Being in the WordPress ecosystem, we like to follow events that help us ensure we are in tune with the latest trends and patterns of the industry! WordCamp US, the national conference for WordPress, is one such event where interesting people meet each other, and they participate in fascinating discussions!
One such discussion during the recent WordCamp in Nashville was on the Future and Trends. As well as the eCommerce industry would see in 2021, all recorded in a nifty little podcast we are fans of! You can check the podcast over here. However, if you are more fond of the written word than the spoken one, we’ve summarized its contents into a crisp piece you’ll enjoy reading!
What you’ll find here is the collective wisdom of the brightest minds in e-commerce and WordPress. Hence, let’s take a quick gander at them, shall we?
- Matt Mullenweg, Automattic
- Zach Barrientos, PayPal
- James Farner, WPMUDEV
- Patrick Garman, Mindsize
- Matt Cromwell, GiveWP
- James Law, Ninja Shop, etc
Quite an impressive list, ain’t it? Let’s take a look at what they’ve got to say about e-commerce in 2021!
1. What’s in store for e-commerce in 2021!
One of the major predictions in e-commerce for 2021 is the transformation in delivery services, according to James Farmer from WPMUDEV. He was one of the people on the podcast. Along with the traditional shipping methods, companies have some new options to operate services such as subscription-based delivery.
Amazon, for instance, has started using drones to ship products in England.
Companies have started to keep the customer experience in delivery remarkably high with 2 hours shipping or same day delivery. Its slowly becoming a norm in the e-commerce space that once you get an order, the order has to be serviced. And also delivered in an hour or two, to attract and retain good customers.
“As in, I mean we’re over here next to a jet pack store, you know they’re making unique items that people want to have that reflects who they are and what they are, rather than necessarily just buying into some generic kind of chain.” – James Farner, WPMUDEV
b. Personalization/custom products
Personalization in 2021 will be all about using the data collected on each person interacting with your business to serve them with more relevant content and products.
People today are looking for products that reflect their personality or help them build their own different identity. So e-commerce companies that are focusing on making unique items that people want to have. Products that reflect who they are and what they are, will enjoy a greater point of differentiation.
Creating expansive personal experiences in terms of customized products, language, curated suggestions and stories, will go a long way.
3. Mobile payments
Brent Shepherd mentions in the podcast that there will be massive growth in mobile payments and a seamless checkout from a mobile browser without having to repeatedly fill in forms or provide information every time. It doesn’t make sense for users who shop across different e-commerce experiences to give the same information over and over again.
Web payments will allow browser native UI for checkout with previously saved data such as address information and card details to be accessed with a few taps.
Payment companies will standardize the approach to payments making the buying process simpler, quicker and more secure. Report shows that the global mobile payments market can reach to $4,573.8 billion by 2023.
“We’re going to see a lot more of a hybrid approach between WordPress and other platforms, like BigCommerce, like Shopify and I think you’re going to find a lot of hosts getting involved in this space as well, helping power those solutions.” – Patrick Garman, Mindsize
4. Tax implications
Given the constantly changing tax landscape, and its implications on different sectors, most e-commerce companies will be on the lookout for professional help to help sort out their taxes. If they are global players, they will need some kind of middleware to help manage their tax issues.
2021 will see a lot of players courting this opportunity and offering innovative solutions to tackle complex tax requirements!
5. Virtual reality
Virtual Reality is going to be the future of e-commerce. Many merchants have gone ahead and introduced virtual reality apps to let people have a kind of virtual shopping experience.
Amazon has been experimenting with virtual reality or augmented reality, which lets people pick the furniture of their choice and drop it in their room to see how it looks.
E-commerce, with the help of virtual reality, will be able to bridge the gap between what you can do online and what you can do in a store.
6. Influencer marketing
Influencers who have tangible influence and not just celebrities will continue to grow.
Another finding from the survey revealed that 30% of consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger.
More e-commerce players will try and find influencers in their niche on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter and invest in them.
“…by the end of the year, we’ll be seeing things where perhaps the templating in WooCommerce has shifted the ways in which people are selling or promoting their goods, because of the way social networking has changed. Like people sharing what they’re selling on Facebook and Twitter and stuff.” – Brian Richards, WPSessions
7. Instagram shoppable stories
E-commerce brands will continue to use Instagram to engage with and sell to their target customers. Here are some statistics that will give clarity about how e-commerce players can use Instagram to scale their business.
- 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business on the platform.
- 60% of users use the platform to discover new products.
- Of that 60%, 75% of them engage further with a brand when they find what they are looking for.
We expect to see e-commerce companies get more creative and experimental with the various features Instagram has to offer. More specifically, an increase in shoppable posts and in-story ‘stickers’ can be predicted.
8. Integrated communities
Another trend dominating the e-commerce space is to build a community of fans and followers, as opposed to just standard ‘customers’. E-commerce brands will channel efforts towards positioning themselves as more than just a seller of products.
Instead, they will indulge in activities like creating engaging content on social media via posts and videos, being active on relevant forums and online groups, writing useful blog posts and emails, getting involved with influencers in their industry, engaging fans face-to-face via pop up stores etc.
