What does eCommerce look like in a ‘post-pandemic’ world?

Whilst we might not be exactly out of the woods when it comes to the pandemic, a lot changed in eCommerce in 2020. Shopify has their fingers on the pulse when it comes to knowing what’s up within eCommerce and have released a comprehensive report that predicts the future of commerce.

So, what do eCommerce merchants need to know moving forward in 2021?

1.The eCommerce boom of 2020 means competition is tougher than ever.

In 2020, almost 150 million new shoppers made a purchase online. The eCommerce industry saw 10 years’ growth in just 3 months. That’s 150 million new people for brands and advertisers to breakthrough. In the APAC region specifically, we saw a 15.5% growth in retail e-commerce sales. This means that brands will have to ensure that their approach is wide-reaching. There is now no excuse not to take on an omnichannel approach. Brands must meet their customers where they are. 

Scaling your omnichannel strategy.

Shopify Omnichannel Strategy

Image Source

Brands need to meet their customer wherever they are. This means optimising your commerce across channels such as your social media, retail, marketplaces and wholesale. This month, Shopify has opened up ShopPay to be available directly within Facebook & Instagram, which means that consumers wont even have to leave the Facebook or Instagram apps to make a purchase. Creating a complete brand experience across all of these channels will set you apart.

Another consideration to make is ensuring that your UX design is simple and efficient. At the end of the day a well-designed site with simple, intuitive navigation from the home page, to product to checkout will always win out over a beautiful, intricate design that is impossible to use.

2. New buying behaviours are changing retail as we know it.

As a result of an overwhelming shift to online, retailers who previously relied on unique in-person or in-store consumer experiences have had to adapt. As a result, the face of retail is changing and consumers are able to experience unbelievably custom services from the comfort of their home. 

Vuse 3d AR

“AR is a great tool to help customer try their products on at home or at least mimic trying them on” David Wagoner P3 Media

Physical retailers have implemented AR experiences for the customer to see products in their own space or physically on their body. Adidas have implemented AR to try on new shoes from within their app. Miss Amara allows customers to see their rugs in their room to scale. Vuse, a leading Vape merchant has created an AR experience to see their Vape pens in 3D.

Merchants with physical stores such as Mecca who typically rely on individual in-store consultations and recommendations launched bookings for online services to replicate the in-store experience during peak lockdown periods. 

Brands will need to think of immersive ‘at home’ experiences for customers that replicates in-store or in-person shopping experiences. It’s all about enhancing the consumer experience and giving them confidence in their purchases.

3. Consumers prefer brands that are offering free, fast, sustainable shipping options at the checkout.

We’ve mentioned it before, but consumers are becoming increasingly impatient. Hands up who else checks their tracking number at least 3 times a day until your order arrives?  Studies showed that 64% amount of people saying they will choose a free shipping option every time they purchase online. Consumers will also pay a premium for express or overnight shipping options. For brands, this means that they must make a decision about absorbing shipping fees or passing them onto their customer. Incentivising customers to spend more to earn free shipping is also a great way of converting sales. 

Vuse Free Shipping

For some stores like Walmart, which had previously received the majority of their sales from physical stores, they are now turning them into fulfilment centres to fulfil orders to local areas faster.

4. Online marketplaces are growing rapidly. 

In 2020, 50% of all online sales occured within an online marketplace. These Marketplaces allow consumers to search for products or solutions rather than a brand often making it difficult for competitors to stand out.

The Market Screen Shot

As a result of this, building a brand has never been more important—or more difficult. The good news is that there are a few opportunities to stand out from the crowd. Where possible, customise imagery and banners for your brand within a marketplace setting. Convenience and personalisation should be at the forefront of your strategy here.

Brands can create unique value for purpose-driven consumers.  Socially conscious consumers are willing to pay a premium for brands with a purpose so brands should also consider where they can provide value at a premium.

5. Customer retention is key to long term success.

With millions of new brands entering the eCommerce space in 2020 and after Google’s announcement of the phasing out of 3rd party cookies, it’s getting harder and more expensive to reach new customers. In late 2020, the costs of paid search advertising grew by 17% and paid social advertising increased by 24%. Marketers and brands are going to have to start thinking on their feet for creative ways to engage new customers and retain existing customers.

Placing a large focus on customer retention and increasing LTV (Life Time Value) of existing customers will be the key to long term success for merchants. Implementing loyalty programs or adding a subscription model to your store are both excellent ways to increase retention and secure long term revenue. This is where effective marketing and email marketing strategies to existing customers is going to pay dividends. 


We’ve seen so much change in the last 12 months, and merchants are learning that to stay on top they must be agile, flexible and ready to adapt to shifting consumer trends. If you’re looking for a Shopify Expert who can keep you on top of these trends get in touch with us today.


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by zyber2020
February 23, 2021


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