Connect with us

Growing a Business

Ecommerce trends 2021: Which predictions came true and what can we learn for 2022

Published

on

Get up to 30%* off! Get going with GoDaddy!

As 2021 comes to an end, we would like to look back on the year and see whether ecommerce trends from 2021 were accurate. We firmly believe that understanding the past helps us better plan for the future.

Even though the past few years have shown us the world can be unpredictable, there is still consistent growth across ecommerce and new ways to gain customers and increase revenue.

As you determine where to focus your efforts in the coming year, it’s important to examine what experts have said. You can then apply these ecommerce trends to your reality as a seller and use them to guide your business in 2022 and beyond.

True: Social commerce is on the rise

Experts at eMarketer and TaggBox predicted a rise in social commerce, and consumers proved them right. Customers are engaging with social commerce more than ever as they spend more time on social media.

In response to consumers spending more time online, social platforms have been adopting more commerce features than ever. Shop on Instagram and Facebook, and the TikTok → Shopify integration come to mind — features that allow users to seamlessly shop and checkout directly from these social apps.

Moving forward, social media and social commerce aren’t going anywhere. Sellers need to look into which channels and features will drive the most success for their business and adopt them early. If your audience is active on Pinterest, look into the platform’s social commerce features. If they’re more active on Instagram, consider setting up a Shop of your own on the platform.

However, don’t feel pressured to appear everywhere. Go where your customers are and focus on offering the best service on those platforms.

True and false: Consumer confidence will bounce back

Data company McKinsey predicted a rise in consumer confidence after 2020’s lockdown, mainly predicting that consumers would opt for “revenge shopping” to counteract the frugality of the previous year. And although consumer confidence started on a high in 2021, it’s declined throughout the year.

As of November 2021, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index tumbled to 67.4 — even lower than 2020. The CSI measures how consumers in the U.S. feel about their financial situation. So this drop can be attributed, at least in part, to consumers scaling back their standards of living in response to high inflation and COVID-19 unemployment benefits ending.

This drop in consumer confidence doesn’t have to affect your business negatively. You control your relationship with your customers. Going into the new year, renew your commitment to providing excellent customer service to enhance customers’ experience with your brand. Good customer service helps cultivate loyalty in consumers, who save your company during uncertain times — 52% of customers would go out of their way to buy from their favorite brands. Some ways to build customer confidence include:

  • Anticipate customer needs: Doing this requires you to engage directly with your audience, keeping an eye on what they like and what they don’t like — so you can start predicting what they need. Share surveys, conduct focus groups and reach out through email and social media to build a relationship with your customers.
  • Give your brand a personality so customers can connect with it: You can do this by bringing customers behind the curtain and being transparent about the people, challenges and triumphs: Consider creating funny videos or sharing thought leadership content around relevant topics to your audience and company. Duolingo has done a great job of creating a brand personality with their brand mascot, Duo.
  • Add a personal touch wherever possible. Whether it’s in your communications, packaging or customer service, adding a personal touch improves the customer experience. Consider adding handwritten notes if you don’t have too many orders to process or sending personalized outreach emails to loyal customers.
  • Share customer reviews and experience: People love to hear from others about their experiences with a brand. Take advantage of and encourage user-generated content from your audience to build customer trust.

True: More customers will expect personalized experiences across different channels

From BigCommerce to Deloitte, the platforms that predicted more customers expecting personalized experiences have been correct. More than ever, customers want to reach brands via multiple touchpoints, from physical stores to social media — and brands are listening.

Adidas is one brand that figured out how to stay present in consumers’ lives through digital experiences beyond just providing workout gear. For example, their fitness app Runtastic is separate from their commerce app and designed to help users stay fit through its artificial intelligence capabilities. The app learns from user behavior and offers recommendations based on the workouts the user actually engages with.

You may not have the same budget as Adidas, but going into 2022, you need to identify the services your customers are looking for and implement low-lift solutions. Say a customer wants to buy your handcrafted puzzles and find a community of fellow puzzle lovers. How can you provide them with both?

You can identify what these services are by checking out social media conversations and putting focus groups together.

A simple survey or questions at checkout are also great ways to gather ideas from your customers.

