The 2021 eCommerce trends reflect the gargantuan impacts the global COVID-19 pandemic has left on consumers, shoppers, and businesses. As shoppers were forced online, businesses across multiple industries were forced to rapidly evolve their eCommerce model to address the growing demand. Many of these trends were already on the horizon, only now exacerbated by the pandemic. Looking forward to 2021, businesses must be prepared to weather and adapt with the continuing disruption in order to compete effectively.
TREND #1: The Post-Buy Experience
Amid the uncertain retail world that COVID-19 has created, it’s essential that retailers go the extra step to appeal to consumer preferences. eCommerce has become the stage for most shopping, as many people have ditched the in-store experience.
Quite obviously, consumers look at the site layout, organization, and appealing features before buying, and the summation of that experience is essential to the outcome. What isn’t so obvious is the importance of the post-buy experience as well.
The post-buy experience entails everything that takes place after the ‘buy’ button is hit: tracking, shipping, delivery, and returns. Many consumers prioritize these proactively, sometimes veering away from purchasing from eCommerce stores that do poorly in these areas. Very few consumers feel comfortable going into shopping malls regularly at this point, so this will make the online shopping market extremely competitive.
The best way to rise above competitors will be to prioritize both the pre- AND post-buy consumer experiences for a well-rounded approach to a consumer-first strategy. Making returns seamless can be as simple as sending the return label when the package ships.
Retailers can enhance their post-buy experience by making their efforts and policies explicit. Accessibility of information is crucial to maintaining consumer satisfaction and attention and can spark the continued communication between parties. One way to maintain strong communication is through excellent customer service; instant chat programs and post-buy satisfaction surveys are two effective retention methods for retailers. Implementing these changes can increase the likelihood of a repurchase or engine of viral growth.
Nearly 70% of consumers said the ability to track delivery was one of their top three considerations when buying a product online.
TREND #2: Enhanced Data Security and Fraud Management, Device-Based Authentication
As many businesses enter the eCommerce space, the risk for data breaches heighten and poses a massive threat to both consumers and companies. Digital commerce fraud is streamlined through the flow of breached or stolen data on the black market. A large sum of payment card data, account number, CVV, expiration date, and address can be bought on the dark web for only $1 per account. This data is then spread through sophisticated fraud rings that pose a massive threat to consumer identities. Cookie deprecation is also a possibility that requires active fixing. Preserving and protecting the single view of the consumer is necessary to enable continued engagement after third-party cookies are fully deprecated.
Another issue that has arisen with booming online ordering is fraudulent purchasing, which has taken a variety of forms. Inventory shrinkage is at an all-time high and is very problematic in terms of a company’s profitability. This, coupled with an already low inventory, is posing a significant loss to available inventory and therefore negatively impacts both the retailer and potential buyer.
With this increased focus on issues regarding cybercrime, it’s expected that preventative measures will follow. Having a fraud management solution is necessary to decrease the number of fraudulent orders experienced by eCommerce companies. Touchpoints within checkout, fraud checks, and the dispute process are all important aspects of this solution that strongly impact success in eCommerce today. Fraud directly impacts the companies’ profits, posing an ongoing threat especially in the pandemic situation. Though improving fraud filtering to protect against future disputes can come at the price of future revenue, it contributes to a better overall better customer experience.
It is important to note that the solution to fraud management is not straightforward and free of risk; in dealing with any type of threat, there is always the possibility of failure or mistakes. Digital authentication, a crucial aspect of the fraudulent safety practice, frustrates many consumers as they forget one time used passwords and get flagged mistakenly as a threat. Device based authentication may be the saving grace for companies struggling with authentication protocols. This form of fraud protection determines the identity of the device’s user by analyzing the strength of linkages between three sources:
- The user’s offline data—identifiers such as name, home address, phone number, and email;
- The user’s online data—such as IP address, cookie ID, or a mobile advertising ID; and
- Data from the user’s device—such as prepaid status, IP behavior, and the presence of a VPN or the Tor browser in the IP address.’ This type of authentication is imperceptible to consumers and therefore extremely convenient.
82% of brick and mortar retail apps “actively” leak sensitive data and 92% of online retail apps do.
Download the full 2021 eCommerce Trends here.
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Contributions by Alexandra Hatsios.