The coronavirus pandemic has been a challenge for many businesses. No one was prepared for such drastic changes, and above all, we were not aware of how dramatically Covid can affect the reality around us. This year proved to be a breakthrough year for the e-commerce industry, so it is worthwhile to look at the overview of its development. The report “2021 European e-commerce” uncovers data that will make it easier to understand the effects caused by the pandemic.
E-commerce in Europe
2021 European e-commerce report shows that in Central Europe the number of users and their online activity is constantly growing. The top European countries – in terms of frequency of online shopping – are Great Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland and Germany. The number of online customers in Europe is constantly growing. In 2020 they constituted 71%, while in 2021 already 73% of the population.
E-commerce in the USA
After booming in 2020, forecasts suggest that the U.S. e-commerce market will reach 131.8 trillion in value by 2025. This means more and more competing companies in the online environment, and thus a greater effort for consumer attention. According to analysts, loyalty programs, desktop user experience and seamless mobile expierence will be the key factors in the battle for customers.
What is the consumer like in 2021?
It appears that Covid has influenced consumers’ shopping preferences to the point that they have no intention of returning to pre-pandemic habits. At the same time, however, their expectations of the shopping process have also changed.
When talking about their online activities, respondents most often indicated using Facebook, buying and comparing prices of products or services, or paying bills. The Internet is no longer just a place for entertainment, it is also an integral part of our reality. Taking an active part in the development of the online space is becoming a necessity.
One of the reasons for this situation are the constant changes caused by the dynamic development of the e-commerce market. Consumers indicate several key factors that encourage them to shop online. These are:
- availability of the store’s offer 24/7,
- no need to go to the stationary store (time saving),
- unlimited time to choose specific products.
The e-commerce market has grown strongly since March 2020. The reason for this was, among other things, the fact that many stores operating so far stationary also launched online sales. At the same time, the consumer expectations have also changed. The indicators such as price, form of payment and the method of delivery are important to them.
Diversity is especially important when it comes to choice in the categories above. If you don’t have your preferred payment method or delivery method, you may give up shopping entirely. That’s why it’s so important to adapt to the consumer and personalize their path to purchase as much as possible.
What can we learn from the reports?
The changes caused by the pandemic are permanent. Over time, we will see increasing interest, as well as demand, for the online area. The number of users and their online activities are values that will increase all the time. Therefore, it is important that the online company is transparent and follows the options that will make it easier for the users to make a purchase. Giving up some solutions and systems, discourages or raises doubts – users get used to the ones they use most often. In the current online environment, it is very difficult to stay afloat without following the trends.
E-commerce trends, i that is, what awaits us in the near future?
Pointing out and detailed descriptions of trends that may occur in the near future is important because they quickly lose their relevance. New, better and more interesting solutions appear in their place. Therefore, knowing the current directions of e-commerce market development is crucial for the proper functioning of your online store.
Among the trends that will certainly be important in the near future, we can distinguish, the following:
M-commerce has been a very important issue for the past few years as the importance and frequency of using smartphones and tablets instead of computers is increasing. Hence, there is a need to adapt stores to the new user needs. Websites adapted to mobile devices or dedicated applications are becoming a necessity, which will provide an increase in turnover of the online store.
Headless gives us many opportunities such as: customizing the design of the site on different devices, reducing the load on the database server, speeding up service and increasing its security. Headless eCommerce is a great investment in the future. It will development your business and increase online sales.
For online customers, voice search is much more convenient than typing in phrases from the keyboard. This technology will be a great addition to a store targeting the modern, mobile customer. The use of voice will grow in popularity as e-commerce develops. It is assumed that voice assistants (e.g.Google Assistant, Siri or Alexa), which are becoming increasingly popular, will play a big role in voice commerce.
PWA, i.e. a web application designed to provide the user with a mobile app-like experience, is another trend that cannot be ignored. Progressive Web App is faster than the mobile version of the store in the browser and can work offline, which is important for people who, for example, browse the offer of the store while traveling.
Eco-friendly behavior is becoming increasingly popular. For this reason, customers demand from stores, among others, delivery with the possibility of reducing the carbon footprint, biodegradable packaging or packaging that can be recycled. If you want to succeed in e-commerce, you should have similar values as your customers and adapt to their needs. Pro-eco actions also influence the way the brand is perceived, which will be associated with caring for the environment.
Artificial Intelligence in e-commerce
Artificial intelligence has made its way into virtual reality for good. We don’t realize how much we are used to personalized suggestions, recommended searches and automatic hints and these are just a few examples of AI capabilities. Implementing new AI into your store will involve better personalized offers and more relevant cross-selling hints.
AI is also able to automate marketing and sales communication, e.g. during online grocery shopping. AI in this case is able to calculate how long a given product will be available for the customer, and after a certain period of time it can send a reminder about the need to update inventory
A big obstacle for e-shops is not being able to see the item live. Reports show that according to 16% of respondents, being able to see the products would make them shop online more often. The solution is to visualize them in a specific space. With the help of a store app we can check how the new sofa will look like in our apartment or even virtually wear a chosen dress, glasses etc.
Customised shopping experience
The Internet user is stimulated by so many advertising messages every hour that the store’s offer has to be tailored so that it does not get lost in the crowd of competing ads. For this reason, you need to get to know your consumers on an ongoing basis and adapt to their preferences. Very often it is a matter of personalized orders or messages tailored to the user interests.
Is e-commerce market worth investing in?
Online sales are gaining new followers with each passing year. Forecasts indicate that this trend will continue for years to come. Thus, the expectations of online customers are rising, which is a factor responsible for the growing expansion of the Internet into new areas of life and the continuous introduction of new solutions and improvements. According to the users, the online shopping is gaining advantage due to the fact that it is convenient and not complicated, offers more choices, is available 24/7, provides unlimited time to choose the products to be purchased and offers lower prices and delivery costs.
The above data clearly indicate that it is worth developing your store or considering launching an e-commerce channel. After all, it is an investment that will also ensure the development of your company in the future.
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