When you’ve identified what consumers want, you need to find ways to take action on that information — implementation is just as important as discovery. Implementing personalized experiences on-site or in marketing efforts has been shown to have a strong effect on revenue. A 2019 study from Boston Consulting Group found that personalization led to a 25% revenue lift for retailers.

True: Physical locations aren’t dead, just evolving

As predicted by Deloitte and Contentstack, brick-and-mortar stores still have quite a while to go before they’re phased out completely. Instead of being removed from the process to make way for an ecommerce-only world, physical stores are changing form.

Although ecommerce is gaining ground, customers still want to experience certain brands and products in person while keeping a seamless interaction between online and physical stores. This is particularly prevalent in the apparel and beauty categories, as customers want to try on the products before purchasing.

Consider setting up pop-up shops to create in-person experiences with your brand. This can also help connect you with your customer base without investing in a whole physical store. The ideas for creating in-person experiences for customers are endless.

For example, the KitKat Chocolatory experience allows customers to create their own one-of-a-kind chocolate at their pop-up.

ecommerce trends 2021

Source

Chances are, you’re not as big as KitKat, but there are numerous ways to create an in-person experience for customers. If you sell clothing or shoes, let customers try them on in person.

If you sell art supplies, teach a class on painting using your technique and sell some products while you’re at it.

False: Supply chain operations will become more resilient

Although experts at Forbes and Supply Chain Digital anticipated unpredictability in the supply chain, certain events in 2021 have extended the bottlenecks significantly.

Despite the optimism in the predictions, there wasn’t much room to innovate around the supply chain.

Supply chain optimism started to shatter with the Suez Canal blockage in April 2021. From then, bottlenecks were created that’ve contributed to cargo container shortages and order backlogs.

As supply chain issues continue, sellers will need to put more effort into proactive communication in 2022. You can’t control the supply chain, but you can manage your relationship with your customers. Let them know the issues you’re facing and the problems that might arise for them.

Our Place does this really well, updating customers on the shipping and warehousing challenges they’ve been having.

          ecommerce trends

Email updates from Our Place to their customers

You’ll also need to plan farther ahead than ever. Want to offer summer sales? Order your stock now. It’ll save you time and stress in the long run.

We also recommend trying out hyperlocal marketing if you’re a small business shipping mostly to customers within your postal code. This way, you only have to fulfill orders to addresses that are close by — no containers to worry about.

True: More customers and businesses will adopt augmented and virtual reality

The pandemic showed that one of the main concerns with online shopping is the inability to see the product firsthand. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology can help close this gap and allow online shoppers to visualize the products they’re interested in without stepping into a store.

Experts at ExchangeWire and Deloitte correctly predicted that the pandemic would accelerate the adoption of AR/VR and that this would reflect in consumer behavior in 2021.

Burberry successfully implemented AR through their Olympia Bag campaign, which allowed customers to shop the collection on the website. The brand used a tool to place AR versions of the pocket bags in viewers’ surroundings so they could compare the scale of the bags to real-life objects. Also, to mark the launch of the bag, Burberry created a web-based augmented reality experience that allows users to design their own 3D sculptures of the bag.

augmented reality trend

Source

Augmented reality may seem a little far-fetched for the average business owner, but it’s an interesting trend to keep an eye on as it becomes more cost-effective and more consumers start using it. An ecommerce seller could use AR/VR technology to replicate the experience of shopping in a traditional store online. Allowing customers to try an item before buying — all without having to leave their homes — could vastly improve their satisfaction and reduce costly returns.

True: More than ever, consumers are prioritizing sustainability

As companies like BigCommerce and Koomo predicted, — consumers are more aware of the environment than ever. 61% of U.S. consumers rated sustainability as an important criteria when purchasing.

Although cost and convenience are still important factors for consumers (and business owners), it’s important to pay attention to what attributes shoppers value in brands. As more consumers focus on sustainability, you should find ways to make your operations more eco-friendly. Some ways to make your business more sustainable include:

sustainable ecommerce

Source

Take a page out of the Package Free Shop’s book — they focus explicitly on low and zero waste living, carrying products that are either packaged in a reusable container or that don’t require any disposable materials.