9. Omnichannel experience
E-commerce companies are going all out to create a true omnichannel experience, which will help their community of customers to be able to have a unified sales channel. This will create a single commerce experience where customers will be able to buy anywhere, deliver anywhere and return anywhere.
This means that your customers can do things like buy an item directly via Instagram shoppable posts and have it delivered to a local delivery locker while checking order status on your mobile app. Or, they can browse your physical or pop-up store, scan an item via a mobile app to add to their online cart and purchase later at home in preferred size. Or, they could even add it to their cart on the mobile app while travelling to work, then log in to the desktop site to complete the purchase and have it delivered home.
If the product isn’t to their liking, your customers will have the choice to return it in-store, without any hassles!
The e-commerce ecosystem with WordPress is going to get a lot simpler, according to GoDaddy’s Justin Nealy. Right now, it can be pretty overwhelming for a first time user to get a whole WordPress site, let alone a fully running e-commerce store.
With the power of Gutenberg and other builders making it easy, it’s definitely going to be the future. Gutenberg is WordPress’ new editor that takes the entire website editing experience to another level. It lets you build your own custom posts and pages, without being an expert developer.
This will enable anybody and everybody to create a WordPress site, e-commerce, WooCommerce or whatever plugin they want. Even small scale e-commerce stores who do not have enough technological aid at their disposal will be able to do so.
11. Secure payments
“Is WooCommerce secure? Does it offer adequate transactional security?” – are some of the questions users have around WooCommerce. You’d be glad to know that there are significant security measures in place. There is The 3D Secure standard, often known by its branded names like “Verified by Visa” or “Mastercard SecureCode” aims to reduce fraud and provide added security to online payments. E-commerce space will see increased adoption of 3D Secure payments, thus aiding a strong authentication point for their customers.
One of the players, ‘Stripe’, is already integrating 3D security into their credit card payments, which will take care of a lot of security and liability concerns for a lot of people. Every merchant big or small will eventually want to create secure payment zone for their customers. Devoid of any fraudulent or untoward transactions and 3D Secure payments will be the norm.
Every industry is witnessing an exposure to cryptocurrency and e-commerce industry is going to be no different. And so what needs to be seen is how the e-commerce industry is going to respond to the variety of cryptocurrencies that are coming.
Are we going to see e-commerce on an ICO? Are we going to see them collecting different kinds of currencies? How is that going to a bank with the banks, how is that going to migrate and work with the payment gateways? And how are they going to push vertically and horizontally to actually understand different countries’ cryptocurrencies?
According to the podcast, there will be many e-commerce companies selling just cryptocurrency.
13. Control and flexibility
E-commerce in 2021 is going to become a lot more about control and flexibility. Although there are some really huge platforms on which one can build an e-commerce website, many e-commerce players may not be fully aligned with what these platforms are offering and may want to exercise complete control over their website, not stay restricted to only integrate what is offered by the platform.
People would begin to appreciate the importance of owning their own domain, running their own software. And the flexibility that it provides. Some of them may want to have a 100% GPL open source experience in the e-commerce industry in 2021.
14. Hybrid approach
Many people will move out of the WooCommerce space, to the non-WordPress focused e-commerce. People who are averse to a WordPress or a WooCommerce website will want to adopt a more hybrid approach between WordPress and other platforms, like BigCommerce, Shopify. We may also see a lot of hosting agencies getting involved here to power such independent solutions.
15. E-commerce solutions
2019 will witness a boom in the e-commerce sector as more and more e-commerce solutions will pop up. People are going to start to figure out what the landscape looks like and there are going to be more options available at different pricing tiers. For example, Ninja Shop, which is an e-commerce solutions provider, offers solutions to help people get started on a lower budget before they start selling things and expand once their strategy is proven in the market.
16. Planned approach
E-commerce players will focus on a long-term strategy, even before starting their website and selling. Running an e-commerce shop is as good as running a brick and mortar space. It entails proper planning, and e-commerce merchants will start to recognize this fact in an obvious manner. There will also be a shedding of old code (written decades ago), which are no longer relevant for your website!
17. Business complexities
As e-commerce players emerge successful by running their online shop through WordPress or other such platforms, they may also face more complex business problems as their business grows. In such times, they may not be prepared to deal with platform-related problems. Problems like scaling and interface issues, or issues related to managing orders or connecting to the warehouse.
The big platforms, like WooCommerce and EDD, are more likely to dig deep into how an e-commerce store owner’s life could be made easy. Basically what could be done on the website side of things to make things simpler for them. Hence, it is predicted that there will be more focus on getting things right by the e-commerce store owners, and provide a smooth delivery experience.
18. Everything online
There will be expectations for the entire market to have an online presence, be it products or services. Consultant, accountant or doctor, everybody has to be online.
All business owners will focus on taking the online route. And there will be an increase in learning material which will be available, again online. E-commerce is going to witness a lot of new trends (and some recurring old ones) this year! Stay tuned in to stay relevant!