2020 introduced several new normals, some of which are here to stay. Like the continued rise of e‑commerce. The pandemic kicked this rise into warp speed. But how about this year?
In 2021, global retail e‑commerce sales are expected to reach
In the ever-shifting e‑commerce landscape, how can you be sure you stay on top of fast emerging trends?
To help you keep shining, here are five of this year's most dominant currents — with tips on how you can capitalize on them.
1. User-generated content: authenticity = credibility
Nowadays, consumers are also potential content creators.
User‑generated content (UGC) is at the opposite end of the spectrum from slick, branded content. This is why it's seen as a good place for consumers to get a non‑biased review or opinion.
Visually, UGC with its rougher edges, less polished editing and zero production budgets has revolutionized perceptions of what makes credible content. It also acts as the perfect complement to branded content; the best content mix will include both.
Check out our tool that enables videos (both UCG and brand content) to flow seamlessly to your online store.
2. Personalization: up close and personal
Remember how nice it feels to have the undivided attention of a friendly in‑store sales assistant? Well, that's the experience personalized e‑commerce attempts to mirror.
It can be a valuable tool in engaging consumers and driving sales, conversions and repeat purchases.
Personalization can also be a complex challenge with many moving parts. AI/machine learning is going to be an increasing aid in streamlining some of these complexities.
But at its simplest, personalized e‑commerce can take the form of targeted product recommendations.
Consider for example adding a personalized cart‑abandonment reminder email to gently compel your customer to finish her purchase.
3. Conversational marketing: keep the chat flowing
Those days when a consumer was left adrift on a website with nothing more than a search bar for company — well, they're long gone.
Consumers of today demand more. We're talking chatbots and we're talking AI. Put them together and you have a formidable tool for customer engagement. The key here is time‑saving. Half of people will choose a chatbot over a human to save time.
A great benefit of AI‑driven chatbots? They can analyze customer history and feedback, giving you a goldmine of data from which to extract insight into your customers' behavior.
And if AI feels slightly out of reach, there's no need to worry. Consumers have also expressed their preference for chat in real‑time with human reps.
4. Shoppable video: retail hits lightspeed
2020 saw several significant video marketing innovations. Leading the way were TikTok and Instagram Reels. These platforms reward high‑quality, live‑streamed video content.
And shoppable video? Think of it as instantaneous retail. It seems set to be a game changer with TikTok recently announcing a partnership with Shopify to increase the platform's shoppable video features.
Shoppable videos allow viewers to click a product price shown in a given video which then redirects to an online store.
In some instances a selected item is added automatically to the shopping cart, condensing the customer journey. This connects shoppable video to the ongoing e‑commerce trends of social commerce and the seamless shopping experience.
5. Product video: the great enabler keeping you connected to your customers
Consumption of video has reached unprecedented levels during the pandemic. And product videos followed the same upward trajectory.
Marketers are already aware of the benefits offered by product videos.
Shopping is undergoing a transformation from an inherently offline activity into a predominantly online one. But this doesn't change some of the hardwired elements of the retail experience.
For stores and brands wanting to keep their customers informed with rich product information, there's only one really satisfying replacement to a visit to a brick and mortar store. And that's product videos. Why?
It answers in visual terms that most essential retail question; what does the product look like in action?
In the post‑2020 era, product videos have become the must‑have marketing tool for online stores.