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The seven biggest e-commerce trends in 2021

In retail, the age-old rhetoric goes: the customer comes first. And 2021 is no different. This year’s e-commerce trends are heavily fuelled by the consumer’s newfound desires and expectations surrounding online shopping.  Your beautiful product and slick e-commerce website won’t cut through the noise for your customer, without an immersive, personalised, and interactive experience – every time they shop. 

According to Shopify’s Fashion and Apparel Industry Report, the worldwide e-commerce revenue is estimated to rise from $481.2 billion in 2018 to $712.9 billion by 2022.  So, how can you weather the storm of the burgeoning e-commerce space, maintain brand integrity and bolster your bottom line? By keeping up with the times, of course. Here, we break down the seven biggest e-commerce trends to keep across now, and well into the future.

1. Headless commerce

If you’re tired of hearing “omnichannel” as you explore new ways to reach that monthly budget, well, get ready to hear a lot more of it. The omnichannel customer is here to stay.

Omnichannel selling is not new, particularly to bricks-and-mortar stores, but online e-commerce brands should consider shifting significantly to become an omnichannel brand in 2021. That doesn’t just mean selling offline, it means varying your channels online with a customer-centric mindset.

Before you point out that all your marketing efforts are customer-centric, consider if you hang out where your customer hangs out. Are you amalgamating your customer and product data to create a personalised shopping experience? Are you offering efficient, fuss-free mobile shopping? Are you visible on third-party marketplaces?

“Headless commerce” is designed to offer brands the flexibility that allows them to extend shopping into any customer experience. Notice how they interact with your campaigns and how they’re already shopping with you – then meet them where they are. Be where they like to be, sell their favourite products where they like to buy them. Having a robust omnichannel strategy will enable you to seamlessly respond and interact with your customers, with the brand message that resonates best.

2. AI & AR

ICYMI, AI (artificial intelligence) is the future of your product being discovered online. 

The trend is rapidly gaining traction, along with AR (augmented reality) mainly through the following areas: personalisation (and hyper-personalisation), segmentation, and chatbots. Most businesses, especially fashion retailers, already use product recommendations and emails that are delivered by machine learning.

Consider the cut-through you can gain from the combination of hyper-personalisation and AR. In the step-up from e-comm video, Gucci lets you take a look at how their sneakers will look on your feet from your very own home, and Asos brings you the complete collection with Avatars to model for you. Wonder what Cher Horowitz would think of that one?

It’s no surprise that 46 per cent of customers prefer live chat to email or phone for support. So, using a chatbot to help facilitate your live chat provides instant answers without overloading your support team.

Despite the big budgets some brands are lucky enough to work with, you can also harness this power to create personalised PPC campaigns, or opt into programs like LimeSpot and Optimonk which hit your customers at every touchpoint.

3. Recommerce

Recommerce, also known as second-hand commerce, is growing at an astounding rate among people under 40, and is expected to grow to $33 billion in 2021. And it’s not just the lower prices bringing customers in the door; recommerce appeals to the sustainably-minded, and also the shoppers concerned with garment clout.

Currently, the most popular second-hand products include vintage clothing, designer handbags, brand-name fashion clothing, and shoes. So you’re in the right game.

To capitalise on this trend, consider creating a second-hand community for your brand. Messaging around seasonless, archival, and one-off pieces will add new life to those past-season garments hanging out in your warehouse.

Read more at for the remaining four of our Top Seven E-commerce Trends.

Style Arcade is a digital range planning and fashion analytics suite built by fashion retailers for fashion retailers and works with brands such as The Iconic, Surfstitch, Aje, MJ Bale, Jo Mercer, PE Nation and White Fox Boutique.

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