Apoorv Bhatt, CEO & Co-founder, Eolstocks.com

Apoorv is an experienced Technical Lead and according to him, consuming technology and creating technology are two different skills. As a Founder, he had to gain this expertise through strenuous hard work. Formerly he collaborated with a few techies to give a shape to his proposition but failed miserably. He succeeded in the second attempt with a trusted team of technology experts who are now driving the innovation of the firm and he also ensures that he understands every aspect of what is happening at the technological end.

Change, transition, and adaptability were concepts made mainstream by the global pandemic of the year 2020. Like the silver lining to every adversity, Covid-19 too proved to be a harbinger of new opportunities across industries. The e-commerce landscape has been no different. The lockdown led to a massive shift towards the online mode of shopping as people couldn’t step out. As a consequence, the e-commerce sector is fast gaining huge popularity because the end of this pandemic still remains unforeseen. In addition, social distancing norms and touchless delivery have made people comfortable with purchasing products online. 

Being a goliath industry, the future of e-commerce is always on everyone’s mind. In 2019, global e-commerce sales amounted to about $3.5 trillion worldwide. This proved that e-commerce is thriving and emerging as a highly lucrative option for businesses. It’s also an industry that is constantly changing and evolving. Trends are continually shaping and reshaping the industry in an attempt to change the way people in every corner of the world shop. This makes the future of e-commerce very exciting. 

Owing to the spurt in its growth and the advent of 2020’s impact on commerce, the e-commerce ecosystem is proliferating. Every day more retailers are shifting to online selling, while entrepreneurs are launching themselves through e-commerce ventures. It is projected that by 2022, e-retail revenues will touch $6.54 trillion, rising up from $3.53 trillion in 2019. 

Here are some of the major trends that are expected to make waves in the e-commerce industry in the year 2021: 

B2B E-commerce to Rise 

B2C no longer dominates the e-commerce landscape. B2B e-commerce sales are projected to grow up to $6.6 trillion in 2021. With continuous digitalization in the technology industry and the supply chain ecosystem in India, B2B e-commerce companies will adopt different methods to cater to their customers. Traders, manufacturers, and wholesalers will show a rise in the adoption of mobile apps and other digital platforms. The sectors expected to boom in the coming years include mobile phones, apparel, grocery, furnishing, and healthcare. 

Mobile Commerce Will Dominate

With customers’ trust growing in online shopping, they are now becoming more comfortable making purchases through their smartphones. In fact, it is expected that by the end of 2021, mobile devices will account for almost 73 percent of total e-commerce sales. Besides, about 30 percent of online shoppers are much likely to abandon their shopping carts midway if they come to know that the brand’s website isn’t optimized for mobile shopping. As online sellers, businesses will have to make it a point to be mobile-friendly and improve the customer experience for mobile users. 

Omni-channel Experience 

All small and big retailers are focusing on Omni-channel experience for their customers and this will give a major boost to e-commerce in 2021 as more people are now shopping from multiple channels instead of relying exclusively on a single medium. Customers of all generations now make purchases online, in marketplaces, from offline stores, and from legacy retailers as well as independent brands. We will continue to see many offline brands making their mark on the e-commerce space and many online-only brands opening brick-and-mortar stores.

AI and AR Will Enhance the Ecommerce Experience

Artificial intelligence (AI) will be the key driver for e-commerce and it is expected that online sellers will spend nearly $7.3 billion on the technology by 2022. Even augmented reality (AR) technologies will be used to provide customers with a rich buying experience. AI acts as an online in-store sales associate and offers personalized guidance and recommendations to the customers. Using previous purchase history and analysing past browsing behaviour, it shows those products to the consumers which they are more likely to buy. In online shopping, buyers cannot try or physically inspect the products that they are eyeing, unlike in physical stores. AR eliminates this restriction and lets customers try on products virtually to see how it would look on them before they go ahead and buy it. AI and AR technologies will drive conversions for e-commerce brands and will reduce the return rate. 

Personalization Will Become Paramount

E-commerce brands need to constantly hone the shopping experience for their customers. Currently, we have algorithms collecting data about consumer behaviours that enable companies to consistently optimize their marketing campaigns. But customers are now growing fatigued of those algorithms and crave personalization in their shopping experiences. They need assurance that brands care about them and their choices. Something as simple as a personalized email, curated discount codes, or personalized newsletters can go a long way in achieving customer retention. Research has shown that nearly 48 percent of people have admitted to spending more money on brands that have given them a hyper-personalized shopping experience. This is precisely why the future of B2B and B2C e-commerce will revolve around brands and businesses finding novel ways of building a direct relationship with the customers and making the marketing campaigns personalized will be one way to do it. The near future will see increased adoption of technologies that support personalization.

E-commerce Automation 

Automation is the future and the e-commerce industry is no different from that trend. Automation is already prevalent in various functions of the B2B and B2C e-commerce from marketing automation to warehousing and even beyond. Every department in the B2B e-commerce organisation has a particular element that can be automated to a certain extent. For instance, businesses that have large warehouses for carrying out their operations can invest in robotics for more efficiency and pace up important tasks in the fulfillment process. Similarly, supply chain management stands to gain hugely from automation software as it can schedule inventory alerts to reorder when stocks become less. Like this, we will continue to see increased application of automation across all processes of e-commerce.

Rise of Voice Commerce 

People have increasingly come to rely on voice assistant devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo with Alexa to do everything, right from setting an alarm to purchasing products online. It is anticipated that voice commerce sales will hit $40 billion by 2022. A major reason for the growth of voice commerce is the accuracy and convenience that it accords to the users. Keeping this in view, e-commerce businesses will also need to optimize their online stores for voice search. They can optimize their top-level conversion funnel content so that answers to usual consumer questions surrounding the businesses’ products and services or the market, in general, can be incorporated. Targeted content that offers value to potential customers will help businesses acquire those customers. 

Summing Up 

E-commerce businesses wanting to make a mark in the future markets must brace themselves to adopt the latest trends. And the sooner they do it, the better. Voice commerce, AI, AR, omnichannel and mobile shopping are all going to make waves in 2021 in the e-commerce landscape and businesses need to take note of this. Businesses that do adapt themselves to these dynamics are more likely to remain in for the long haul achieving greater success. 

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