Along with practicing sustainability, let your consumers in on your efforts by communicating your eco-friendly values in your marketing, packaging and products. If you don’t tell them, they won’t know and may hesitate when purchasing your products.

Understand the 2021 ecommerce trends and be prepared to adapt accordingly

It’s been another unpredictable year with many blockages and shortages. As we head into 2022, there’s still a lot of uncertainty.

Just like some 2021 predictions didn’t come true, it’s likely we’ll see some unexpected twists and turns in the new year.

Business owners who prepare their customers and business operations will be able to adapt quickly to ever-changing situations. Over prepare and overcommunicate with your customers so you can weather the storm together.



Get Hosting for $1.00*/mo with GoDaddy!

This post was originally published on this site

Continue Reading

Growing a Business

Shopping Video – New Marketing Trend

Published

on

One of the best ways for marketers and business owners to increase sales and engage customers is video shopping. This new marketing trend involves using video content to promote and sell your products.

Here is everything you need to know about shopping videos for business owners.

What is Video Shopping

Video shopping involves using video content to promote your products/services with the aim of increasing sales. With a shopping video, business owners can show off their brand and give relevant information about their products and services. Also, videos help influence the decision-making process of buyers and increase sales.

Types of Shopping Videos

There are two main categories of shopping videos, and they are:

Live Video Shopping

This type of video shopping involves creating a live presentation of your products. It is not pre-recorded, thus making it easy for customers to interact in real-time.

Non-Live Video Shopping

In this case, you record the video and then upload it on platforms where customers can find them. While you can’t get real-time responses from customers, non-live videos are easily accessible, unlike live videos.

Engaging social video ads

Benefits of Video Shopping

Video shopping can provide many benefits for business owners and their customers. Some of the advantages of video shopping are:

1. Engaging Visuals That Increase Sales

Consumers generally prefer video content over text because they are a more expressive form of content. With video shopping, business owners can create an interactive environment where customers can engage. This form of engaging content increases your chance of converting visitors to actual customers.

2. Increase Brand Awareness

Business owners can increase the chance of being seen by their target audience through impressive shopping videos. Shopping videos prove to be a convenient way to promote your business and increase brand awareness.

3. Convenient Customer Interaction

Video shopping helps engage with customers in real-time, thus making them feel seen. You can chat with customers one-on-one, which makes it easier to serve their needs. Whether it’s a car dealer chat or a skincare consultation, you can count on video shopping to improve rapport.

4. Bring Products to Live

With video shopping, shoppers can easily browse products in real-time. For example, fashion brands often bring clothes to life by making a video of how it looks on a real person. This will help customers have a feel of how the item will look on them, and this can increase sales.

5. Easy to Create

Creating shopping videos doesn’t have to be a long and complicated process. Shopping videos tend to be short and easy to make without requiring a professional. With a smartphone or camera, anyone can make a marketing video that converts. Also, there are many channels and platforms available to create videos that will persuade visitors into being actual customers.

6. Increased SEO Ranking

Videos tend to perform better than other forms of content, and having them on your website will increase your SEO rankings. This makes it easy for customers to find you and do business with you.

Video marketing

If you are running an online business, you need to keep up with new marketing trends to boost your brand. One of the latest marketing trends to implement is video shopping. When done correctly, video can help provide valuable information for customers, boost engagement, and increase sales.

This post was originally published on this site

Continue Reading

Growing a Business

In Business, Image Matters. How to Improve Yours?

Published

on

Your business may boast of excellent products and/or services. However, nowadays, excellent products and services simply aren’t enough to help a business survive and thrive in the long run. What your business also needs is a strong image – one that can help it stand out from its competitors.

But how exactly do you go about improving the image of your business? To know the answer to this question, read on as we take you through all the steps you can and must take to take your business forward towards success.

photo credit: August de Richeliu / Pexels

1. Face-to-face interactions with people

We may be living in the digital age, but nothing can beat face-to-face interactions when it comes to telling people about your business. Here are some ways through which you can inform people about your business and what it’s all about:

Meet people and start conversations

It’s unrealistic to expect that people will know about your business if you don’t reach out to them. So, start going out and attending events.

