2021 is, because of the events, a year that feels special right from the start...
A year on which everyone has high hopes. But it is also a year in which the race to change every area of life we knew before continues. But we don't want to dwell on that too much. Instead, we want to talk about what has changed in the business world. Without the web, many more businesses would probably have been forced to close down. So many businesses have been forced to reinvent themselves, from large B2C companies, but also B2B, to local shops. This is why e-commerce has become indispensable and will become increasingly so.
But what happened to e-commerce in 2020?
Data from the B2C eCommerce Observatory by Netcomm and Politecnico di Milano show that online purchases in Italy were worth 30.6 billion euros, with an increase in product purchases (+31%) and an unfortunately obvious drop in services (-47%).
There are sectors that have been playing in the online shopping field for a long time (IT & Electronics, Clothing, Publishing) and have therefore increased little, there are however many sectors that have instead played like real professionals and have grown at a high rate, such as Food & Grocery (+70% compared to 2019) and Furniture & Home Living (+37% compared to 2019).
In the lush landscape of B2B companies, data from the "B2B Digital Commerce report 2020" research by the Netcomm Consortium tells us that in 2020 75% of companies will use digital channels for some stage of their commercial processes, while 18% will be present on marketplaces. On the other hand, 40% have their own e-commerce (a figure that has increased by 10% over the last five years).
This shows that people, be they private individuals or managers, have not stopped buying, they have simply shifted their purchases to the varied world of the web. On the contrary, Netcomm research has shown that B2B buyers have the same needs as B2C consumers. Companies need to save time, find new solutions and suppliers, consult content, information and prices quickly, find solutions at the best price, receive support at any time of day, and have faster delivery and logistics services.
So what should we expect from the e-commerce universe in 2021?
📱 1. The reign of mobile challenges that of desktop
We now have it with us everywhere we go, whatever we do. One click and the next purchase is on its way. By the end of 2021, mobile purchases will account for 73% of all online purchases.
😍 2. Personal is better
We love to feel unique, don't we? Consumers are looking for a dedication, an opportunity to feel special, so we are looking for personalised solutions that simplify and enhance the shopping experience. This translates into instalment payments tailored to the customer's needs and increasingly sophisticated packaging design. But also in personalised e-mails and discounts, or in tailor-made training courses and advice. And what about the bolt or the frame? An e-commerce can simplify and personalise the sale of even the most unthinkable supplies. Finally, not to be underestimated is the increasingly emerging role of the customer care service, efficient, always available to pamper the customer, able to answer any question from any channel.
🛒 3. Multichannel & Social shopping
We want to be free to buy at any time from any channel. It's no longer enough to have your own e-commerce, you need to be omnipresent, not only in the most popular marketplaces like Amazon, but also on social networks like Facebook and Instagram, which are now real marketing tools for businesses, with a 'Buy' button and a dedicated shopping space. The power of social media is undeniable, so much so that even platforms such as Shopify give their users the opportunity to integrate their online shops with their social channels.
🎙️ 4. The rise of Voice Commerce
Voice assistants will become the main mode of interaction in the coming years, which is why voice shopping is also set to grow. Certainly Amazon has helped to popularise this type of interaction with the launch of its popular Echo virtual assistant, Alexa for friends. The voice shopping experience means that consumers can select the products they want after hearing a verbal description of the product/service they are looking for. Of course, these are customers who already know what they want.
🌳 5. E-commerce green
Sustainability and environmental impact influence purchasing decisions, and green consumerism is on the rise. This is why today, more than ever, companies must work to produce business in a sustainable way. This means recyclable packaging, eco-friendly materials and vegan products, as well as training courses, talks and advice of all kinds exclusively online.
🕹️ 6. The new reality is virtual
Without live events and freedom of movement, many organisations have turned to virtual reality to provide their customers with an alternative and better shopping experience. One of the main limitations of ecommerce is the inability to view the product before purchase, but with virtual reality this problem could be solved. Augmented reality allows shoppers to better understand whether or not the product they are interested in meets their needs. In fact, it is the most authentic way to explore products as in a live shopping experience.
🤖 7. The age of artificial intelligence
Improving service and gaining a competitive advantage is the aim of every retailer, and at last there are tools using artificial intelligence that can help them in this, chatbots for example are the new frontier of e-commerce as they are able to respond in real time to any questions from customers 24/7, but also generate timely offers. The role of artificial intelligence will become even more crucial in the coming years, when, for example, it can be used in areas such as customer care to understand customers' reactions to the products or services they buy.
The customer experience will increasingly be at the heart of every purchasing decision. If your ecommerce promises a great shopping experience, thanks also to all the trends we have talked about, then your customer will be happy to trust you and become attached to what you can offer them.
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