There’s no denying that 2020 was a very challenging year for ecommerce businesses, and the retail sector as a whole. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, business owners and marketers were constantly adapting the ways in which they were working to continue making sales and survive. The ecommerce digital marketing landscape completely changed as a result, with new techniques and tools frequently being introduced and tested.
We’re not out of the woods yet, either, so it’s probably safe to assume that the digital marketing space will look very different in a year’s time, too. Here, we’re going to look at just a few of the main shifts we’re expecting to see in 2021, so you can ensure you’re prepared to weather what could well be another rocky year.
We’ll see a rise in selling through social media
These days, most businesses have numerous social media accounts. And it’s little wonder why — the likes of Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook allow companies to connect with their customers, receive feedback, and keep their audiences updated on what’s happening behind the scenes. Social media is also a great tool for promoting events, services, or products.
Over the last couple of years, certain social media platforms have even introduced the option for businesses to sell their wares through their apps or websites. This makes it much easier for customers to make a purchase because, instead of having to click on a link and then navigate to the product they might have seen in a photo or video, they can buy it there and then. Instagram, for example, allows retailers to add shop stickers to the images they post. So, if a potential customer sees an item they’re interested in buying, they can click straight through and checkout with no fuss.
This is great for both the consumer and the retailer. It gives online stores the chance to reach more people and make extra sales, while streamlining the buying process for internet users. It’s very likely more businesses will start to take advantage of social selling features over the next year, as we all continue to spend lots of time scrolling through our feeds for inspiration.
Building customer loyalty will become even more of a priority
At the beginning of the pandemic, a lot of businesses learned what it’s like to lose all of their customers overnight, and it was a very stressful time for everyone. So, to continue making sales, regardless of what life throws at them, a lot of companies will now be looking for new ways they can build customer loyalty. This way, they’ll be able to grow a strong base of customers that are happy to support them, come rain or shine.
There are a lot of elements to successfully earning a customer’s loyalty. Of course, at the core, businesses need to provide their customers with top-quality products and customer service. But earning someone’s loyalty also involves giving them valuable content, encouraging people to leave reviews, engaging with customers through social media, and possibly even creating a loyalty scheme that allows people to earn rewards.
Building customer loyalty needs to be at the forefront of every business’s digital marketing plans for 2021, and it’s likely we’ll see this reflected in retailers’ social media feeds, newsletters, and how they engage with their customers. If you would like to learn more about the techniques you can use, Glass Digital has an in-depth guide to building customer loyalty online here, which outlines all of the main steps you need to take.
Brands will create more meaningful content
In 2021, it’s likely we’ll see a shift towards brands making more meaningful content for their online platforms, too. We’re all living through a couple of very tough years at the moment, so it makes sense that people have started to look for ways to spread hope within their circles. As a result, you might have noticed more of your social media friends sharing meaningful content over the last few months. Any companies that are able to use this to their advantage could reach much wider audiences that might be interested in their products or services.
Companies need to make sure any content they create is still authentic to them, though, as it’s vital that they don’t look like they’re just jumping on the bandwagon to get more eyes on their brand (even if that is the case). So, they need to think about what kinds of meaningful content will make the most sense on their platforms. For example, sustainable fashion brands could support environmental initiatives, and share how they’re helping in the fight against fast fashion.
If businesses are doing good, it’s incredibly important that they shout about it, as it can influence people’s buying decisions. For example, a recent survey conducted by DS Smith found that consumers are increasingly interested in buying products with minimal or sustainable packaging. So, if this is something a company offers, it’s well worth creating some content around it to show that they align with these values.
Local SEO will continue to be more important than ever
It’s very likely we’ll see a shift towards prioritising local SEO even more in 2021. Once of the biggest ways in which the coronavirus crisis affected everyone’s shopping habits is that more people started to buy their essentials from smaller and more local stores. This is supported by data given to This is Money by Revolut and Starling.
There’s a number of reasons for this: firstly, some shoppers were worried about visiting larger and potentially more crowded supermarkets, and other will have recognised that smaller companies would require more support to make it through the crisis. As a result, a lot of people who had previously only shopped at big-name stores discovered the joy of shopping local. And, now that they’re used to shopping closer to home, they’ll be more likely to continue doing so moving forward.
This means local SEO is more important than ever before, and it’s likely to stay that way. In order to compete with nearby businesses, companies should take a number of steps, such as optimising their Google My Business listings, creating local content, and building local links. Encouraging customer reviews can also help establishments to grab the attention of local people who may be looking for their products or services.
We saw a lot of shifts in the ecommerce digital marketing space back in 2020, and it’s likely we’ll see some more in 2021 as the world officially settles into a new normal. But, now you know what to expect, you’ll be better prepared to help your company or clients to get the most out of this year.