E-Commerce Forecast: 5 trends to look out for in 2021
When COVID 19 caused the shut down of physical marketplaces and disrupted normalcy, the internet became a safe haven for trade. Online retail sales rose by 24.6%, a two-year high. The e-commerce industry, with its no-contact purchases and easy to outsource customer service, became the go-to for B2C and B2B exchanges.
In the future, this trend is likely to continue. According to a McKinsey & Company study, 90% of surveyed business decision-makers said, “online self-service and remote interactions would likely govern most B2B exchanges even after the pandemic.” This means that all businesses, whether giants or newcomers, will have to keep on top of e-commerce trends to succeed.
From tech to customer service outsourcing, here are 5 trends to watch out for in 2021:
PWA Will Pick Up Speed
According to Statista, mobile commerce will comprise almost 54% of all e-commerce sales in 2021. As more companies go online, customers are unlikely to download individual apps for different businesses. Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) will find increased adoption in the industry. PWAs are software that work on desktops and mobile browsers while providing a native mobile app experience. PWAs will also deliver seamless user experiences while saving costs for businesses.
Customers Will Turn to Voice Search
After the 1980s, call center outsourcing companies picked up pace because they could solve customer issues quickly and effectively. In today’s world, virtual assistants are slowly replacing their fundamental role. OC&C estimates that in the US alone, shoppers will spend $40 billion via voice shopping in 2022. However, voice assistants are not 100% effective. For the best experience, companies should look at a combination of tech-based assistants and human agents.
AI & Automation will increase
Till 2020, analytics and machine learning dominated e-commerce technology. In 2021, tech usage will evolve to include more chatbots, live chat, speech analytics and other sophisticated AI tools to improve customer experience. Forrester predicts that in 2021, more than 60% B2B sellers will employ AI and automation. Apart from administrivia and customer engagement, AI will also find use in fraud detection, prevention and securing transactions. Augmented reality and virtual reality are also likely to enter the e-commerce space.
Integrated Solutions Will Dominate
Switching to an online supply-and-delivery chain will require multiple platforms and legacy tools. However, too many components can complicate the process. Instead, integrated solutions like ERP systems, multi-channel integrations or CRM integrations between in-house and third-party customer service outsourcing companies can optimize e-commerce for consumers and businesses. Such unified solutions will find more takers.
Focus on Connection
According to Forrester, in 2021, businesses will need to shift to an “empathy-focussed support” to alleviate “unexpected hardships (financial or otherwise)” that consumers are facing because of the uncertain environment. In the e-commerce space, this could take the form of empathetic technology, such as: well-programed chatbots that reduce waiting time and provide useful product recommendations and other speedy, convenient services through customer service outsourcing. Connection, rather than aggression, will go a long way in doing business online in 2021.
Gearing Up for 2021
A new year brings many new opportunities for change and growth. Staying abreast with the latest trends and adapting to them will ensure you stay ahead of the curve.
Allsec’s customer service outsourcing solutions have been accelerating digital transformations across industries via a balance between technology and empathy. Reach out to us for more information.