Top eCommerce Trends to Upgrade your 2021 Strategy

eCommerce trends 2021 Plesk

Digital analysts, marketers and industry experts are shouting it from the rooftops: now is the era of eCommerce.

With increasing digitalization and demand for access to anything and everything online, retailers across the globe have a simple choice: Dedicate time to understanding online commerce, or risk losing out on what is potentially your biggest market.

Without further ado, we’re going to remedy any questions you have about running an eCommerce business in 2021, with this handy list of the biggest trends coming your way (and some tips on how to tackle them):

eCommerce trends Plesk

Quick and easy shopping, for everyone

Shopify estimates that nearly 150 million new online shoppers have become active since the start of the Covid pandemic. This poses an interesting challenge and risk for eCommerce businesses. On the one hand, online sales are at an all-time high. On the other hand, you’ve now got to deal with a less tech-savvy user, with a world of competition at their fingertips. 

Here’s what to look out for:

  • Streamlining your sales funnel: 
    • Simple, fast check-outs encourage that all-important first buy by new customers. One step too many in the process, and you’ve lost them.
  • The omnichannel approach:
    • Creating a uniform buying experience from in-person sales to mobile shopping is vital in 2021.
  • Retail therapy online:
    • Design a shopping experience that delivers the joy of shopping, keeping UX in mind when building your online store.
  • eCommerce management platforms:
    • Just as your customers enjoy simplicity, make your own life simpler too, with eCommerce management software and widgets. You’ll thank yourself later.

End-to-end is king

With some retailers selling online for the first time and marketplaces setting up increasingly efficient supply chains, the race is on to provide the cheapest, fastest, most exciting shopping experience. Online buyers have high expectations for an end-to-end service, and brands are rising to the challenge. From warehousing to branded packaging to returns management, order fulfilment quality can make or break your business.

But we’re not all Amazon, so growing eCommerce enterprises can contract retail support companies that take care of these operations and resource management for online stores.

Of course, an optimized buying process starting from that first click is vital, so many are opting to use eCommerce widgets and plugins too, allowing them to easily streamline the visitor journey from initial entry to online sale.

eCommerce and creative tech

We’ve all seen shoppable ads and smart assistants like Alexa. These new technologies are becoming part and parcel of the eCommerce experience. This trend also shows growth in the use of AI to improve the user experience, and AR to allow customers to ‘try on’ products before buying them. All of this points to a strong, competitive creativity with tech in online shopping this year. 

How will you impress your site visitors enough to buy?

Customer retention challenges

The strength of your brand is going to come into play in 2021. Marketplaces remain popular, where your brand power is diluted, and you have little direct contact with your customer. Plus, the uncertainty of data sharing laws and third party cookies is sure to push up the cost of customer acquisition, and thus escalate competition.

In light of this challenge, a top priority and trend is to prioritize customer retention and loyalty. How?

  • Gather emails:
    • Direct communication with your customer is going to be more and more beneficial, so focus on collecting email leads for more reliable retention.
  • Incentivize:
    • It’s valuable to reward loyalty and offer targeted discounts. Plus, offering packs or subscriptions can help foment long term relationships. (Plesk Partners, take note!)
  • Remember your brand is everything:
    • Customers feel more connected, and therefore more loyal, to brands that they trust to communicate transparently. Community building outside of your site or service can work wonders for effective customer retention.

Go green and sustainable

It’s no longer enough to sell a great product. Consumers now demand that brands commit to processes that are better for the planet and the community. The continued rise of ‘Green consumerism’ will bring some noteworthy trends for eCommerce in 2021. Retail styles like second-hand eCommerce (a.k.a ReCommerce) are reaching new popularity, while existing sellers must strive for sustainable delivery and fair, environmental production of their wares.

It’s an analytics game

Change in the eCommerce market is lightspeed. The needs and wants of your customers will evolve from week to week, so this trend is about knowing your customer inside-out. Invest in hyper-analysing user behaviour, social media and offline tendencies. The objective is then to drive change that predicts the market. Techniques like dynamic pricing (i.e. adapting to the demand in real time) remain popular this year, as brands recognize the power of this trend.

Be sure to power your site with robust monitoring and analytics through your eCommerce management software or other extensions.

Summary

Phew. So we can all agree that the online world (like the offline world) has greatly evolved since 2019, creating new challenges and opportunities. The key ideas to remember are:

  • Customers want a complete service, with a quick and easy user experience from beginning to end of the shopping life cycle.
  • eCommerce is making use of the best new technologies to give brands a competitive edge. Pay attention to AI and AR.
  • Brand loyalty has never been so important, with a clear necessity for retention strategies and truly connecting with your audience.

What else do you see in the future of eCommerce? Cryptocurrency as a payment method? 3D modelling becoming the best way to present your store online? How will the market respond to the disappearance of third-party cookies? Share your ideas and insights in the comments!

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6 Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing an Ideal Server for Big Data Requirements

Big data refers to a massive volume of data sets that can not be processed by typical software or conventional computing techniques. Along with high volume, the term also indicates the diversity in tools, techniques, and frameworks that make it challenging to tackle and process the data. When stored and processed properly, this massive data can offer deep insights to the businesses. There are a number of ways in which big data can help businesses grow at an accelerated rate.

