What does the future of e-commerce look like?

17th April, 2021

By Elliot McHugh

There’s no doubt e-commerce is a market which is growing every day. Did you know that UK online sales accounted for a record 35.2% of all retail in January 2021? That’s well over a quarter of the internet which is being used for e-retail purposes! Think about how important web design and SEO will become in future years – eventually most businesses will operate online and distribute their products from the click of a few buttons.

Businesses like Amazon, Argos and eBay have already taken advantage of the e-commerce market, although new businesses like Stripe for business are starting to emerge, bringing new ideas and changing industries.

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As we move into 2021, there have already been a number of significant changes in the world of e-commerce. Perhaps one of the biggest changes in e-commerce is the number of customers who are now purchasing through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Advertisers are using all kinds of methods to try and increase conversions and drive sales for their business – often great ads will use a combination of high-quality videos with a catchy caption or button to draw visitors in.

This buyer behaviour has largely been driven by the increased use of mobile devices for consuming social media and in 2018, Facebook’s mobile advertising revenue accounted for 92% of the social network’s total advertising revenue. The use of mobiles and tablets for using the internet is likely to increase as we move into the future, and this has all been accelerated by covid-19 which has accelerated e-retail to a new dimension.

Another way e-commerce has changed is the increased use of voice search. Current statistics show that 41% of adults use voice search at least once per day and a 2018 study from BrightLocal found that 58% of consumers used voice search to find a local business in 2017. That’s a huge amount! It’s not too surprising though, particularly because Amazon and Google are releasing technologies like Alexa which double up as speakers. Who knows what the future of voice search will look like!

Interestingly, another way e-commerce has changed is the number of businesses who are opting to build their online shops themselves. Platforms like Shopify have become powerhouses in recent years and are continuously improving their platform to find new ways of engaging customers. Shopify is also integrating with business platforms, allowing businesses to keep track of all their stock from the click of a few buttons.

Sub-platforms like oberlo (which link with Shopify) also allow e-commerce website owners to use dropshipping, sourcing products from trusted suppliers and shipping them without holding stock.

It will be interesting to see how e-commerce changes in the coming months – I guess we’ll have to wait and find out!

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