It can be argued that 2020 was the worst. In fact, I somehow agree with that sentiment. However, we cannot deny that the world has not stopped and the future looks promising. In fact, the data shows that it’s spinning even faster than before, which can actually be a lasting blessing.
The numbers indicate that online commerce experienced 10-year growth in a period of just 90 days. You read well.
In fact, electronic commerce has become so important that the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has shown great interest in digital transformation, saying that regions that do not take advantage of the potential of electronic commerce from now they run the risk of being left behind.
But what does that mean for a digital marketing or SEO agency?
Well. Here are 5 trends you should act on in the future
1 Ecommerce sales are at an all-time high
Due to the record online competition that was driven by e-commerce during the pandemic, digital agencies saw e-commerce sales skyrocket to an unprecedented level with a massive flood of small shops and startups gobbling up large amounts of Big Retail audience.
Legacy wholesalers felt the competition bogeyman breathe down their necks. Furthermore, they were shocked to discover that the monster was nothing more than a great mass of physical startups that, in order to survive, launched themselves into the online world and ate a large portion of their traditional audience.
Nonetheless, the competition turned out to be a blessing. Close to 150 million new shoppers went online as the pandemic raged, and online shopping is said to have jumped 10 years into the future in terms of net trade.
One of the most important lessons learned was that brands that did not take a holistic or “omnichannel” approach were the ones that were left behind. Retailers went right where their audience was. Search engines, social media, mobile device use, streaming services, and even video games are now part of the digital marketing ecosystem by using product and user data to figure out how to reach out to customers without interrupt your online experience.
“The brands that do a better job of making it easier for people to buy their first product will likely trump the ones that have beautiful and intricate stores, but no one knows how to shop in them.”
Loren Padelford, General Manager, Shopify Plus
2 The democratization of the market
Get this into your head: digital marketers have no real power over the market. The future of retail will always be shaped and reshaped by new consumers.
There are experts who say that once the pandemic is over, consumers will resume their old shopping habits. However, 48% of online shoppers have expressed that they intend to continue shopping online. This means that companies will have to offer exactly what they demand.
But there is a problem. Large companies are having trouble keeping up with the innovations that small businesses and decentralized small businesses and startups have brought to the table. Many family stores have turned the in-person shopping ritual into virtual experiences and made it extremely easy to verify, dramatically reducing shopping cart abandonment rates and increasing conversions. This has caused retail stores to lose much of their luster as they traditionally tend to implement cookie cutter strategies.
This does not mean that great players are doomed to failure. Quite the opposite. Many of them quickly learned their lesson and are now leading the charge.
For example, they noted that one of the main challenges for ecommerce stores was shipping costs and return rates. A high rate of return could be devastating for a small business. To solve this, large investments have been made in R&D, especially in 3D modeling and augmented reality. Now they are being applied to the shopping experience, allowing customers to try on clothes or see what a piece of furniture would look like in their living room even before making a purchase. This will reduce the chances of something being returned because it is the wrong size, model, or color, giving big box stores a little breathing space, for now.
3 Shipping is no longer an “extra”
One of the key factors in the e-commerce equation is compliance. Today, people don’t see shipping as a service. For more than 64% of consumers, it should be free. This has changed the way companies approach the consumer journey.
“One of the worst things you can do is have a huge gap between customer experience and expectations.”
David Wagoner, Co-Founder of P3 Media
At first, many companies were turning their stores into fulfillment centers with automated inventory management and a streamlined returns process. Yet real estate developers across the country have been frantically building and repurposing massive storage spaces in fulfillment centers to help e-commerce companies process their orders and win what is now called the last mile race.
In 2020, many companies saw the need to bring their services closer to their customers. Some offered curbside pickup options, which was very convenient as customers felt they were saving on shipping costs. However, this was quickly challenged by the companies offering free shipping.
We all know that shipping is never free, but it should be factored into the final price. But how do you reduce shipping costs? Through the use of strategically located logistics centers.
The demand for storage space has grown so much that industrial real estate developers are ready to pay the higher price that comes with the development of square meters in the center of the city. That is the reason why shipping costs are coming down and more and more ecommerce stores are willing to offer free shipping or even same day shipping.
4 The brand is more important than ever
Market dominance has made the brand more challenging, but even more prominent.
More than half of Internet transactions occur in unbranded environments, such as generic product searches. You may be tempted to think that the brand has become secondary or even useless. However, the competition has made unbranded searches an unwinnable scenario, and more specific keywords have much more conversion potential.
However, the data shows that branding is more important today than ever if you really want to drive traffic to your website. Website design is no longer about creating an efficient transactional site for your products. It’s about creating a destination for shoppers.
“The brand is very important to our business. It is important to have a vision that clients and clients see when they visit our properties online. “
Dan Kogan, founder of 1 Digital Agency
The best way to achieve this is through smart social media campaigns, effective UX-centric designs, and personalized services. Many companies are positioning themselves as exclusive carriers of certain products or customizing certain products to include their brand on them. There are many ways to do this; white labeling, exclusive offers, Instagram influencer acquisitions. The hardest part is finding the right channel and applying personalized marketing strategies by partnering with an SEO agency.
This leads to:
5 Retention now exceeds acquisition
Acquisition costs skyrocketed in 2020. Competition for ad placement on both search engines and social media became so fierce that it drove bidding costs to prohibitively high levels.
Now the magic word is “retention”. Most merchants and online businesses are refocusing their efforts to optimize their conversion funnel to generate customer loyalty. Plus, brands are finding really imaginative ways to reward their most loyal shoppers.
The subscription model is a great example of this phenomenon. Instead of having a one-time transaction with a customer, an increasing number of companies and industries are shifting to a new sales model. Now they are looking to add value in the form of subscriptions that transform their users into subscribers.
And this model doesn’t seem to be limited to traditional industries like magazines, newspapers, and gyms. Now we see it everywhere. Bakeries and breweries, auto repair shops and car wash businesses, candy stores and movie theaters.
The best part is that customers seem to love the idea. The idea of having a constant supply of your favorite products and services is extremely attractive. For businesses, it reduces the costs associated with risk management as they now have a steady stream of income. It’s a win-win situation that reduces acquisition costs and dramatically increases retention.
These 5 new trends have revolutionized the game. At first, there was a lot of fear as companies were forced to close doors and adapt to the new rules. But soon, our collective will help us find new ways to serve our customers.
And we have to keep adapting: third-party cookies are apparently scheduled for termination, which means email addresses are back as the best way to stay in touch with your audience and deliver your message directly to their inbox. .
The era of customers chasing products is coming to an end. They now have the power to dictate where the markets should go and companies cannot escape their bidding.
“I think it all comes down to: where is your customer and where is he inspired, and then deliver the message there.”
Margo Hayes, Director of Digital Strategy, TSG.