Predictions on e-commerce for 2021 and beyond…

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that a resilient and adaptable mindset is key to an organization’s success and even survival. It has also taught us that regardless of outbreaks, lockdowns, and unexpected economic hiccups- in many industries society’s wheel of consumerism continues to turn, even if we’re kept from seeing one another face-to-face. Businesses, both B2C and B2B, large and small alike have been forced to reevaluate, adapt and in some cases, create entirely new channels and marketing programs to reach their customer base during the coronavirus pandemic.

Looking forward to 2021 and beyond, many questions remain about how COVID-19 will continue to affect the world of marketing. As we all hope to eventually return to a level of normalcy, the expansion and domination of e-commerce is expected to continue to grow and evolve this year. As businesses explore new options to reach their customer base during these socially-distant times, technology continues to advance creating more opportunities than ever to connect with customers’ needs and desires. We’ve reached a point in the evolution of e-commerce that even very small businesses can create, implement and execute a true omnichannel experience quickly. It is anticipated that this trend will remain as a permanent fixture even in a post COVID-19 environment. Innovative technologies that allow for solutions that can deliver quick results for organizations of any size has proven paramount. What was once impossible for businesses to achieve without a lofty IT department or heavy consulting budgets can now reach potential customers across many different selling channels and be accomplished in weeks and months instead of months and years.  Expanding far beyond executing a basic website, organizations of all sizes are now and will continue to be, reaching their targeted markets through a multitude of social media outlets in addition to more traditional sales channels.  

Pushing beyond the basics of e-commerce, Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology can be expected to become an integral tool for many businesses across the globe.

The capabilities of AI technologies in the marketplace gives organizations a special insight into what months and years data collection has recorded. Successful AI integration essentially can achieve the elusive goal of closing the loop of analytics back into the full customer experience. This evolution of technology creates a simple, personal and time-saving effort for organizations to reach their targeted market aspirations. This emerging trend toward the continued integration of AI into marketing areas such as product selection offer optimization, and campaign design can build and create a deeply personalized, 1-to-1 experience for the consumer. The successful use of AI all but eliminates the guesswork involved in determining many target market initiatives. AI, if used correctly, can be a marketer’s dream to know with some level of certainty a particular client/customer’s needs and desires. It has the potential to immensely boost a company’s competitive edge in their respected industry. AI is only expected to grow exponentially as technology integrates itself into businesses across the globe. Driven by the collection and analysis of proper data, AI has the capability to generate personalized experiences to showcase the interest of only that particular buyer- which can be time-saving for both parties, creating a seamless, highly personal, and streamlined experience.

As our purchasing lives continue to balance between web-based commerce and the full re-emergence of brick and mortar post COVID-19, the presence for omnichannel marketing is also expected to expand. The necessity to create a seamless, fluid branding customer experience and pricing method across purchasing channels will be highly sought after as consumers continue to blend their digital and in-person purchases. It is unclear how the full digital experience will integrate in the brick and mortar setting in a post COVID-19 world. It is likely we’ll begin to see more organizations taking the leap into dynamic pricing, as has been a standard in the airline industry for years. Using the correct data to determine buying behavior throughout the year will drive profits for companies with these capabilities.  

Will 2021 become a “repeat” of 2020? We surely hope not. At a time when so much remains uncertain, there are clear trends that all but solidify the predictions for this year and beyond. As businesses have adapted out of necessity to the constantly changing situations around the world, technologies have adapted and evolved as well. The ability for any organization to quickly embrace and take full advantage of the new and modernized solutions in e-commerce is crucial to their success both online and in the physical world. The collection of the right data paired with the use of AI and implementation of logical omnichannel marketing for a particular organization places them in a category far ahead of its competitors, as they can predict buying trends, reach their targeted markets and reach their sales goals from the leveraging of their data. 2021 can be full of opportunity for businesses large and small alike, that choose to quickly embrace, adapt and look forward to a brighter, more profitable future by embracing a truly omnichannel strategy.