How Can Businesses Benefit From Big Data?

The businesses can store and process high amounts of data from diverse internal and external sources. Like company databases, social networks, and search engines to get excellent business ideas. It can also allow them to forecast the events that can have a direct impact on business operations and performance. On the marketing front, it can help you increase the conversion rate by offering only relevant schemes, launches, and promo offers to the customers based on their buying behavior. The progressive companies are using big data for new product development, understanding the market conditions, and utilizing the present and upcoming trends for direct business benefits.

The Role of Server in Big Data

For enjoying the optimum business benefits out of big data it’s important to choose the ideal hardware that can proactively assist in big data operations without significantly inflating the costs or complications. There are some challenges to address like determining the processing requirements, high volume data storage at superfast speed, and supporting simultaneous computations of massive levels without compromising with the output. An important part of this strategy is to choose the right type of server. 

The standard servers generally lack the resource volume and technical configuration required for various big data operations. So you would need the premium, purpose-built servers that are specially tailored to accommodate the massive data volume. As well as support the computational, analytical, and processing tasks. However, the final decision should be based on your specific requirements as no two customers are the same. You can find additional information on big data hosting in this previous article

In this blog we are going to present some of the ideal factors to keep in mind while deciding on the ideal server for ensuring optimum big data benefits:

1. Choose Servers with High-Capacity

The ideal properties of a big data server are massive storage, ultra-fast recovery, and high-end analytical capability. So, you need the servers that have the right configuration and capacities to meet all these requirements without any compromise.

  • Volume. As the name suggests, the big data feeds on loads of data that can go up to petabytes. For the uninformed, a single Petabyte is equal to 1,000,000 GB. So, make sure that your server can not only handle this massive amount of data but can also continue working consistently while handling it.
  • Real-Time Analysis. The USP of big data is organizing and structuring a huge volume of diverse and unstructured data and seamlessly adding the latter to the available structured data. So, you would need the servers with very high processing capacities to handle this requirement efficiently without fail.
  • Retrieval capabilities. Big data has big objectives too. For instance, real-time stock trading analysis where even a fraction of seconds matters a lot and can introduce multiple changes. For that, your server should fully support multiple users who are concurrently adding multiple inputs every second.

2. Sufficient Memory

RAM is one of the prime requirements for big data analytics tools and applications. Using RAM instead of storage will significantly accelerate the processing speed and help you to gain more output in relatively less time. It translates to better productivity and quicker time-to-market – the two factors that offer you a competitive edge in the industry. Due to varying requirements in terms of volumes and operations, it is not possible to advise on a typical RAM volume. However, to be on the safer side it is good to go with at least 64GB RAM. The readers are advised to discuss their requirements with the providers to know about the ideal memory requirements for their purpose.

3. Better RoI with NoSQL Databases, MPP and MapReduce

You also need to assist your clients in neatly segregating the analytical and operational requirements. It requires wisely optimizing the server hardware to meet the purpose. It is best to go for the NoSQL databases.

Unlike traditional databases, the NoSQL databases are not limited to a single server but can be widely spread across multiple servers. It helps it in dealing with tremendous computations by multiplying its capabilities manifolds and instantly scale up to the changing requirements in a fraction of seconds.

NoSQL databases can be defined as a mechanism that doesn’t use the tabular methodology for saving the data. Its non-relational data storage technology efficiently helps the businesses overcome the limitations and complexity inherent in traditional relational databases. To the end-users, this mechanism offers high speed scaling at relatively very less cost.

To accelerate the analytical big data capabilities you can rely on MPP databases (massively parallel processing) and MapReduce. These databases can significantly outscale the traditional single severs. You may also look for the NoSQL systems with inbuilt MapReduce functionality that allows it to scale to the cloud or a cluster of servers along with NoSQL.

4. Sufficient Network Capacity

You would need to send massive data volumes to the server. Lack of sufficient network capacity can throttle your operations. Be considerate of the fluctuations as well. You wouldn’t regularly be writing huge data volumes, which means that buying high bandwidth plans isn’t a cost-efficient solution for you. So, opt for the bespoke bandwidth solutions that allow you to select the ideal bandwidth to competently fulfill your data transfer requirements.

You can choose different bandwidth packages starting from 20 TB and going up to 1000 TB per month. To make things easier you may like to inform your provider about your expected data transfer requirements and ask them about the ideal bandwidth volume. Reputed providers can also offer you unmetered bandwidth for more demanding enterprise clients. Depending upon the volume and frequency of data 1Gbps is the least amount of bandwidth you require for your server.

5. Purpose-Specific Storage Capabilities

Along with storing permanent data your server also needs to accommodate huge amounts of intermediate data produced during various analytical processes. So, you would need sufficient data storage, Instead of choosing storage based on their capacity, think about their relevance for your purpose. The reputed vendors would always suggest you check your requirements before buying the storage. For instance, investing huge amounts on expensive SSD storage doesn’t make sense if your data storage requirements are modest and the traditional HDD can solve your purpose at much lower prices. 