Business-centric open meetings and conferences would be the best place to start. At these events, you’ll run into several businessmen like yourself. You should make the most of these opportunities to start conversations with others from the world of business. This will gradually let people know about your business and the products and/or services it has to offer.

Prepare a pitch

When you meet potential customers, you have to be prepared to speak spontaneously about your business. At this juncture, it’s important that you don’t fumble or sound unconfident. After all, what you tell people about your business will form impressions in their minds – and you’d want those impressions to be positive, wouldn’t you?

This is where preparing a pitch can come in incredibly handy. Write it down first and then keep practicing it out loud, and make changes where necessary.

Participate in community events

Your local community is the first pillar of support for your business. So, get out there and try playing a role in all community events. At these events, you should promote your business in a friendly and welcoming manner.

This should encourage members of your local community to take an interest in your business and what it has to offer. Sure, this may not result in immediate sales, but it will definitely improve your business’s public visibility.

Businessman in a fancy coffee shop

2. Make your business appear professional

A surprising fact is that the modern-day consumer values professionalism more than the quality of products and services. Of course, product and service quality is important, but if your business lacks professionalism, it will lose out on customers.

So, to make your business appear professional, you can put the following steps into practice:

Invest in a business website

The internet is arguably the biggest platform for businesses nowadays, which is why you should invest in a dedicated website for your business. We recommend hiring professional web developers and designers to curate your business website. This will ensure that your website looks and feels professional.

Apart from setting up a website, you should also pay attention to its content. Quite simply, it should have all the information that your target audience may want to know, i.e., contact information and information about the business. Your business website should also have a blog with consistent posts. This can go a long way towards ensuring your expertise within your niche.

Set up a dedicated email account for your business

Using your personal email account as your business’s email account is nothing short of a criminal offense. That’s why you should set up a dedicated business email account. It’ll help you achieve consistency with your branding, and it’ll also allow your business to look professional to the people who subscribe to your business newsletters.

To set up a business email account, you need to first create a domain name and then get in touch with an email provider. Two of the best email providers out there include Office 365 for Business and Google Apps for Business. Both options provide business-class email along with features such as online storage and document editing. The best thing about these options is that they’re quite inexpensive.

Provide 24/7 Customer Service

These days, consumers expect the companies they buy products and services from to be available for them 24/7. Fortunately, the widely availble virtual assistant and reception services such as those provided by www.virtualreception.com.au can do that for you – both on and off office hours – to any types and sizes of business, from freelancing digital nomads to multinational corporations.

Social media manager

3. Set up your social media for success

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are excellent places to market your business and its products. Here are a few ways to make your business succeed on social media:

Create business profiles

On all major social media platforms, you have the option of setting up personal profiles and business profiles. It’s best to create the latter type of profile as it is designed specifically for business purposes.

During the setup process, make sure that you include relevant info in the bio sections. Don’t forget to add links to your official website and other social media handles as well.

Post relevant content regularly

All social media algorithms tend to favor accounts that post relevant content on a consistent basis. So, irrespective of the social media platforms you’re active on, make sure that you’re posting new content as much as possible.

Not posting regularly can limit your business account’s reach and stall its growth on social media.

Keep branding elements consistent across all platforms

If your Instagram page looks drastically different from your Facebook page, your target audience is bound to get confused. That’s why it’s vital to use similar branding elements across all social media platforms.

The branding elements you should focus on keeping consistent include your business’s logo, its imagery, and its voice, i.e., the tone of communicating with your audience.

Encourage users to engage with you on social media and interact with them: Through the use of call-to-action (CTA) messages, you can encourage your followers on social media to engage with your posts. You should also spare time to respond to your followers’ comments.

Business owner in the Portugal-based office
photo credit: Fauxels / Pexels

Takeaway

There are quite some things to consider in your endeavor to increase your buisness image. However, focusing on the three above is more than sufficient to get started: Meet people and tell the about your business; make an effort to be professional, especially in your online presence; and lastly, make use of social media platforms to your advantage.

Be sure to do a lot of trials-and-errors so that you can form the best practices for your company.

