As this year draws to a close it feels more appropriate than ever to look ahead with a positive frame of mind and recognize that despite the things we cannot control there are steps we can take to ensure we master our own destiny.
Over the coming months, we will blog about what the retail industry is experiencing so we can learn from the triumphs and challenges as a community. The significant events of 2020 have forced changes not only in consumer behaviours but in consumers themselves and it is the brands that have been able to flex alongside their customers that have survived, and even thrived.
To help your business win in 2021, here are our top ten predictions for ecommerce evolution in the year ahead.
1. Brick and click
This approach is essential as buyers are now reliant on a digital landscape to research and make their purchases. As shoppers gravitate towards virtual shops and mobile marketplaces, and social media platforms and TV services start to offer a ‘buy now’ button, brands embracing an omnichannel strategy will make themselves available to customers at any time and place.
2. Tip of the tongue
Voice-enabled shopping is on the rise as more and more consumers welcome smart speakers into their homes, using them to research products, compare prices, compile shopping lists and communicate with customer services. Forward-looking brands are building voice assistant strategies into their business plans now.
3. Artificial Intelligence gets real
AI has been growing for a while but in 2021 it will become ubiquitous. From chatbots and data-driven purchasing suggestions to repricing and virtual customer services agents, AI will help sellers to get ahead of trends and streamline critical processes to exceed consumers’ expectations and encourage glowing reviews.
4. Personal touch
Online interactions tailored to consumers as individuals encourage the flow of data brands need to gain a holistic view of their customers’ needs and wants so they can deliver hyper-personalised services across the buyer journey. This will be particularly relevant as sellers seek to capture their share of a market that has increased in response to the pandemic.
5. Achieve fulfillment
As brands continue to expand in the year ahead, automation will play a vital role in their continued success; not just in communicating with their audience, but also in the logistics of faultlessly supplying goods and services. By efficiently automating repetitive business processes, sellers will be able to focus their attention on more creative or complex tasks.
6. Choices, choices
In 2021 options to subscribe, rent or buy-now-pay-later will reduce returns, while e-wallet, and crypto-payments, as well as traditional payment methods, will decrease the chances of customers abandoning their shopping. Similarly, customers are more likely to make a purchase when presented with affordable delivery options that can be tailored to their unique circumstances.
7. Go green
Green credentials have been important to consumers in recent years, a trend set to continue as health concerns abate. Customers want to know the brands they are loyal to are just as environmentally friendly as the products they are buying; using technology to increase efficiency and reduce waste will be crucial to accomplishing these business goals in the year ahead.
8. Flex and bend
The winners in 2020 have been the brands with the ability to quickly adapt and much of this has been enabled by the adoption of the emerging technologies we have already mentioned. In 2021 it is probable that businesses will be less reactive and more proactive about investing in solutions that increase agility and their capacity to meet their obligations.
9. Join the dots
Having all the right tools and tactics is only part of the picture; ensuring your customers have a flawless experience in the new year will depend on your brand’s ability to robustly integrate multiple processes, platforms and solutions so that your business can seamlessly optimise all its components.
10. Good news
We anticipate that over the course of 2021, all of the above predictions will become more affordable and easier to realise as they progress from trends to become mainstream.
If you would like to learn more about how eDesk can help you streamline your customer support in 2021, speak with one of our experts today.