Starting an eCommerce store is one of the best ways to earn a passive income online. At least, that’s what the thousands of people who open up a store each year seem to think.
But while the eCommerce industry is absolutely booming and is projected to reach $4.13 billion in 2020, making your store stand out from the pack and attract buying customers is not as simple as you might think.
Buying a domain and building a store is easier than ever, as there are many convenient platforms you can use. But then, you must also understand what the audiences expect in 2020 and beyond and utilize some of the hottest trends that are driving industry growth.
With that in mind, let’s look at the most important eCommerce trends you should be familiar with 2021 fast approaching.
Take Advantage of Augmented Reality
Augmented reality is something that most people associate with gaming or with innovative business conferences. But while it may seem like a vague subject, it’s actually a very promising way to provide a better experience for your audience as soon as today.
The technology for AR (Augmented Reality) in eCommerce is already here, and brands worldwide are taking advantage of the numerous ways it can improve the customer experience.
One of the most powerful ways to use AR technology is to bring your products and services to life on your website. Companies like IKEA have seen tremendous success with having users see their products in action, allowing them to insert furniture into virtual rooms and see how it looks and fits.
Some beauty stores even allow users to try on products on the screen, showing a glimpse of how they look and feel, which can mimic the in-store experience without shoppers having to leave the comfort of their home.
One of the biggest drawbacks of online shopping used to be the fact that you couldn’t feel and try the products before buying. With the help of augmented reality, this is beginning to change, and the experiences will only become more immersive as the technology moves forward.
Find the Right Domain Name
Finding a good domain name is much easier today than it was before. There are excellent cheap domain name providers that can offer you a variety of options at an affordable price, making the process convenient and simple.
But when choosing a domain name, you should think beyond the name itself and consider the impact that it will have on your brand.
Even though there are many avenues you can take, the name of your brand, your website, and even your brand voice should all be in line with what you want to represent and what your audience expects.
Today’s consumers want an authentic experience when shopping online, so ensuring that your brand name aligns with their values is a key component of success.
Chatbots Are No Longer Optional
84% of customers name customer service as an integral factor when choosing who to buy from, outranking convenience and reputation among the top factors.
For those with poor customer service, that number is frightening. But those that strive to provide excellent customer experiences should get excited because that also means that top-quality customer service can allow them to compete with much larger and richer companies.
And one of the most promising ways to cater to the needs of your customers is to employ chatbot technology.
No matter how responsive your support team is, they probably won’t be able to provide timely help 24 hours per day. When they’re not available, having a chatbot as a substitute can be very useful since it can often mimic some of the functions of a live person and provide real help.
For instance, when a prospect has questions about shipping, pricing, or even the product selection, a chatbot can provide helpful links that guide the shopper to resources.
As you learn more about some of the common concerns your customers have, you can expand the knowledge base and be able to answer most of the queries that come your way automatically.
No matter how busy your store might get, chatbots will always be there to provide answers in an instant, preventing the customers from getting frustrated or leaving your website.
Because of how useful chatbots can be, they are no longer optional or nice-to-have. If you don’t employ the technology, you simply won’t be able to match the level of service that your competition offers, making it very hard to maintain your presence in the marketplace.
Consider Your Impact on the Environment
Being eco-friendly is no longer just a political issue. It’s become something that people think about on a daily basis.
Today’s consumers are beginning to understand the impact they can have on the environment and are looking for ways to make better purchasing decisions, carefully picking the brands they work with.
If you don’t want to lose your audience’s favor, you need to start thinking about how your company can become more environmentally-conscious. As eco-friendly companies are becoming more prominent in most industries, those that don’t have something to offer won’t have a future.
But how can you make an impact as a business?
Well, the first step is to look at how you can become more sustainable. What that comes down to is biodegradable packaging for your products, less waste, and the implementation of eco-friendly practices that limit your carbon footprint.
If you want to take it a step further, you could even partner up with environmental organizations, offering part of your profits towards causes that help protect the environment.
While this will take work and investment at first, having a sustainable business is the only viable choice if you want your eCommerce business to thrive and grow in the coming decade.
Voice Search is Here to Stay
Google Assistant, Siri, or Alexa are no longer novelties but integral parts of many people’s lives. Millions of people worldwide use these tools to find information or things online, and companies that best adapt to this shift will reap the biggest benefits.
If you want to take advantage, thinking about how to get in front of voice search queries should be your top priority.
For one thing, you should revamp your SEO strategy, including voice search keywords and optimizing your shopping experience so that ordering by voice becomes possible.
This might not work in all industries, at least not yet, but many items are already ordered without even looking at the screen. If your store can become an option for voice search buyers, you might be able to tap into a market segment that’s still vastly underutilized.
The eCommerce world is changing at a rapid pace. New technology is providing opportunities to improve the user experience, and forward-thinking companies are positioned to benefit the most.
If you take into account the trends listed above, you will have the best chance of meeting and exceeding customer expectations, as well as growing a loyal audience in the upcoming decade.