Delivery, payment methods, customer service… As the retail sector undergoes an unprecedented transformation under the influence of the health crisis, merchants must adapt quickly to prosper. To help them, Shopify unveils the major trends that will mark 2021.
The health crisis has largely turned our habits upside down, whether because of the various lockdowns put in place across the world, or the social distancing in force.
While our private and professional lives have been particularly impacted, so have our purchasing behavior. They have changed considerably under the impetus of the coronavirus, within particular an unprecedented acceleration of eCommerce. As proof, we will retain the spectacular profits recorded by Amazon or the online sales records reached by Black Friday this year.
It is in this particular and unprecedented context that Shopify, a leading platform in the creation of e-commerce sites, has played the game of predictions by trying to guess what will be the five major trends in commerce in 2021. For this, the company Canada was based on various surveys carried out among tens of thousands of consumers from all over the world, as well as on data from its merchants.
Young Consumers Will Continue To Drive ECommerce
According to the report published by Shopify, in the past six months, 53% of consumers surveyed said they had avoided peak in-store visits, and 46% of them said they did not feel comfortable enough to do so. their purchases in person. A tangible fear of the coronavirus has resulted in an acceleration of eCommerce: 84% of consumers have confided that they have made purchases online since the start of the health crisis when only 65% of them say they have gone to the store to make their purchases.
This momentum looks set to be confirmed in 2021 as 79% of consumers said they plan to buy regularly online over the next six months when, at the same time, only 57% of them plan to make purchases. in-store purchases.
This trend should mainly be driven by 18-34-year-olds. During the health crisis, 67% of them spent more budget on online purchases compared to the beginning of the year, against 57% for 35-54-year-olds, and only 41% among consumers over 55 years.
Besides, young consumers were more sensitive than their elders to purchases through social networks: 54% of 18-34-year-olds discovered independent brands through social platforms, against 43% for 35-54-year-olds. and 25% for those over 55. Likewise, 28% of young consumers said they purchased products through social media, compared to 20% of middle-aged consumers, and 8% of older consumers.
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Towards A Deep And Lasting Transformation Of Physical Commerce
Between occasional closures, strict health regulations, and consumer mistrust, traders have had no choice but to adapt to ensure their survival in 2020. In particular by implementing new delivery methods, or even by relying on new technologies. And according to Shopify’s findings, they‘ll need to continue their efforts in 2021 if they want to continue to run a sustainable business.
62% of consumers said they were more comfortable with the idea of paying for their purchases through contactless payment and 50% of them would like to be able to schedule in-store purchasing appointments to ‘avoid the crowds.
Likewise, the different delivery and collection methods have been widely acclaimed since the start of the health crisis: 28% of consumers have chosen local delivery, 23% of them have collected their items in-store or drive and, finally, 21% of them collected their order from a collection point.
Also, 64% of consumers say they withdraw their drive and Click and Collect purchases more often than before the start of the pandemic. Also, 57% of them say the same for collection points and local deliveries.
Surprisingly, this resulted in a rise in average baskets and conversion rates. According to Shopify, “From May to August 2020, when choosing local pickup or local delivery, online shoppers spent 23% more” and “had an average basket 25% higher”. Moreover, between January and September 2020, customers who choose local pickup posted a 13% higher conversion rate than those who chose a traditional shipping method.
These new means put in place by traders to ensure their survival in times of crisis are proving to be excellent vectors for generating more turnover. With this in mind, Shopify is certain: in 2021, “omnichannel features and experiences will breathe new life into physical stores and allow businesses to better exploit their proximity to local consumers”.
Consumers Want More Support For Independent Businesses
During its survey, Shopify found that, on average, 50% of consumers look for independent businesses to support and encourage entrepreneurship (33%), buy unique products (33%), and benefit from good customer service (31%). However, this intention is struggling to be reflected in purchasing habits which are still mainly geared towards large brands and online marketplaces, due to a good selection of products (57%), advantageous prices. (51%) and their reliability (34%).
Thus, since the start of the pandemic, only 29% of consumers have made purchases from an independent company. In France, this contradiction is particularly felt: 43% of consumers say they want to help independent stores when only 16% of them make purchases from them. This trend was confirmed in another study, carried out by iStock.
This situation is likely to change in 2021 thanks to the modernization and improvement of the services offered by independent companies. 59% of online shoppers say free shipping is likely to improve their shopping experience, while 40% believe free returns could have the same effect. At the same time, 37% of consumers say they are frustrated when delivery is too slow, and 23% say they feel the same when they have to pay shipping costs.
With an improvement in these services, consumers who say they want to support small businesses would certainly be reassured and could finally take the plunge. For their part, independent traders would increase their chances of attracting new customers and growing their business.
… as well as the causes close to their hearts
Consumers surveyed by Shopify also expressed their desire to make sense of their purchases, including supporting causes that are important to them through them. Also, 53% of buyers say they prefer green and sustainable products, 49% particularly appreciate merchants who donate for every sale made, and 23% of them say they buy from local merchants to reduce their environmental impact.
For the eCommerce platform, the message sent by consumers is clear: “Brands must demonstrate authenticity, transparency, and accountability as consumers increasingly support local businesses and sustainable products”.
FinTech To The Rescue Of Merchants And Consumers
Currently, 24% of merchants believe their bank or financial institution does not understand the needs of their businesses. A figure that rises to 36% when these needs are linked to the health crisis.
At the same time, 48% of merchants and 62% of occasional merchants surveyed said that a “good online or app banking experience is one of the three determining factors in choosing a bank for their business”.
In this context, FinTech seems to provide merchants with more concrete and tangible solutions than traditional banks, including payment services online more modern, flexible, and entities allowing them to raise funds more easily.
On the consumer side, the trend is towards deferred payments: in the United States, 25% of households with high, middle, or low incomes have already used this option at least once. Moreover, according to the Canadian company, “the number of Shopify merchants who offer purchase with deferred payment has increased by 60% since the start of the pandemic”.
For good reason, buyers see three major advantages in this system: first, it is easier to pay for a product in small installments when you have a tight budget. Then it allows you to take advantage of a good deal immediately. Finally, this payment option is interest-free, unlike payment by credit card.
Building on these revelations, Shopify believes that “speed and access to capital, digital wallets with faster payment, and more flexible payment methods such as deferred payments will quickly gain popularity” in 2021.
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In 2020, traders had to react to an unprecedented situation to continue to ensure their survival. In 2021, they will have to regain control to further improve their services and thus be in line with the needs of their customers: online sales site, free and faster delivery service, deferred and contactless payment, Click and Collect… The avenues mentioned by Shopify are numerous, but all of them suggest that the modernization of customer services will be one of the main keys to success.