2021 will be the year of eCommerce consolidation and maturity, the year when most companies will start to consider digital sales as a fundamental and no longer residual part of their business. Confirming these claims are the 2021 industry figures: after the boom in online purchases during the pandemic and the encouraging eCommerce statistics in 2020, the current year is confirming expectations. Global revenue from online sales was worth $10.780 billion in mid-2020. Of that, nearly 40% is related to retail. B2C eCommerce has done well in recent months, so much so that it has grown by 27% compared to the previous survey and has reached a total value of 4,280 billion dollars: this has happened due to a combination of factors, such as the increase in online purchases by end consumers certainly, but also the closure of numerous businesses that have inevitably impacted on online B2B transactions.
eCommerce trend, the research
In the focus on eCommerce in Italy 2021, Casaleggio Associati estimated the annual turnover in digital sales at over 48.2 billion euros (with a slight decrease of 1% compared to the previous survey): of this, at least 48% refers to the mobile channel. Also unchanged are the sectors that, more than others, contribute to the exploit of online purchases by Italians: leisure (which would refer to 48% of digital purchases), consumer goods (21%), tourism (11%), food (which, despite the growth of online food purchases in 2020, remains stationary at 5%) and services, especially insurance (5%).
eCommerce trend, 5 tendencies
The growth that has characterized the eCommerce sector over the last year has led to the spread of new habits, preferences and purchasing behaviours, and in this rapidly evolving scenario, some trends have emerged prominently:
Communication strategic role
It would seem trivial to speak of communication as one of the main trends for eCommerce, yet numerous studies demonstrate the growing importance of information for the modern consumer. Enriching storytelling with multimedia and textual content helps provide deeper product knowledge. The need for certainty and knowledge of what will be purchased is becoming increasingly important to turn a search into a purchase. Moreover, it is not enough to provide all relevant information to the potential customer effectively, but it is necessary to do so on all sales channels used. This is because the consumer tends more and more to look for information on the same product through different tools and then choose the most convincing and convenient one. Therefore, in a multichannel logic, it is essential to be present with a comprehensive message, consistent and effective in terms of information provided and tone and language for its target.
The spread of social payment
Social media are no longer just a powerful marketing tool, but have become a new sales channel. TikTok, Facebook and Instagram have now become real sales channels as well as effective showcases. TikTok, for example, has enabled the possibility of making online purchases, through the partnership signed with Shopify, through the function “shop now” and in the U.S. 35% of users of the platform buy through social. This new trend comes from the awareness of the importance that these touchpoints have reached as sales channels, especially concerning impulse purchases among the younger generations. So, social is no longer just a marketing tool through which to gain visibility, provide information and communicate, it becomes a powerful sales channel.
The adoption of Artificial Intelligence
AI and Machine Learning are enabling retailers to improve performance, for example in the analysis of purchasing behaviour at various stages of the customer journey, or about customer segmentation, or even for the prediction of fluctuations in demand over time. In eCommerce, any available data, integrated with other impacting variables and enriched by the company’s know-how, becomes a powerful weapon to improve the efficiency of the commercial and marketing actions that the management intends to implement.
Retargeting and advertising actions
For retargeting we mean those marketing actions aimed at generating conversions through paid advertising campaigns for a user who has already been a visitor to a web page or social. This means implementing static or dynamic actions to effectively finalize a potential purchase. We talk about static retargeting when such actions are defined and applied for a specific cluster of customers who have similar buying behaviours; instead, dynamic retargeting involves the real-time creation of personalized ads for each customer based on their preferences and already known buying behaviours. Finally, if these actions are carried out via email, we talk about remarketing. These new trends arise from the complexity and diversity that characterizes today’s purchase funnel, and if implemented correctly, it becomes possible to synergistically integrate the role of each channel and increase conversions.
Use of Local Inventory Ads
This is a tool developed by Google, through which when a user searches for a product, in addition to providing him with the necessary information to complete the online purchase, he is provided with a card that returns all the information about the physical availability of the product in the nearest store, its price and all the information needed to complete the purchase, such as the fastest route, address and opening hours. This integrates online advertising with offline shopping to generate sales. This tool implies the need for alignment between physical and virtual stock and also the use of available data to optimize the messages to be proposed to the customer based on implicit or explicit behaviours collected over time.
eCommerce trend, a new approach
So, for those operating in this sector, it becomes crucial to keep up with new trends, work from an omnichannel perspective and rely on tools capable of exploiting the wealth of information contained in the data available. It is, therefore, necessary to possess or develop a vision such that each channel must communicate with the rest, even if they often respond to different logics and objectives. This need derives from the evolution of knowledge and the growth of mastery that the consumer has acquired in the digital sphere in recent years. To optimize conversions from this “new” demand, which is increasingly tech-savvy, it is necessary to have an increasingly data-driven approach that is ready to respond to new needs and buying habits.