Out of necessity, many businesses needed to scale their offering to be ecommerce centric in the opening months of the pandemic. Now, 12 months on, it is safe to say that the trend to purchase online has not lost momentum, with the latest rates from Australia Post indicating a 34.9% growth in online sales during December, compared year on year. Those businesses who didn’t necessarily need to make the pivot at the time and now find there is a desire for them to do so, in order to capture this ever-growing market. It is all about how to scale – to best facilitate the desires of consumers and more so, not just riding the wave of each ecommerce trend, but actually acknowledging the emergence of these sub sectors offerings. As business owners who choose to take actionable steps, we can actually shape these trends, creating not just hype for the consumer but hype for our businesses as well.

Omnichannel shopping 

Enter omnichannel shopping – the true definition of the integrated consumer shopping experience, where the lines between platforms are intentionally blurred. This trend is at the forefront of offerings during 2021 as businesses attempt to capture and convert traffic from their traditional websites, social media and click based advertisements. Our offerings and messaging needs to take this into consideration. The key here is the targeted messaging, looking at what point the consumer is at in the sale funnel regardless of where they pick up and left off from or from which platform this took place.

As a business to truly scale here, it is back to basics. Take a look at each of the sales platforms you have available and are likely to convert sales from. Your content and products need to be hybrid across channels and use specialised retargeting messaging which appeal to more than just a price point – look at what values your brand is aligned with (examples may be sustainability or being Australian made) and ensure your messaging speaks to the consumer on these levels as well.

The rise of AI

Whilst there has long been concern about AI and how our information is used in technology, the convenience and choice associated with online shopping utilising AI features will continue to see this trend continue to show dominance in the ecommerce sector. By utilising preferences selected, liked, uploaded or viewed by the consumer, AI allows businesses to present options to potential customers, even if they have not been engaged in the process of online shopping at the time. This can be extended to services and online assistance.

For businesses new to this, it’s time to make a start. Invest in having your website provide recommendations of products based on other items they may have viewed. For those looking to expand their AI utilisation, maybe it’s time to look at retargeting your marketing based on the data you collect from customers, including abandoned carts. This can be particularly effective if you are all over it with your omni channels.

ReCommerce (second hand commerce) 

Many businesses have begun to enter the reCommerce market, particularly as consumers become ever more mindful of consumption and sustainability. Once again, this is capitalising on the holistic nature of our consumerist tendencies and instead of focusing on multiple platforms, you have the opportunity to offer goods in a variety of conditions. This market has seen a large rise in popularity through social media marketplaces and online platforms such as eBay.

If your business is holding inventory which is aged or may be customer returns (in as new condition) utilising platforms dedicated to reCommerce is a good way to ensure a healthy inventory turn and capitalise on our growing interest in buying second hand, closeout or “as new” goods.  Instead of outsourcing this function to a reCommerce site, businesses can take the opportunity to set up a section on their website or run sales through socials to help move this stock.

The increased general acceptance and uptake of online marketplaces/3rd party platforms also works to bolter this trend.

 Beyond these three trends alone though, the possibilities of how we want to shop online and what tools we are looking to utilise appear endless. Voice commerce, fintech and digital wallets for payments, shoppable TV, white labelling and mobile/visual and social commerce are all growing in popularity.

Embrace and capitalise on these trends to really create a buzz.

The buzzword of “going viral” in essence is speaking to being an internet success and something the majority of businesses who are utilising ecommerce are seeking to obtain. The idea though does not mean the content itself needs to be manufactured or off message just to achieve viral status. 

Spend With Us – the buy from a bush business marketplace is a perfect example of this. The Spend With Us marketplace is a  shopping platform designed to directly support Australian rural and regional families and communities who have been affected by fire, drought and now, COVID19. Spend With Us was developed on the back of the successful Facebook group “Buy from a Bush Business – helping support business owners in rural communities who had suffered through both fire and flood. At the launch of the Spend With Us website, the Facebook group boasted over a quarter of a million members. At no time was the messaging and content constructed simply for “likes or views”, instead the intent was born from community sentiment. Australians had identified that they needed to support local communities and as such, the movement of “shop local”grew in popularity.What we did do well was take this social message and then engage in the platforms which were likely to gain the most traction and engagement – initially with Facebook and then subsequently the independent marketplace.

At no stage should you compromise your brands messaging, but rather use these trends and tools we talk of to build attention. You need to take the time to engage in where you are getting traction and engagement with your audience and capitalise on this – is it your stance or action in regards to a social issue? Is this issue currently getting airplay and something which you are likely to be able to leverage and add value to? Is the interest in an upcoming product or service launch? The key though is a call to action – what do you want here, brand awareness, sales conversions or engagement and conversation? 

Sarah Britz is co-founder of Spend with Us