6. High-End Processing Capacity

The analytics tools related to big data generally divide the processing operations across different threads. These threads are distributed across different cores of the machine and are executed simultaneously. For a modest, to average load, you need 8-16 cores but may require more than that depending on the load. The rule of thumb is to prefer a higher number of cores rather than a smaller volume of highly powerful cores if you are looking for more competent performance. 

Should You Use Software for Server Optimization to Meet Big Data Requirements?

The big data ecosystem has very specific needs that standard data servers with limited capabilities in terms of multitasking, output, and analytical insights can’t support. It also lacks the ultra-speed needed for real-time analytical data processing. So, you would require bespoke enterprise servers that seamlessly adapt to your particular needs in terms of volume, velocity, and diverse logical operations. For massive big data operations, you may need white box servers.

While technically it’s possible to employ software for optimizing the server environment. It may prove to be an expensive option in the long run by significantly reducing the RoI.

It also exposes your system to various security risks while at the same time increasing the management hassles like license acquisition/maintenance, etc. Moreover, you would have limited opportunities to fully utilize the available resources and infrastructure. 

On the other hand, using a purpose-specific server for the big data requirements offers multiple benefits like:

  • More operations per I/O that translate to better computational power 
  • Higher capabilities for parallel processing 
  • Improved virtualization power
  • Better scalability
  • Modular design benefits
  • Higher memory
  • Better utilization of the processor

Additionally, specially tailored servers can smartly work in collaboration. To assure the best possible utilization, virtualization, and parallel processing requirements. Due to their specific architecture, it’s easier to scale and manage them.

Conclusion

Big data can help your business grow at a very high rate. However, in order to get the best benefits out of your big data strategy, you need to build a purpose-specific ecosystem that also includes ideal hardware.

So, we mentioned some major factors to keep in mind while choosing the ideal server for your big data requirements. And now it’s time for you to let us know in the comments section below how do you think you can benefit from it. We want to hear from you!

How to Market in Times of COVID-19?

The coronavirus situation has been a difficult experience for businesses of all sizes. However, the most vulnerable are small and medium-sized businesses from different industries. In particular, the ones facing interaction with customers in this challenging social distancing and self-isolation. 

While many cities are still in lockdown and people keep avoiding public places, most of the nonessential businesses have been forced to close down. This new reality brings significant changes in the overall shopping behavior of people all around the world. Customers start changing what they buy, where, when, and how.

Fortunately, many business owners and managers realized the new shopping behavior of their customers and the need to adapt and be flexible to meet changing necessities. And the importance of online presence for most online shops. Those businesses will need management software, cyber-security measures, as well as digital marketing tools for advertising.

Marketing Tips to Help Your Business

It doesn’t matter if you’re new to marketing or already have developed a marketing strategy for your business. Marketing during hard times requires sensitivity. And here are some general tips on how to market during COVID-19. Let’s go through them: 

1. Stay Relevant to Your Consumer’s Needs

One of the best ways to stay relevant in these uncertain times is to tell your customers how your company is dealing with the pandemic. Tell relevant, authentic stories – to show your customers that you’re there during these difficult times. And stay hopeful for the future.

2. Be Supportive of Your Customers

Try and show empathy and support in all your communications with your customers. Tell your customers what you’re doing to help the community and try to make their life easier. This will show your customers that they’re in good hands and that they made the right decision for choosing your company.

3. Focus on Your Digital Channels

This is a good time to review and implement new digital strategies for your online business. Here are some key areas to focus on:

  • Reanalyze your overall marketing plan focusing on your story, site, and data.
  • Identify user questions related to your business and address them on your blog.
  • Create your SEO strategy and start optimizing your website. Extensions like SEO Toolkit can help you maximize your search engine traffic.
  • Do some keywords research. 
  • Update your Google My Business listings.

4. Be Present on Social Media

Publish content that’s relevant to the reality of your audience. And tell how your brand can solve their problems. Focus on strengthening your relationship with your customers by answering their questions and sharing their stories. It’s important to encourage your customers to be kind and help each other in your own example. You can take a look at other resources from our blog for tips on how to use social media effectively.

5. Implement Email Marketing to Your Overall Marketing Strategy

It’s no secret that email marketing is one of the cheapest and most profitable marketing activities you can apply in your marketing strategy. Nowadays, it’s a good time to keep your customers updated about your business, products, and novelties. So, don’t forget to send good vibes and remind people of the good in the world.

6. Offer Discounts and Promotions

Offering discounts in days of crisis can help not only attract new customers, but also in gaining loyalty among existing customers, driving traffic to your site, and increasing your sales. You can do charitable sales promotions which can boost conversion as customers may purchase items for themselves by doing good for others.

A Final Word

We know that we’re all somehow being affected by these unprecedented times. And therefore at Plesk, we want to help bring businesses like yours online with our special offers. Take a look at our current plans and find the option that best fits your business. 

Is your business suffering the effects of the pandemic? What changes have you implemented to keep your business afloat? Let us know in the comments below. We’re here to help.