Entrepreneurship And New Frontiers In eCommerce For 2021
Evolution demands both structuralization as well as adaptation. And while markets by their very nature are constantly evolving, we’ve never seen a market quite like 2020 in recent years.
If you can remember 1994, then you can remember a time in which online commerce was practically nonexistent. There were, of course, exceptions—but nothing close to the magnitude of the $3.9 Trillion entity we saw in 2020. Amazon changed that entirely. By providing an online service which initially began with one specific category, they catapulted themselves into the largest global retail platform; one which subsequently changed the very face of retail trade as we know it.
Focus. Scope. Delivery. All three are fundamental components of retail commerce. All three rely on structuralization. And all three have one critical element and one critical objective: the consumer. But consumer demands are changing. Needs are changing. And markets are changing. If entrepreneurs hope to adapt to a changing digital marketplace, they need to adapt to three key deliverables in 2021.
Video: The Core of Your Business
Product imagery may take center stage in any form of digital optimization. But in 2021, video will be the decisive factor of your success in eCommerce.
Video is currently predicted to constitute 80 percent of all global internet traffic in 2021, resulting in what’s been estimated to be 70 percent of the top 100 search listings. And consumers plainly expect video from a brand. It’s what conveys product information directly in the absence of physical impression.
But the digital audience of today is a different audience than just five years ago. They’re not as concerned with a meticulously curated video marketing campaign as much as the direct applicability of a product to their lives. Consumers want relatability and authenticity, both of which can be bolstered by integrating user generated videos alongside your own branded video content. As early as 2015, it was estimated that customers would be four times more likely to watch a video detailing product usage than read a description—and as video continues to dominate online traffic, that number will only increase. Because that’s the nature of digital commerce: the connection between the visual and the verbal.
Social Shopping Will Be the New Standard in 2021
It’s been estimated that the average user spends approximately two and a half hours a day on over eight different social media networks. That social media is intimately woven into the fabric of our daily lives is undeniable. But how will social networks affect digital commerce in 2021?
In the past, shoppers used social media either to gain purchasing inspiration or simply keep up with the latest developments of their favorite brands. And that’s a trend which won’t go away in 2021. But social shopping combines browsing, engagement and purchasing into a single access point which merges everyday habits with consumer needs. And despite initial reservations over the potential for security and privacy vulnerability, it’s poised to become the new standard over the coming months.
When Facebook announced the launch of their onsite eCommerce platform Facebook Shops in May 2020, stock prices in the social media network soared by approximately 6.4 percent to over $230 a share with a reported 90 million small businesses looking to social media as more than simply an advertising platform. Nor is Facebook the only social giant to offer retail sales. Their sister network Instagram launched a similar storefront app in 2019 to no small degree of success, while Shopify recently announced a partnership with TikTok which would allow vendors to connect their TikTok for Business account to shoppable video feeds directly within Shopify.
V-commerce: The Voice of a New Generation?
Almost 40 percent of the total US population are currently using some form of voice activated technology, driven by both convenience and need. But is it viable as a marketing tool in eCommerce?
The answer is a resounding yes. Not only is mobile commerce on the rise, but voice activated commerce—its logical outgrowth—has grown by leaps and bounds in just twelve short months. Close to half of all online searches are voice enabled, helping to drive what’s predicted to be a $40 Billion industry in the US by 2022. Already, an estimated 23 million US consumers have already used voice activated technology to complete a purchase in 2020, an increase of over 40 percent from 2018. But it’s not Google leading the surge in eCommerce. It’s Amazon.
Amazon’s smart speaker segment (including Dot Echo and Alexa) grew by 500 percent during the third quarter of 2019, dwarfing the 3.5 million voice activated units shipped by Google during that same period. And not surprisingly, the fastest growing adoptees of voice commerce are also one of the most powerful global consumer segments: millennials. A 2020 PYMNTS.com poll of some 10,000 respondents revealed that over 84 percent of millennials cited reduced frustration as critical to their adoption of voice activated technology, while close to 81 percent, noted it improved their life quality significantly.
But voice commerce is only one tip of the mobile-born iceberg. As newer AI developments emerge in 2021, their adoption depends on both functionality and realism. The digital consumer demands an online purchasing experience that doesn’t just match physical retail, but surpasses it in detail and personalization. Digital entrepreneurs need to be prepared to weigh both applicability and ROI before choosing to integrate newer technologies into their online presence. 2021 may not be a continuation of 2020. But 2022 will likely be an altogether different retail landscape than both.
Color More Lines provides white glove, global account management of your eCommerce platforms so mission-driven companies can focus on new product development, branding and growth strategies. Find out more at Color More Lines.