4 Ecommerce Marketing Trends That Will Take 2021 By Storm

80% of shoppers have found themselves shopping more on mobile since the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown - Forbes

2020 has been revolutionary for ecommerce — Statista estimates that the majority of US adults did more online shopping than ever before in 2020. As new customers braved the world of online shopping and demand for the oddest of products surged (who would’ve thought bidets would have a starring role this year), ecommerce businesses large and small were forced to pivot and focus on what will drive growth and ultimately scale successfully in 2020, 2021, and beyond. 

The trends we predict will shape 2021 have definitely already planted their roots in 2020. These strategies and technologies have already helped ecommerce businesses survive and thrive in 2020 — and businesses who invest in these strategies will be the standouts of next year. Here are our top trends that we predict will take 2021 by storm:

1. Mobile ecommerce adoption will skyrocket

As the lines between workspace and home space have blurred for many shoppers now working from home, the boundaries have to be drawn somewhere. And for many consumers laptops/desktops now equal “the office” and mobile devices are their escape from endless emails and deadlines. Unsurprisingly, 80% of shoppers have found themselves shopping more on mobile since the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown — with mobile shopping accounting for almost half of all ecommerce sales as of 2020.

Our altered lifestyles show no signs of reversing any time soon, with some companies promising Work From Home as a permanent alternative and more organizations hiring remote roles. So, 2021 will see the continued frequency of shoppers turning to their cellphones and tablets to catch the best sales, browse ecommerce sites, and stock up on their Stay-at-Home essentials.

2021 Tip: Check-in on your mobile and In-App experience — are they just a strong as your desktop browser experience? Marketers should also expect customers to hop from laptops to mobile devices and apps while making a purchase decision, so a rock-solid omnichannel strategy is a must.

2. AI will become a marketing staple

McKinsey reports that in 2020 at least half of all businesses use AI and each year they continue to see increased adoption, especially within sales and marketing adoption. Not only do we anticipate 2021 will be another year of increased adoption for AI, we believe that to keep up with growing demand ecommerce will fully embrace the opportunities AI presents.

Most importantly, AI will enable overwhelmed marketers to successfully scale their marketing initiatives throughout the coming year. And AI can take your brand experience to the next level with 1:1 recommendations and content, custom send times, and seamless orchestration across channels.

2021 Tip: AI loves data — and the massive amounts of 1st-party data you collected from new and returning customers in 2020 can help fuel new and exciting campaigns for 2021.

3. Omnichannel will become more standard for brands

Omnichannel is everywhere — it seems to be the topic of every whitepaper, e-book, and webinar produced for ecommerce marketers. And while it’s easy to chalk that up to marketing fluff, there is data to back up just how common omnichannel strategy is becoming for B2C marketers. PWC’s 2020 Retail Report found that the number of companies investing in the omnichannel experience has risen from 20% to more than 80%. They attribute this huge spike to rapid technological advancement, major shifts in shopper behavior, and changes to US demographics.

Just as consumers are spending more time shopping on mobile, they’ll be spending more time across a growing number of channels they may have never accessed before. Customers will probably continue to balance the occasional in-person shopping trip with plenty of browsing on mobile, in-app, and on the web. Marketers will have to rise to the occasion to provide a seamless experience — wherever customers navigate.

2021 Tip: Test, test, test! The channels you have traditionally focused on may not be the channels that will serve you well in 2021 and beyond as the ecommerce landscape evolves.

PWC's 2020 Retail Report found the number of companies investing in the omnichannel experience has risen from 20% to more than 80%

4. Consumers will continue to value a seamless online, contactless experience

What great, forward-thinking brands have been doing all of 2020 is bound to become the new normal. Customers will still have high safety and convenience standards, even as the world finds solutions to the current pandemic. Customers will expect brands to keep pace as they quickly navigate from online, to in-store, and to service channels — marketing will have a stake in every single interaction customers have with your brand. Whew, that’s a lot to handle. But, this also presents an opportunity for marketers to create truly delightful experiences tailor to each and every customer at scale — with the help of new AI-powered technology.