The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a rapid shift toward online shopping. In 2021, there’s no sign of e-commerce slowing down. When surveyed, 60% of consumers who went digital said they don’t plan on ever turning back.
No matter what you sell, you need to be an online business—at least to some capacity. E-commerce is the future. Its growth is two years ahead of itself. If you want your business to thrive for years to come, you can no longer afford to be stuck in retail’s past.
No one could prepare for a pandemic. Luckily, entrepreneurs can prepare for the future of e-commerce. Here’s what you need to know about e-commerce trends in 2021 and how you can make sure you don’t get left behind.
Focus on the User Experience
The majority of businesses have websites these days. Having a website is a basic step you need to take to stay in the game. And in 2021, the website you create needs to be one that customers will love to use.
Focusing on the user experience is crucial for two reasons. First, customers can choose from a wide array of brands, which means they’ll naturally flock to the ones they enjoy buying from. Buyers have the power.
Second, search engine algorithms are increasingly prioritizing user-friendly sites. Mobile-friendliness and page load times are two factors that affect your site’s ranking on Google.
Postal Exam suggests making your website as readable and easy to navigate as possible. Modern consumers are attracted to great design, so your webpages shouldn’t be cluttered with text. Instead, be concise and offer a clear call to action and navigation on each page.
Adapt to the Rise of Social Media Selling
With more competitors on the internet than ever, it’s crucial to take an omnichannel approach to sales to avoid letting an opportunity slip by. Having a website is no longer enough to engage all your potential customers. Consumers are shopping from a wide variety of online channels these days—from Google and eBay to Amazon and Etsy—and social media is the next frontier.
Social media brands are designing their platforms for the future of e-commerce by allowing customers to browse products, check prices, and make purchases directly on their platforms. They’re creating social commerce—and it’s powerful. Chris Bell, founder of consumer products company Perch, predicts that revenue from Facebook and Instagram Shops will overtake Walmart’s e-commerce revenue in 2021.
In 2021, entrepreneurs need to jump on this trend as it starts to fully take off. Make it easier for consumers to buy from you by enabling social commerce. Then, capitalize on this sales channel with these tips:
- Engage with customers. Social selling can be powerful because it allows you to build relationships while making sales. Offer quick turnaround when responding to DMs and comments.
- Keep track of metrics to ensure your products or services are actually reaching users.
- Invest in social media ads to expand the reach of your on-platform store.
Build Your Modern Entrepreneurial Skills
Online sales and marketing channels are now essential for modern businesses. In the midst of this shift, you can expect automation to take over many key processes in 2021—though DeVry University states that manpower will still be crucial in the future of business.
However, your team members may need to update their skill sets. For your team to use technology to its advantage, your staff must be skilled at critical thinking, creativity, empathy, and more skills that robots can’t replace. As you automate your e-commerce sales processes, these skills will help your team connect with clients and stay ahead of competitors.
Consider supporting continuing education for your team to help them hone these much-needed skills. Help your team connect with mentors, access workshops, and more, so they can continue helping you scale.
Prepare for Rapid Shifts in Demand
As e-commerce grows at a rapid pace in 2021, it’s possible that your company will experience sudden growth, too. We see it all the time. Every month, there are new brands going viral—and some can’t keep up with demand.
Don’t be unprepared. When the time comes to rapidly scale, you should be ready to maximize the opportunity. If you’re selling products, it’s crucial to shift to a third-party fulfillment model and make sure your fulfillment company is equally prepared for growth. If you’re working with a manufacturer or wholesaler, they should be able to up your order volume fast.
Similarly, your website should be scalable. Make sure it can handle a high volume of traffic and orders at once. Ideally, your e-commerce platform should allow for international orders, too.
Enter the Future of E-Commerce
E-commerce is changing the way consumers behave. In 2021 alone, you can expect shifts toward social commerce, better user experiences, and more. As an entrepreneur, you need to be proactive about the ever-changing online world to ensure your business has a place in the future.
Guest post courtesy of Beau Peters