The eCommerce scene is ever-changing and with people spending more time at home - we’re looking at you COVID-19 – more and more people around the world have moved en-masse from bricks-and-mortar retail to online shopping.
In the UK, online sales were £61 billion in 2018 and grew to a staggering £95 billion in 2020. eCommerce sales now account for 23.3% of total retail sales, up from 14.9% in 2018.
What’s remarkable about these figures is they include the sharp fall in revenue for platform companies offering services. Ride-sharing brands such as Uber and Bolt and travel-related companies such as Tripadvisor, Booking.com, Skyscanner and Airbnb, have all seen dramatic falls in gross merchandise value and drops in ranks.
Globally, it is estimated there will be 2.14 billion digital buyers in 2021. That’s a lot of new customers for your online business !
So how can we capitalise on these new eCommerce consumers?
Let’s look at the top 3 online trends to see how you can target these new consumers and boost your average order values.
You have tagged your products in your social media posts for direct purchase and added your products to Facebook Marketplace. But there is more. In 2021, social media is fast changing from a marketing channel toward “social commerce” - directly selling products and services on social platforms.
Today, consumers not only use social media to connect with others. They browse and research brands and products to buy. There is a natural evolution of these social media sites developing and integrating eCommerce directly into their platforms. Now available to us are Facebook Buy buttons, Instagram Checkout, Pinterest buyable pins, TikTok’s Shop Now buttons, plus Snapchat’s filters and their in-development AR wearables capabilities.
Social commerce provides a huge opportunity for your eCommerce brand to better target consumers, not only using demographics but by interest and behaviour. This allows you to modify your messages across many audiences.
From a consumer point of view, social commerce makes it even easier to purchase without leaving the platform.
- Choose a social media channel to focus your efforts on. We all only have so many hours in the day. Decide which social media platform your customers use and do it well.
- Ensure you link your inventory with the social media platform, to avoid disappointments.
Consumers do care - focus on Sustainability and Community
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of what they put in and on their bodies. They are also interested in buying - and some are willing to pay more – for products that help the environment.
According to Nielsen, 73% of consumers would change their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact. And almost half (41%) of consumers from around the world say they are highly willing to pay more for products that contain all-natural or organic ingredients. This means consumers understand that there is an increase in cost to businesses for sustainable practices and they will need to pay more for brands that employ them.
Established brands around the world are introducing corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a secondary message. For example, Coca-Cola, after pressure from consumers and environmental groups, is increasingly using recycled plastic and refund schemes.
Newer and younger brands are forming their business around a primary message of positive societal or environmental change.
Improving your business’ sustainability and social responsibility can come in all sorts of ways – not just the products you sell. You can use environmentally friendly packaging and delivery methods, donate to worthwhile causes or partner up with other socially responsible businesses. Here at etika, we base our brand around putting the financial wellbeing of consumers first, by providing responsible and fair finance solutions to eCommerce businesses like yours.
- Consider supporting community causes and emphasise your sustainability credentials in your marketing. Make sustainability central to your business and marketing, not an afterthought. And if you choose to support a worthy case, make it one that most of your customers can relate to. Don’t forget to share the impact of your donations to show your commitment.
- Corporate social responsibility is great for the environment and society. It can be great for your business too!
M-commerce - the leading channel for online shopping
More than half of the worlds’ internet traffic is coming from mobiles and by the end of 2021, the world’s total m-commerce sales is expected to make up 72.9% of all eCommerce sales globally.
With this massive shift, m-commerce will be the key channel for online shopping. For online businesses it will be even more important to ensure your website is mobile-friendly and accessible on a variety of smart devices.
For m-commerce, your business doesn’t necessarily need an expensive, complex mobile app. However, your website does need the same level of usability as a desktop website, but in a smaller version. Always keep the smaller screen size of the mobile layout in mind when designing and updating your website.
eCommerce websites often miss these layout mistakes –
- ensure your forms are easy to read and complete on the smaller screen,
- all call-to-action buttons are large enough for even the biggest fingers to click and,
- all text is clear and readable in the smaller format.
We say keep it simple. Simple website designs visually present your products well and make it easy for your customers to focus on your key messages. It tells your brand story and sets consumer expectations for your products. As a bonus, simple sites load faster and are often quicker and cheaper to develop than more complicated or graphic-rich designs.
- Limit the number of colours on your site. Try avoiding clashing colour schemes but make sure that you use enough contrast to be legible to people with limited vision or colour blindness. Oh, and don’t be scared of white - appropriate use of white space can help draw attention to important content.
- Use text sparingly. If a user lands on a homepage with lots of copy, they may feel overwhelmed and unlikely to stop and read. Replace words with simple (info)graphics instead to convey or enhance your message. And use easy to read typography that doesn’t distract from your message.
Have a look at these Top 9 Winning eCommerce Designs for 2020, for inspiration.
With the explosion in online sales across the globe, we’ve got lots of creative ideas to help your eCommerce business find new customers.