want to try out automated marketing, which is huge trend companies use to save both time and money. Not only does it help your bottom line, but it also gives shoppers and clients the best possible experience.
Need some examples to get you started for automated marketing? Here are a few automated marketing initiatives you can kick off for 2021:
- Auto-scheduling social posts: Plan your social media content calendar ahead of time and schedule outposts to align with the most digitally active time periods of the day.
- Welcome emails: After a customer decides to subscribe to your company newsletter or alerts, consider sending out a welcome email with a discount code or special offers. By sending these emails out right after someone subscribes to your email, you can ensure that your business is still top of mind and, therefore, relevant.
- Birthday or anniversary emails: This is another type of “low hanging fruit” for automated marketing. All you need to do is capture your customers’ birthday information and add it to your email list. When the customer’s birthday rolls around, you can send them a special message with a birthday discount. The same goes for anniversaries!
- Engagement emails: Engagement emails can be sent out based on your customers’ action or even inaction. You can offer an abandoned cart deal for customers who were “window shopping” but didn’t end up purchasing anything. Or, you can offer an exclusive discount for their next order after a successful purchase.
- Surveys: Did your customer find what they were looking for? Did they enjoy their product? A survey email can allow you to gain valuable feedback to improve your product or service. And it can increase overall customer satisfaction. You can also use surveys to get reviews and testimonials that you can later highlight on your website. Plus — if any customers had a bad experience, a survey can help you fix the situation and avoid a public bad review.
- Newsletters: Although newsletters are one of the more labor-intensive marketing initiatives, it’s a great way to keep your customers engaged and interested in your company. Consider sending out e-newsletters weekly, monthly, or even just quarterly. Ensure the newsletters are interesting to read and give a broad overview of what the company has been up to. Newsletters are also a great way to showcase new product and service launches.
Of course, automated marketing goes way beyond just emails and auto-scheduling social media posts. You’ll also need to provide easy-to-use online shopping carts and landing pages that are user-friendly.
Trend #5: Leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is changing the landscape for many companies across multiple industries. Businesses are either preparing to start using AI or already incorporating it into their broader strategy. AI can carry out rote tasks and analyze data that gives businesses important information about their consumer base.
Here are just a few of the ways you can use AI in the eCommerce industry:
- Identify promising target prospects.
- Craft an efficient sales process
- Answer common questions with an automated chatbot
- Improve recommendations for customers
- Verify fake versus real reviews on products and services
- Tackle counterfeit product issues
This is just the tip of the iceberg related to AI and the eCommerce world, but as you can see, it’s making a big impact already. AI will likely continue to grow in importance for businesses around the world.
Wrapping Up: eCommerce Trends, Today, Tomorrow and Beyond
Ecommerce will remain incredibly important going into next year. The industry is still evolving, and your business can easily jump on the automation trends to stay relevant. Consider incorporating some of the ideas found in this article; you might be surprised by how much small tweaks improve your business. It’s important to keep up with the constantly changing world of technology, so you can stay ahead of the trends and capture new interest.