This post was originally published on this site

Continue Reading

Growing a Business

5 Ways Virtual Headquarters Pandemic-Proof Your Business

Published

on

The coronavirus pandemic battered many businesses to the ground. At its peak, we saw businesses either shutting down or struggling to make ends meet. We had job cuts and salary cuts left, right and center. Businesses across the world, especially small businesses, are still suffering from the economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic. Even now, with things finally opening up, many businesses are skeptical of the times and have gone into planning mode.

Every business now wants to create a contingency plan for when things start to go out of hand. Many businesses which were able to survive the pandemic were the ones that were prepared. The ones that had a contingency plan and a disaster management plan ready to roll out.

photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Solutions / Unsplash

Taking a cue from this, all every company wants to plan for right now is this: What to do if and when a pandemic hits again? Is there a way to pandemic proof your business?

One step that most businesses have taken is setting up a virtual headquarters.

What is a Virtual Headquarters?

Virtual headquarters or a virtual office is a physical address of your online business. At this physical address, you can create shared workspaces, meeting rooms, and set up a virtual assistant. You and your employees can continue working from home, but you still have a physical address for your place of work.

But why would you go to all that trouble when everyone is working from home? A number of factors come into play here, the biggest of them being the pandemic. As more and more businesses attempt to pandemic proof their businesses, they are striving to find the right balance between remote working and having a physical office. For a lot of businesses, a model that works better is having a watered-down version of a physical space up and running.

Remote working

 

photo credit: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

Here are some of the main advantages of opting to have a virtual headquarter for your business in order to keep it as pandemic proof as possible.

1. You get a prestigious office address

First impressions matter. And having a prestigious office address on your business card certainly makes the right impression. This point becomes even more significant if you are a small business that’s trying to make it big. A calling card with a flashy office address sends a positive sign to potential clients — about your seriousness regarding the business and your credibility and professionalism. A prestigious office address is also something your employees will be proud of.

So you get a great address without the long lease and the major utilities and upkeep costs involved. An absolute win-win.

2. Expansion is easy

It is a lot easier to expand or even downsize your business when you have a virtual headquarter. This is because you do not need to think about the physical space aspect of it. Need to hire more people? Go ahead without worrying about where they will sit, if you will need to lease a new floor, or if the office space is enough.

Thinking of moving a department offshore? No need to redo your office space lease to physically downsize. Having a virtual headquarters gives you the flexibility without the constraints.

3. Your employees can keep working remotely

Having a virtual headquarters does not mean a proper office space that employees will eventually return to. You and your employees will continue to work remotely while being associated with that one physical address.

Depending on how big or small your virtual headquarters are, you can make room for monthly in-person team meets. You can even give some employees to have the option to book up a terminal and work from the office once a week. Or you could simply reserve your physical address as a place to forward mail and work calls. The possibilities are endless.

Excellent customer service

4. Customer service are made easy

When the pandemic hit, too many companies had to suddenly shut shop and move everything online. While the transition came with its own hurdles, one of the bigger issues was customer service.

Shutting shop completely may cause some technical issues with providing customer service. Having a virtual headquarters means that you can now use the available virtual services, such as 24/7 customer service – which can be a critical success factor in winning customers during the pandemic.

5. Better work-life balance

Just knowing there is a demarcation between your work life and your personal life helps a lot in trying to strike a balance. As great as working from home is, many find it very hard to disconnect completely from work. This happens when the place you work from and the place where you relax overlap.

A lot of employees are prone to giving out their personal details more easily while working from home. This may be to receive official correspondence via postal mail or receive calls on their personal mobile number. While this may seem like part and parcel of remote working, it makes disconnecting difficult. Things seem tougher when you proceed to go on leave or a holiday but are constantly being bombarded with work calls, emails and postal mails.

When you have a physical headquarters, employees are able to make use of the virtual receptionist to handle calls and also have an address to forward relevant mail in their absence. This provides a much-needed demarcation between personal and professional life.

Business team meeting in a Virtual Headquarters

Takeaway

A virtual headquarters may not work for a particular business type. On the other hand, it may be the thing another business needs to flourish. It is important to evaluate all the pros and cons before you make a decision for your business.

This post was originally published on this site

Continue Reading

Trending

SmallBiz Newsletter

Join our newsletter for the latest information, news and products that are vital to running a successful SmallBiz.