For most of us, 2020 was – as the year’s most famous buzzword notes – unprecedented. For many, it was a sad year peppered with sickness and death and plenty of missed opportunity to be with those we loved. Others saw their businesses falter while some saw a total turn around in the way they conducted business. Still, others went on with business as usual, fortunate to be relatively untouched by a pandemic that certainly wreaked havoc on the world.

As the first doses of the vaccine are administered and we look forward to putting 2020 behind us, we certainly reflect on the way Covid has changed the world. One of those ways most definitely has to do with the way we now purchase items of all sorts, from groceries and other necessities to books, entertainment, and frivolities that we simply crave in order to make life a bit more fun.

Think about the things you’ve purchased during your extended time at home. We bet the list is long! Quarantine fatigue has invigorated the world of e-commerce for sure and purchasers are gobbling up everything from stickers and socks to computers and home theater equipment.

If you’re a business owner who deals in e-commerce, you’ve learned how important it is to make it easy for potential customers to purchase items or services from your website. Smart owners have done everything they can to make the buying process simple and have been rewarded for their diligence with increased sales and income.

Now, as 2021 nears, our experts say there’s plenty of e-commerce trends to watch out for in the new year.

  • Voice-assisted commerce – Did you know that more and more people rely on virtual helpers like Alexa and Google Home to make purchases? Statistics show that these virtual assistants were responsible for initiating billions of sales in 2020. That’s why it’s important to optimize your online store for voice search. Things like offering voice-based navigation on your website and ensuring products can be purchased with a simple flow using voice command become essential to capturing traffic.
  • Use of AI and AR – The implementation of AI (artificial intelligence) allows website owners to supply their customers with an online in-store associate that can recommend products by accessing shoppers’ past purchasing history and buying habits. Similarly, AR (augmented reality) helps ease the frustration of not being able to physically inspect a product by offering them a way to “try it on” before purchasing. The use of either or both result in an increase in conversions, studies show, and a decrease in returns.
  • Expansion of payment options – You know how you get annoyed when your favorite boutique or little corner market doesn’t take Apple Pay? Well, your online customers get frustrated too when they have only one or two options for paying on your site. Trends show that really successful e-commerce sites are offering customers a variety of payment choices. One up-and-coming option may be Bitcoin, which is now being accepted on popular retail sites like Overstock, CheapAir, Gyft, and even the Miami Dolphins ticket-purchasing site. Might accepting cryptocurrencies work for you?
  • Increased use of mobile devices for purchasing – A plethora of surveys have determined that more than 60 percent of online purchases are made from mobile devices. Hence, if your e-commerce site is not mobile-friendly, either the entire buying process fails or buyers abandon their carts in frustration. If that’s a problem with your present site, 2021 should be the year you concentrate on making your web pages a better experience for mobile users. Check it yourself and see how it responds or ask your website designer to evaluate it and make the changes necessary for improvement.
  • Use imagery to your advantage – When you purchase an item online, you’re always taking a leap of faith. After all you can’t hold it in your hand, touch it, or smell it. That’s why investing in good “visual commerce” is important. Having lots of high-quality images on your site is more important than ever as the world transitions permanently to more online buying, even as the pandemic fades. Ask your designer about changing from JPEG photos to better quality JPEG2000 or WebP formats, consider 360-degree images or videos of your most popular products, and invest in a visual search tool that helps customers browse for products using images.

Remember, because of the pandemic and the limitations it imposed on us, e-commerce grew tremendously in just a few months. Growth that should have taken years to occur happened between March and December and, as such, anyone with an e-commerce site needs to be sure that they’re doing the best they can for their online customers.

If you’d like to know if your e-commerce options are up to snuff, contact our designers for a check-up and for suggestions to make your site as customer-friendly as possible. You can reach us at 604-337-1449 for a no-obligation consultation.