Digital Competition: The Rise of Ecommerce

ecommerce growth

The enduring mark left by pandemic (COVID-19) on the eCommerce consumer landscape has totally changed everything in the eCommerce industry. Changes that were predicted to come around in years, happened in a few weeks.

From offline spending, the trend shifted to online. Products that were rarely bought online have become eCommerce staples today. Along with that, speed, convenience, and immediacy have become top eCommerce consumers demands. 

This massive sudden growth in the eCommerce sector has taken the online competition to the next level. 

That was all about 2020. A new decade has begun, the eCommerce sector has evolved and the growth in online competition will continue to accelerate in 2021.

 As we move into 2021, it’s essential for any eCommerce brand that wants to drive traffic and improve sales conversion rate must know the importance of keeping with the eCommerce trends.

When it comes to eCommerce trends, you might find hundreds of them and to solely focus on one becomes impossible. 

Keeping that in view, today in this article we’ll explore one of the greatest eCommerce trends that we believe will rule the eCommerce industry for decades.

eCommerce trend for 2021 : eCommerce growth fuels online competition

Shoppers across the globe are fueling eCommerce market

Covid-19 has adversely affected the whole world except the eCommerce industry because the eCommerce growth that was supposed to happen in 10 years happened in 90 days

States locked down, retailers were asked to shut down and people were forced to stay at their homes. During such a chaotic situation, eCommerce global retail sales increased by 16.4%. Not only Millennials and Generation Z drive these sales but old shoppers actively participated in it.

According to eMarketer’s survey on the global eCommerce market, during pandemic 84% consumers shopped online.  However, in 2021 we’ll see a shift in eCommerce growth. It’s highly expected to decelerate in the U.S. It will decrease to 7.8% as brick-and-mortar stores will be back in business. 

7.8% as brick-and-mortar stores

Source: eMarketer

On the other end of the spectrum, the growth rate of eCommerce will massively increase in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia Pacific if compared to US eCommerce growth rate during the first half of this decade.

Pandemic has brought major disruption. Retail market is massively struggling for stabilization, however, eCommerce has become the economic sweet spot because consumers and brands are rushing online. 

Nearly 150 million customers shop online for the very first time in their entire life during pandemic. Looking at the stats, it’s certain the number of eCommerce consumers will only accelerate in upcoming days.

This trend is a headwind for eCommerce brands since the eCommerce market place has become more competitive and crowded than ever.

Competitive digital landscape 

The competition in the digital market is heating up. Competitors traditionally are not’ only competing in product/services categories but they all are competing for digital shoppers. 

The competition is not only coming from the local market but from abroad too. Due to the shortage of everyday use products in the market, consumers start purchasing from brands that are located outside their home country. Therefore, a spike in cross-border eCommerce was seen from January 2020 to June 2020 by 21%.

According to Shopify, the U.S market is leading cross-border eCommerce whereas a shift has been seen in the behaviour on Chinese consumers.

 shift has been seen in the behaviour on Chinese consumers

Sourced from Shopify

Shopify also revealed during the pandemic the usage of translation apps spiked by 3,309% across the globe. Since pandemic broke out, a significant increase is seen in the usage of currency conversion and dropshipping apps.

Apart from international competition, the deep-pocket eCommerce marketers are heavily investing in digital advertisements. From television commercials, the eCommerce market has shifted to digital advertising.

This new marketing trend has driven-up the rates of digital advertising, making it more challenging for eCommerce marketers to acquire new consumers. The cost of customer acquisition spiked on Facebook after the pandemic broke out. If compared to pre-pandemic rates, the cost is much higher now.


Sourced from Revealbot

To acquire a new customer, it can cost more than $30 USD to companies due to acceleration in digital advertising rates.

eCommerce growth and customer experience

The global pandemic has totally transformed the importance and role of digital experiences in consumers’ lives. A shift has been seen in their behaviour as now they demand for intuitive and easy-to-use digital experiences across all devices and channels.

Margo Hays – Principal of Digital Strategy, TSG states,

“We’re seeing this rapid shift and it’s not just eCommerce. It’s everything. Our consumers are now demanding speed and efficiency, no matter what you’re doing.”

Brands that can fulfill those expectations are making great fortune. Unfortunately only 38% of big brands are capable of delivering seamless customer experience. 

Hana Abaza – global director of marketing at Shopify Plus commented,

“During the pandemic, direct-to-consumer brands with thriving eCommerce experiences were able to quickly and easily pivot their marketing and messaging, their energy,”

He further said,

“They didn’t have to fundamentally rethink their business model. They could focus on very different things because they were at a significant advantage.”

This opens up new opportunities for DTC brands as they need to only focus on building their eCommerce expertise. 

What should you do to thrive in the eCommerce market in 2021?

To overcome the cut-throat competition in the eCommerce market while capitalizing on it, it’s necessary for every eCommerce brand to choose and implement a strategy that can take customer experience to the next level.

To provide a wholesome seamless customer experience you need to optimize your sales channels.

Yes you got it right, we are talking about Omni-channel marketing.

Omni-channel marketing – A necessity of every eCommerce store

Lauren Davis of Just After Midnight believes, 

“Omnichannel selling will become the new normal. We’re really seeing this with the public cloud platforms moving into this space with tools like Amazon Personalize and Pinpoint. This could potentially be disruptive in an interesting way, but the bottom line is omnichannel selling, and those kinds of capabilities will be cheaper and more accessible. 2021 will be the year this moves from something some are doing to something most are doing.”

Omni-channel marketing

Omnichannel marketing is essential if you want to survive and thrive in this cut throat competitive market. According to Aspect Software, eCommerce businesses that implemented omnichannel marketing strategy achieved over 90% customer retention rate compared to those who overlooked it.

The demand for omnichannel marketing has increased. It can have a dramatic impact on your sales conversion rate. Moreover, customers who use various channels are frequent buyers.

“A recent Fluent survey found that 47 percent of shoppers who engage with retailers across ten or more channels make purchases from their favorite retailer’s website at least once a week, compared to just 21 percent for those who engage across one to four channels.”

Another study showed, those who implemented a strong omnichannel strategy retained 89% of customers. Moreover 90% of customers switch devices throughout the day.

These days if consumers want to purchase a product/service, they simply start their journey by browsing and researching about that particular product/service via mobile phone. Then they switch to social media communities to find out social proofs. 

If they get satisfied with that, they simply switch back to the online store, add items in their shopping cart. Then they might switch to their laptop to complete the checkout.

Customers expect that they can do all of this without starting the whole process again while switching channels or devices. This can be only possible if you have implemented a robust omnichannel strategy. 

To repiculate it, brands who deliver seamless omnichannel experience are more successful than those who don’t. 

Key Takeaways

  • eCommerce sales have massively accelerated during the global pandemic. Since hundreds of thousands of brands have shifted to the digital market, the marketplace has become crowded and highly competitive.
  • Unfortunately, many new brands are not properly equipped to cross swords on customer experience. On the other hand, brands who offer riveting omnichannel experiences have an edge over those who don’t.

We hope this article will help you in understanding how eCommerce sales have fuel the online competition and what necessary actions being an eCommerce marketer you need to take to flourish and stand out.

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A writer by profession, Maria Ilyas is an eCommerce and digital marketing enthusiast and is always digging into the latest marketing trends, best practices, and growth strategies.

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