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Trends Driving eCommerce in 2021

Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Trends Driving eCommerce in 2021," takes a forward-looking approach to how marketing trends are evolving throughout 2020, mostly due to the effects of Covid-19 and the resulting economic instability.  We expect that these trends will continue in the foreseeable future.  Thus, we can also expect more creative solutions to evolve as consumers become more comfortable shopping in eCommerce.  That said, 2021 will offer new marketing trends, although, at this point, these predictions frame what we currently know about the ongoing battle with the pandemic and how consumers are adjusting.  Vaccines aside, medical experts allude that the forthcoming vaccines are not a cure, but moreover, a way to help curb the high infection rates that we are now experiencing.  Based on those facts alone, 2021 trends will also evolve to some degree based on what's happening on the ground, for employment numbers, the economy, stimulus packages or the lack thereof, housing remedies, and the nation's overall health.  While this post looks at eCommerce trend forecasts for 2021, it is imperative to keep in mind that among marketing mediums, print and, most notably, direct mail marketing, is currently considered the most trustworthy source by consumers.

Quote of the Day: "In my ideal world, my next novel would have a first printing of, say, 2,500 hardcovers for reviewers, libraries, collectors, and autograph hounds. The publisher could print more copies if they get low. And simultaneously, or six weeks later, the book would be available in paperback." - Christina Baker Kline

DTC and Premium Private Label

ECommerce is changing rapidly, from how seamless Amazon can deliver products to Alexa's rise, where just speaking an order into a lit digital box gives us great joy and exhilaration from our newly discovered communication toy.

That said, D2C (direct to consumer) commerce is on the rise, which provides brands access to both profits and the customers and is reciprocal in allowing customers direct access to both price savings and the brand itself.  That D2C commerce has been on the radar for most of 2020 is evident; however, the trends suggest that it is evolving.

The early days of D2C commerce gave us products and subscriptions such as makeup kits, inexpensive razor blades, affordable furniture, and the like.  However, that is not the case today.  According to Modern Retail, "Premium private label brand sales are increasing, creating a new vertical in the D2C sector.  Customers are turning to luxury private label brands for superior products and better shopping experiences."

Customer Sourcing via Artificial Intelligence

ECommerce is enjoying a boost from automated product recommendations, which helps consumers in several ways.  This technology can already assist consumers with the ability to see products and answer customer questions.  We can already see those effects with brands such as MTailor, where you can order jeans by submitting real size measurements by merely taking a picture on your iPhone.

From a marketing perspective, AI algorithms can pinpoint and analyze various trends related to the brand's product sets, the optimal sales channels, including purchasing behavior, and most importantly, which product channels make the most sense regarding timing and pricing considerations.  This process will help brands save time with number analyses, reports, and other corporate identifiers typically associated with number crunching and the like.  AI can deliver an immediate uptick in sales and thus helps ROI considerations.

Logistics and Fulfillment

ECommerce fulfillment and logistics will continue to rise following 2020 efforts. ECommerce trends include logistic and fulfillment considerations, as more consumers become reliant on ECommerce ordering and delivery.

2021 will experience growth in autonomous delivery, blockchain tracking, intelligent sensors, and digital tweaks expected to give rise to better delivery speeds, revenue savings, and better efficiencies throughout the fulfillment process.

Forward Thinking Customization

If you are a sports shoe freak, you probably know about Nike's website customization feature.  Sportswear shoe aficionados are now able to customize anything they wish in designing their unique, personal Nike shoe, from colors to fabric to even the words on the shoes.  We saw examples of this in real-time during the 2020 NBA Playoffs, where players' shoes contained specific wording, customer colors, messaging, and the like.

Consumers are well versed in product customization.  However, the capability to order up a personalized change in the last few minutes without breaking the bank is a new twist that 2021 will see more across various industries.   Modern manufacturing and fulfillment capabilities can now provide fast customized requests before the product delivery journey ends. Look for 2021 to give even more customization processes, which will likely evolve and become mainstream.

ECommerce Offline

We have already witnessed the massive jump from brick and mortar to eCommerce. What you may not have noticed is that more and more ECommerce offerings are also moving offline. Expect to see more interactive ECommerce kiosks, including brick and mortar establishments, who are moving some of their iconic online retailers to streetside.  Don't be surprised when you see an Amazon chain operating from a physical convenience location.

In 2021, expect to see a number of ECommerce brands move some of their operations to the brick and mortar landscape, with pop-ups, kiosks, and multi-channel shops, that reinforce the credibility of the internet.

The Net-Net

Many of these 2021 trends mentioned earlier are already in motion.  However, as the pandemic and the economy take shape, these trends will likely evolve in unforeseen ways.  It's a good idea to keep track of developments on the ground and new legislation that the next administration will probably put forth.  Direct mail marketing will significantly enhance any ECommerce initiative.  Direct mail marketing provides a trustworthy element that can help move direct customers from offline to online commerce destinations. Thanks for taking a few moments to read Trends Driving ECommerce in 2021!

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