2021 Digital Marketing and eCommerce Trends

We can all probably agree that 2020 was a year like no other. Most businesses were challenged in a number of ways and had to find new ways to survive and thrive throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

Going into 2021, we face more lockdowns and restrictions, which means businesses are facing new challenges and need to continue adapting in response. But with a constantly changing economic environment and market, how can businesses successfully ride the wave throughout 2021?

We’re here with some 2021 digital marketing and eCommerce trends that we think will help to differentiate businesses and help them to stay relevant and responsive to the continuing changes. Read on for some post-covid marketing trends that may be of interest to your business…

Featured snippets appear at the top of the search results page and answer a search query without the user needing to click onto any websites. Typically showing things like ‘how to’ step-by-step explanations, list breakdowns or snappy definitions, they tend to include:

Marketing trends – Featured snippets

Focusing on answering a question in a simple and step by step process, can improve the chances of your site being used in a featured snippet.

We’ve written before about the importance of on-page seo to improve your site’s SEO ranking. When writing content, focus on the end user and provide a simplified answer. Featured snippets which show your website for a search query will improve your website visibility and authority around the topic discussed. This entices people to find out more about what you have to say, so improves the chances of people clicking through to your website over others in the search results.

With the rise of voice-activated digital assistants in homes, some people have probably spoken more to Alexa, Siri or Google Home in lockdown more than their actual family members…

Gov.uk estimate that 1 in 5 homes within the UK use smart speakers or voice assistants. This rise in voice search at home and on mobile phones has led to a shift in the way we search. Think about it, when typing out a search we shorten the text for quickness. Whereas if we were saying the search out loud, we would ask the full question. 

For example, a person looking for a local eCommerce agency might type ‘eCommerce agency Stafford’ into Google. However, they might verbally ask Siri ‘where is the closest eCommerce agency to me?’

This changes the way keywords are used. Businesses should ensure that the keywords they use are targeting not only on typed searches, but voice searches too.

For a deep-dive into voice search, take a look at our dedicated white paper for more information.

Experiences with Virtual and Augmented Reality

Marketing trends – VR and AR

We all know how effective video content is. With the current economic circumstances and more people staying at home and buying online, virtual reality content is a marketing trend that is likely to grow even more in 2021.

In a time where shoppers are currently unable to physically see products, VR and AR provide a more immersive experience than just looking at a product image online. It allows customers to see what items would look like in their own environment. This can really help in their purchasing decisions.

By offering this type of shopping experience, a brand will build engagement with its target audience. It offers a personalised experience which users are likely to come back for.

Dulux created an interactive visualizer app to help people make the right decision when choosing a wall paint. The augmented reality technology easily allows users to colour pick from anywhere. It then brings the chosen colour to life on the walls of their own living space. Colours can be shared with family and friends really easily, if they’re struggling to make a decision. After receiving suggested colour schemes to complete the look, users can easily purchase the colour or testers straight to their door.

Short form video content

Marketing trends – Short form video content

With the growth of social media and other external factors, the attention span of humans is becoming shorter. In 2020, a study by Wyzowl reported that people share videos at twice the rate than any other form of content. They also found that based on the brand’s video, 84% of people were more convinced to buy a product or service.

Now, we know video content is nothing new. However, with the exceptionally fast rise of TikTok during the first 2020 lockdown, short form video is now getting even shorter. The short video sweet spot now seems to be around 60-second to 2-minute videos.

Tiktok is a relatively new platform, fully launching in 2017. Yet despite only being around for a few years, it is rapidly focusing on ecommerce within its social platform. Targeting a new generation of social media users, who are growing up being completely used to ecommerce and social being combined within one app. We think they’re onto something big, which the more mature social channels are also catching onto aswell…

Think about where your target audience spends time on social media. How can your brand connect with your customers within a few seconds? Within a few seconds you could be educating, showing behind the brand or sharing user generated content to build trust and engage with your audience.

With an engaged audience, your brand is likely to build trust and a loyal customer base.

Employee engagement

Employees within your company who are dedicated, engaged, and excited about their work could be a huge asset to your company’s reputation. Used authentically, employee engagement could be a marketing trend underdog in 2021.

Encourage employees who are enjoying their work to talk about it on their social media. Particularly on LinkedIn, which is a more company-orientated and professional platform.

Online communities on any platform are powerful tools and employee engagement can help to build your community in an organic and natural way. The LinkedIn algorithm values personal connections. It signals to LinkedIn that the people writing these posts are active and engaging with their company, and will therefore share this content out to more connections.

Conversational marketing

Marketing trends – Conversational marketing

Despite an increase in online shopping due to more people staying at home, customers still require personalised and accessible customer service. With the physical presence of staff in stores reduced during lockdowns, conversational marketing and chatbots look to be on the rise again in 2021.

A few years ago, Econsultancy polled over 2,000 marketers across several industries. They said that customer service is their main tool for differentiating their business from the competition.

Your services, products, and offerings undoubtedly play a large role in your success. However, your relationship with your customers may play an even bigger role.

Gorgias, the #1 rated helpdesk for ecommerce merchants

Using the same AI found in voice search and smart assistants, chatbots use instant messaging to engage with customers visiting your website or social channels.

Aswell as providing answers to questions and suggestions, chatbots also collect data about customers to create a unique and tailored experience. This also informs the business of customer needs to further aid them in future communications.

With online shopping constantly increasing, chatbots provide a 24 hour service to help customers shop or search for information. They help businesses provide a better customer service experience, without employing additional staff for outside of normal business hours. 

Shoppable video content

Instagram’s ‘swipe up’ feature set the trend for allowing users to watch a video then head to a product page to purchase the featured product. In 2021, we expect to see shoppable video content become even more popular as shoppers continue shopping online.

We don’t just think this will be an Instagram feature either. Amazon has already trialled shoppable entertainment with a show called ‘Making the Cut’. The fashion show allowed viewers to purchase fashion picks shown on the programme with the click of a button. The show ended up being a failure…but only because the product stock sold out so quickly that most viewers were left disappointed!

Imagine watching a home makeover show and being able to purchase the exact kitchen splashback used whilst watching the show? Or being able to order the ingredients used in the cooking programme as you are watching the recipe being made?

With this said…

…the most important thing is not to jump on the bandwagon and follow the latest 2021 marketing trends. You must keep the foundations of brand building at the forefront of your mind – the consumer.

Your new trendy campaign may look great, but does it convert? Does it captivate your audience? 

If the answer is no, then don’t feel obliged to hop onto the marketing trends of 2021. Instead, go back to understanding your ideal customer, their pain points, how you can serve them better.

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