How e-Commerce Could Change in 2021: Top 7 Expert Predictions

18 February 2021

2021 could be a big year for e-commerce. Why? First, the digital shift has been on course for some time now. For the past decade or so, more consumers have shifted to online shopping (for convenience), and brands/businesses were forced to follow suit.

How e-Commerce Could Change in 2021: Top 7 Expert PredictionsMore importantly, though, the covid-19 accelerated the digital migration. The lockdowns and social distancing regulations saw most consumers order most items online unless it was unavoidable to visit the store in person. This shift forced millions of businesses to invest in e-commerce or go online for the first time.

The growth in e-commerce sales is expected to continue and perhaps even accelerate in 2021. That’s not the only thing that will change on the e-commerce front over the next 12 months. 

Central to e-commerce success in this transformative era is the integration of conversion rate optimisation. This sophisticated strategy, nestled seamlessly within the digital migration narrative, holds the key to unlocking the full potential of online ventures.

As businesses capitalize on the momentum of increased e-commerce sales, the strategic insertion of CRO becomes imperative.

By prioritizing the enhancement of the user experience and streamlining the online purchasing journey, businesses can not only meet the expectations set by the digital shift but also surpass them.

In navigating this rapidly evolving e-commerce landscape, businesses must seek guidance from seasoned experts who understand the nuances of digital commerce. Seeking counsel from a marketing expert by going to Kurt Uhlir emerges as a beacon in this regard, offering invaluable insights and strategies to propel businesses towards success. With a keen eye for consumer behavior and a deep understanding of digital marketing tactics, Uhlir provides actionable advice on integrating conversion rate optimization seamlessly into e-commerce ventures.

The following are seven other trends to keep an eye on.

  • A greater focus on personalization 

Personalization isn’t a new concept in digital commerce. For a while now, marketers have been writing personalized content and curating their marketing ads to target specific market segments. What will change is the degree of effort placed in such activities.

As digital commerce continues to evolve, the importance of personalized communication cannot be overstated, particularly within email marketing strategies. Building and maintaining an effective email list has long been a cornerstone of successful online businesses.

However, what sets apart modern approaches is the heightened emphasis on quality over quantity. With tools like Zerobounce, marketers can now refine their email lists with precision, ensuring that messages reach the right audience at the right time. This level of refinement not only enhances deliverability rates but also fosters stronger connections with recipients, as emails become more relevant and tailored to individual interests and preferences.

According to, 90% of marketers see personalization as the future of marketing. At least 74% of these marketers say that personalization tactics substantially impact their conversion rates.

A few personalization strategies marketers will likely explore in 2021 are cross-channel initiatives and leveraging data to meet customers where they want to shop. About 44% of consumers say they are more likely to be a repeat customer if the seller provides a personalized shopping experience.  

  • Steady growth in mobile commerce 

In the US, mobile commerce accounted for 44.7% of all e-commerce sales in 2019, a 10% increase from the previous year. Experts foresee that figure rising to 54% in 2021.

A similar gain will be witnessed globally, with total mobile sales rising to $3.56 trillion from $2.91 trillion in 2020 and about $2.31 trillion in 2019. The new figure will represent 72.9% of all e-commerce sales, compared to 52.4% in 2016.

Besides the rising sales numbers, mobile also boasts a higher conversion rate. Consumers can view more products in less time and add items to baskets more conveniently. The result is usually a 10% higher conversion rate (54% compared to 44%) in favor of mobile commerce.

  • Increased flexibility in payment options 

Until recently, many online businesses only accepted MasterCard or Visa. The two were viewed as the most reliable payment methods, with existing alternatives not being very trustworthy. In 2018, 62% of all transactions were paid with cards (45% automatically and 17% manually). This, too, is changing.

For one, expect more payment solutions. Already the likes of PayPal, Bolt, Braintree, and Stripe are shaking things up. Brace yourself for many similar FinTech solutions. 

Secondly, traditional in-platform e-payment solutions are likely to die a slow and painful death. These include Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, and Google Play. These solutions will be replaced by e-wallets, loyalty apps, mobile payments, and other innovative payment solutions.

Above all, 2021 is the year we will finally witness streamlined digital payments thanks to the Real-Time Payments initiative championed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

  • An increase in voice search 

Browsing the internet will also change significantly in 2021 as voice search goes mainstream. According to The Verge, approximately 25% of American households own a smart speaker system, with nearly half of these homes owning two or more such speakers. The speakers will change how people shop.

Studies by Google reveal that 62% of people who own a smart speaker have used the device to purchase in the last six months. This trend will likely grow in 2021, given that 55% of teenagers and 41% of adults use voice search daily.

Remember, smart voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are also available on smartphones.

  • The year of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence is finally here, and it could revolutionize the e-commerce sector. Already, AI chatbots are the norm on many e-commerce platforms. Whether you’ve got questions for the seller or want to locate a product in the store, AI bots will get the work done in a flash.

Expect the chatbots to remain and most likely even get smarter. For instance, there’s evidence that future bots may be able to determine your emotional state and respond more compassionately.

But that’s not the end. AI technologies such as Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning (DL), and Natural Language Processing (NLP) are predicted to have a massive impact on digital commerce.

  • Social selling/social shopping trends 

Social media is already one of the biggest selling/shopping platforms worldwide. From Facebook to Instagram and Snapchat, brands rely on these platforms to get their messages out. In China, for instance, 11.6% of all e-commerce retail is driven by social media.

It’s another trend that will continue in 2021. Indeed, some experts believe that the future of e-commerce is social media. We envisage that more brands will join social media, increase influencer campaigns, and bolster traffic.

Particularly, we’re likely to see increased commercialization of social media platforms. Facebook and Instagram already have “shopping” features, and currently, YouTube is developing one. Soon, social media will become a marketplace.

  • Direct to Consumer (D2C) shopping 

Finally, the explosion of Direct to Consumer shopping, better known as D2C, is hard to ignore. A new generation of disruptive brands is shaking up retail by building, marketing, selling, and shipping products directly to the consumer, bypassing the middleman.

This approach is simpler and much more efficient than traditional methods. Businesses eliminate overhead costs and can build trust by offering original products only. Meanwhile, customers benefit from lower prices (without mark-ups) and genuine products.

It’s a trend that’s likely to pick up quickly, primarily driven by digital commerce. The internet makes it easy for D2C companies to market, advertise, and ship products to customers. E-Marketer predicts that the US D2C online market alone will grow to $21.15 billion in 2021 from $6.85 in 2017.

Are You Prepared?

2021 will be a year of evolution. Everything is likely to change, from consumer habits to selling methods and commerce platforms. Contact NIX Solutions today to learn how to prepare for the change.