Retailers are longing for trends in e-commerce that they can rely on. In the meantime, many brick-and-mortar stores have joined the classic online trade, which has relocated their offer to Click and Collect due to the Corona measures or have secured themselves at all with an online shop as a second pillar – not everything can be put on one card advisable in uncertain times.
But which trends in online shopping offer orientation? And if predictions are not reliable, then at least the certainty that you will not commit any avoidable stupidities? Because the scope for wrong decisions is currently minimal in the vast majority of companies.
Which trends in e-commerce will continue?
When it comes to specialist articles on online shopping, you must distinguish between two types of trend reports, which can be roughly distinguished as follows:
Online shopping trends have to do with customer expectations and are more independent of crises such as a pandemic: These trends show a certain tendency – sometimes for a long time – and are usually easy to measure. As a rule, if you orient yourself to this, you will hardly go wrong.
Online shopping developments have to do with market shifts, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic: There is also clearly recorded data here. But nobody can reliably predict whether the developments identified will continue, reverse or stagnate at a certain level, depending on what the virus, the government, and consumers will come up with in six months, a year, or two years.
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Which developments are clear on the online shopping trend radar?
- The Google searches have moved towards the virtual “shopping spree” for inspiration, where previously it was mainly about specific products. A comfortable behavior pattern may be established among buyers here, which online shops should accommodate appropriately designed offer pages.
- Online also stays local: Also diagnosed by Google is a stable trend to actively look for dealers in the local area, partly expressly out of solidarity in the crisis. That makes it sensible to rely on the local search in the long term. The measures in question are by no means restricted to physical walk-in customers!
- Delivery conditions and times and the availability of deliveries, in general, are more important than ever for customer requests. After a brief spike at the beginning of the corona crisis, Google searches for “delivery” are steadily increasing. Online shops can score here by providing information about the delivery process in real-time, as user-friendly as possible, and transparently.
- Payment methods are also one of the most important sustainable criteria for a positive customer experience. Sixty percent of the shopping cart abandonment (withdrawal of the customer from an order process that has already started) is caused by the fact that an online shop does not offer the payment method that the customer wants. This rate is likely to be higher the more first-time users are among the users. The four favorites (with fluctuating proportions) are PayPal, invoice, direct debit, and credit card.
- New product groups in online shopping: Observable but difficult to assess – the lockdowns have resulted in 42 percent of customers ordering certain product types online for the first time, mainly clothing, including shoes, sporting goods, and groceries. As I said, it remains to be seen whether this trend will continue when safe and free buying is possible again in the store.
- New channels: Another finding of the Capterra study is the trend towards shopping via chat options such as Google Assistant, Siri, or Alexa, and social commerce and social media such as Facebook shops on Facebook and Instagram. It’s not yet a mass migration to these canals, but it doesn’t hurt to offer them.
- Market observation – more or less in real-time – is gaining importance, as longer-term forecasts will repeatedly fail due to the abrupt changes in circumstances for the reasons mentioned – also due to irrational buyer behavior (keyword “toilet paper”). Published studies can only contribute to this as they are rarely up-to-date enough. It is important to closely use the analysis tools (such as Google Analytics 4 ) in your online shop. Another quick indicator can be keyword analysis with Google Trends (which can also be limited locally and time-wise). Also informative: Google also provides the current product trends.
- Security in online shopping has recently come into focus because there were attempts at fraud, for example, via websites that skim credit card data, especially during the corona crisis. No less than 28 percent of online shoppers have fallen victim to such machinations, reports Capterra. Shops can establish trust with good customer ratings, the Trusted Shops seal, SSL encryption of the shop pages, and transparent information.
- Take new attitudes into account: people think about consumption and services differently than before. You are receptive to marketing that appears “authentic, humane, and relevant,” according to Deloitte’s report on Global Marketing Trends 2021. Apart from the fact that this should be a timeless guideline, it is advisable to pay particular attention to this change in attention at the moment.
- Agility: Especially newcomers to online trading, but also all smaller retailers, need their capacities to be able to concentrate on their core business. For this purpose, solutions such as “Business as a Service” (BaaS) and complete integrated systems are helpful. For example, the acquisition of new customers via social networks is possible automatically.
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