Let’s investigate eCommerce trends in an attempt to get ahead of our competition in 2021. With the growth of eCommerce you are going to need to be more thoughtful and strategic to succeed in online selling.

Here are some interesting trends for eCommerce I think will be useful in the coming year for online sellers to ponder.

Becoming an “Audience First” Business

The audience first mindset means explicitly focusing on your audience and asking them what they want and then giving it to them.

That sounds obvious enough, but few online business actually treat the audience first mindset as their North Star.

Those that create new products, services, or entire new businesses and brands to service the wants and needs of their audience should thrive.

Buy Now, Pay Later Pays Dividends

While layaway plans are nothing new, enabling something like this baked into your online checkout process is still something new.

Conscious Consumerism Will Grow

In these increasingly polarized and politically fueled times — people are looking to support businesses that parallel their values or political views.

When Nike decided to run with a politically polarizing figure as a spokesman, they certainly got many kudus but at the same time there were people that burned their Nike shoes in protest.

And while this proved to be successful for Nike, many other brands have fallen on their faces going political with their brands. So tread lightly and carefully here.

While it may feel safer to stay neutral for many eCommerce businesses, there will be successful online brands that unabashedly make a stance.

Branding Matters Now More Than Ever

The eCommerce landscape became even more cluttered in 2020. You need to be telling your brandstory — and do it regularly and often. You are not going to be able to survive competing on price long-term.

With a little creativity nearly everything an eCommerce business does can be flavored by your brand such as:

  • Your customer emails and other correspondence
  • Your website design
  • Sharing your story explicitly via social media, video, and audio campaigns
  • Sharing your vision and story on podcasts as a guest or host

Customer Support Will Make or Break Brands

For very similar reasons as listed above; quick, helpful and friendly support will differentiate winners from the losers.

Zappos created an entire billion dollar eCommerce shoe business based entirely on over-the-top amazing customer support.

Those that take care of their customers may earn customers for life, while those that treat support like something to be wiped off their shoe will churn customers out the backdoor.

Keeping an existing customer is always easier and cheaper than attracting a new customer.

Running an Amazon Only Business is Fragile and Risky

You need to own your own website and your own brand if you expect to dominate in eCommerce long term.

As we saw during 2020 if you rely strictly on selling on Amazon you could suddenly see restrictions on your ability to take orders, send in new inventory, or even sell your products at all.

If you have not diversified to listing your products on eBay or your own Shopify site — 2021 should be the year you take the time to build up extra sales channels.

This Next Year Will Be Nothing Like What We Have Seen Before

2020, or the year of Covid, caused many to live in fear or lose their livelihoods — and as a result many are depressed, stressed, anxious, or even suicidal.

I don’t think we have seen anything like this before.

As a result, few know what to expect from the economy and sales trends for 2021. We are likely to have some surprises coming our way.

One interesting idea is that all of this emotional turbulence will lead to a stronger than normal attraction to nostalgia.

Nostalgia in this case meaning the good old days when we had no idea what a Coronavirus was, before the term essential business was in the vocabulary and when our countries felt more unified.

For a deeper look into what I am talking about here read this insightful blog post by Mark Schaefer.

Products that remind of us simpler, happier, or less chaotic times likely could be big sellers in 2021.

* Please note we may include affiliate links in some posts. But only for products we use personally and have deep faith in.