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!

I need a break Elvis Plesky Plesk blog

Podcast | The Importance of Digital Presence with Jens Meggers

Plesk podcast digitalization

Hello Pleskians! This week we’re back and we’re kicking off Season 2 of the Official Plesk Podcast: Next Level Ops. In the episode, we’ve got Jens Meggers setting the stage for the entire season, as we talk about the importance of having a digital presence, and the growth of eCommerce in 2020.

Podcast Jens Meggers Plesk WebPros

In This Episode: You Need a Digital Presence, The Future of eCommerce, and how WebPros can help

COVID-19 and the global pandemic changed how many people are doing business. Anyone who relied on foot traffic and in-person shopping needed to make a serious pivot if they wanted to survive. As a result, eCommerce grew considerably. But as Jens points out, it’s not just a the website that matters:

“It’s all about getting the results fastest with the least amount of effort, because they also don’t necessarily want to hire a whole bunch of people…And it’s also not only just creating, it’s entire workflow. We already know that [a bagel shop] has bagels. But you want to pick your favorite bagel Monday morning 8am, without touching anyone. So the workflow and the automation around that is the most important thing.”

This lead us into the future of eCommerce. Jens believes there’s no going back to the way things were. We’ve shown customers what they can have, and we can’t take it away now. The convenience of ordering online and picking something up is too great. Similarly, lots of people are learning for the first time that they can make good money online. That’s the highest priority now, so we will see more people creating digital presences and better experiences. “As many experiences as possible will move into the virtual world,” says Jens.With that in mind, WebPros is equipped with all of the tools necessary to help all businesses create better digital experiences. cPanel and Plesk, their flagship products, are designed to help you create and manage your website, giving you a huge suite of tools to do so.

WHMCS, the fastest growing product, allows you to automate your hosting business. XOVI helps you see how traffic is being driven to your website. Jens says, “We see this as a responsibility…to help you after [your site launches]. SolusIO and SolusVM are virtual machines done right! They simplify virtual infrastructure management – an important task in an increasingly remote-work centric world.”

Key Takeaways

  • We saw industries digitize over the last 10 years. Video meetings, retail stores, digital price tags, and much more. This got accelerated with pandemic.
  • Customers thought, “Get me to the results faster.” It’s not just website, it’s workflow. And during the pandemic it needed to be good, fast, and cheap.
  • We have set the standard on digitization and business digitization, and it’s here to stay.
  • A lot of people are moving to transact and make money online. It is the highest priority for a lot of people.
  • WebPros supports business owners by supplying the technology that creates digital experiences (not just a shopping cart or web page). Their vision is to create a digital presence for anyone.
  • Soon, anything we can do in the physical world, we’ll be able to do in the virtual world.
  • “It’s always a good time to start a business if you have a good idea.”

The Official Plesk Podcast: Next Level Ops Featuring


Joe Casabona


Joe is a college-accredited course developer and podcast consultant. You can find him at Casabona.org.


Jens Meggers


Jens is the CEO of WebPros
Did you know we’re also on Spotify and Apple Podcasts? In fact, you can find us pretty much anywhere you get your daily dose of podcasts. As always, remember to update your daily podcast playlist with Next Level Ops. And stay on the lookout for our next episode!

Business in 2021 – Tips for Organizing Online Events

Covid-19 has changed what “normal” looks like for us all, and the events industry is no exception. Today, virtual events, also known as online events, have grown in popularity around the world and have become a part of our lives and our businesses. 

A virtual event is very similar to an in-person one, but with some outstanding benefits. Virtual events could be online conferences and webinars, interviews and performances, training and courses, tutorials, classes, and more. 

One of the biggest benefits of virtual events is not being restricted to a single place or location. This means that anyone from anywhere in the world with an internet connection and a device can join the event. Secondly, online events are cost-effective as they avoid booking venues, staff, producing merchandise, hiring or buying equipment and other staff you need for off-line events. 

Last but not least, you may already know how important it is to measure any digital activity you perform. Thus, being easy to measure, online events give you the opportunity to measure your success, get data on overall engagement and number of attendees, and gauge the most popular speeches and downloaded materials. All these insights can help you to better plan for your next events. 

However, even though there are benefits and tools to help you create an online event,  organizing a successful online event may require time, effort and consideration.

Here are some top tips to help you host a successful online event:

1. Create a strategy 

 

Before you start, think about why you’re planning the event. You can start by defining whether you’re targeting your current customers as part of an engagement strategy, or whether this is a lead generation activity to pick up new customers, or both. What kind of experience do you want to deliver? What outcomes are you looking for? 

2. Find the right platform

 

Choosing the right platform mainly depends on your goals and the type of events you plan to organize.  However, there are some important features every platform should include; chat, Q&A, live polls, the ability to upload slides or additional content. Also, consider which ones provide an option to run both live and on-demand events, and with access to the events from mobile devices. 

Even if you find the perfect platform, don’t forget to anticipate any tech issues that your attendees may face while using the platform. On the day of the event, a couple of hours before, send out a notification email to your attendees. Make sure to log in to the platform 15-20 minutes earlier to give your speakers the administrative permissions, and during the event, make sure to mute all attendees.

3. Pick the right time

 

Choosing the right time for your online event is very important. Before reserving

the time for your event, consider the profile and the location of your audience.  If you plan to go global and your targeted audience is based in different time zones, do your best to pick a time that works for as many of your customers and followers as possible. If you can’t find a suitable time for everyone, create accessible content and record live presentations for those who couldn’t attend. 

Make sure not to plan your online event during public holidays or other similar events which could coincide with the date of your event. 

4. Promote the event

 

It’s time to promote your online event. It is important to understand your audience and choose the right channels to promote your event. Depending on where your audience spends more time online, you can manage sign-ups: through the event platform directly, on a dedicated landing page on your website, via social media event pages like Facebook or LinkedIn, over email marketing, or all of the above. You may also consider running paid ad campaigns. The best time to start the promotion is two-three weeks before the event, depending on its size and scope.

5. Keep attendees engaged

 

Make your audience feel connected, involving them into the process so they stay longer and participate more. Here are some ideas: 

  • Ask your audience questions during the event
  • Encourage debate
  • Use live content for presentation
  • Use the webcam all the time and encourage the audience to do the same
  • Leave time for Q&A sessions 

After the event

No matter whether the event you are running is online or offline: it is always important to follow up with attendees. Sending a post-event survey to understand participants’ experience will show that you care and will help you to understand the outcome of the event. Also, include a sign-off thanking everyone, both participants and speakers. Share the meeting recording with those who missed it. 

The new normal has boosted the world of online events. Many of you have moved your events online, and we hope this article helps you make them a success! 

Need more answers on this topic? Let us know in the comments below, or if you are a Plesk Partner, get in touch with your Account Manager and they will be happy to provide whatever guidance they can.