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E-commerce marketing trends for 2021

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 09 Feb, 2021
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We are now in the e-commerce marketing optimization era. To maintain growth, businesses need to innovate their approach to e-commerce marketing. Stay up to date with the latest sector trends

It's not a surprise that this year's trending e-commerce strategies and tactics all center around making online shopping experiences and comms more persuasive. In 2021, e-commerce retailers need the tools and techniques to stay competitive and defend their market share. That's why we've put together our free retail e-commerce marketing 2021 trends guide for e-commerce marketers to optimize their marketing across the customer lifecycle. As always, we've integrated these trends across our popular RACE Framework of Reach, Act, Convert and Engage.

While online sales continue to grow in importance, the days of easy double-digit, year-on-year growth (as online shopping grew in popularity) are ending. In the era of e-commerce marketing optimization, retailers are rapidly scanning the marketplace to outpace their competitors. Our free retail e-commerce marketing 2021 trends guide covers 10 trends in total, integrated across each stage of RACE which you can apply to your e-commerce strategy to accelerate your ROI in a challenging environment.

In the United States, Canada, Australia, and the European countries with a high-level of e-commerce marketing maturity, the majority of consumers who want to shop online already are. So growth from increased penetration will decrease. With that said, it's clear that 2020 has been a massive year for e-commerce, as this research from eMarketer shows:

E-commerce marketing growth US

As you can see in the RACE Framework model below, businesses must optimize their omnichannel marketing across paid, owned earned media and experience as part of their 'always-on' marketing and campaign activities.

Let's now get into the specific trends that need to be reviewed to inform your strategy. In this blog, we will discuss 4 of the 10 trends covered in full in our free retail e-commerce marketing 2021 trends guide.  These are grouped using our RACE Framework to provide structure and aid implementation.

E-commerce growth customer lifecycle

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REACH: E-commerce marketing for connected commerce

How Internet of Things (IoT) experiences will integrate with M2M interactions

The Internet of Things (IoT), coupled with machine-to-machine (M2M interactions), promises to bring the connectivity of the Internet into every facet of our lives. These systems should make our devices and homes smarter and more efficient. More products will become IoT-enabled. For example, an agreement between IoT provider Evrythng and label provider Avery Dennison will see at least 10 billion apparel and footwear products heading to market over 36 months as web-ready #BornDigital physical products.

Cisco explains the importance of IoT and M2M in e-commerce marketing

"The phenomenal growth in smarter end-user devices and M2M connections is a clear indicator of the growth of IoT, which is bringing together people, processes, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable."

This section focuses on the continued growth of M2M connections and the emerging trend of wearable devices. Cisco forecast that globally, M2M connections will grow 2.4-fold, from 6.1 billion in 2017 to 14.6 billion by 2022.

Machine-to-Machine (M2M connections)

These include home and office security and automation, smart metering and utilities, maintenance, building automation, automotive, healthcare, and consumer electronics. What about the marketing applications of connected products? Evrythng recommends these IoT applications for brands to consider:

1. Product as media: Some connected products which have screens can potentially be used for ads which will be more valuable if they are personalized. Devices don’t necessarily need screens. IoT-enabled tags on product packs can be used to connect to information, entertainment, and offers as shown in the mini case study on Diageo.

In the last two years, luxury brands have also started to employ IoT technology. For these brands, there are additional benefits eg informing users on product supply chains and verifying the authenticity of goods.

E-commerce marketing M2M

LVMH is developing its own digital platform, Aura, to use across brands. Gabriela Hearst and PVH have worked on digital identity projects. Labels from Ralph Lauren to 1017 Alyx 9sm have partnered with Avery Dennison and Evrythng on digital supply chain tracking.

The Denim Reimagined project, created by Hong Kong upcycled apparel company The R Collective and supported by Levi’s, aims to take traceable fashion using tags to a new level going beyond supply chain traceability. Denim Reimagined leverages the Internet of Things (IoT) technology to track the relevant garment information and securely pass it on to consumers.

2. Products-as-a-service: The ‘smart home’ control products are examples of this. These services are often administered via mobile or desktop apps. This gives opportunities to keep audiences engaged through notifications when they are timely rather than the previous system of monthly bills.

3. Products as a connected ecosystem: Within the home context, there are a growing number of popular smart home IoT clouds in the market, such as Homekit, Nest, SmartThings, and Wink. New products for the home will have to support interoperation with these and other products that are integrated with them.

Connected commerce and voice search

Connected commerce is all about connecting the home, the store and the person through 'intelligent personal assistants'. Smart speakers such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple HomePod are perfect examples of Connected Commerce. Echo is the device and Alexa is the voice recognition. Alexa allows connections with other devices so you can play music on command, or set reminders, add something to your Amazon basket and so on. Whilst Amazon isn’t a physical store, it’s certainly making efforts to connect physically with consumers.

Connected commerec and voice search

You'll likely have noticed the hype around e-commerce marketing and connected devices, starting with Amazon and causing Google, Apple and Microsoft to play catch-up. We won’t look at this trend in-depth since it’s not something that other retailers can emulate by creating their own devices.

Now, we are moving beyond the hype, which estimated that 50% of searches will be voice-based by 2020. Today, we are starting to see an impact on retail, with the latest eMarketer data showing that double-digit percentages are browsing, re-ordering and asking for recommendations from their smart speakers. Actual purchases are in single digits.

Smart speakers digital experience


The hype around voice search has been long-lasting and optimistic but, even now that over 100 million devices have been sold - and that's just the figure for Amazon's Alexa - it's clear that we're still a long way from naturalizing the purchase process.

Depending on your company's internal capacity, it's likely you'll need to work with a third-party agency to develop an offering like this but, as the technology has been in development for a few years now, prices are stabilizing.

Find out more about connected commerce and other aspects of optimizing your e-commerce businesses reach, for growth, by downloading our free retail e-commerce marketing 2021 trends guide. This brand-new guide covers 10 retail and e-commerce marketing trends, plus your next steps to grow your business. Download the guide and get started today.

Retail e-commerce marketing trends 2021

Accelerate your growth in 2021 with trends, examples, and practical strategy integrated with our RACE Framework

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Voice search and connected commerce are slowly supplementing the established browser-based digital experience. Whilst it might not seem immediately applicable to your current business focus, there are many other ways of improving the effectiveness of your company's website and your customer's digital experience.

To begin your journey to improving your company's website and its contribution to the business, take a look at our Digital Experience Learning Path. It's packed with concepts, examples and opportunities to test your understanding and ultimately apply a data-driven approach to improving how users interact with your site.

ACT: E-commerce marketing for innovations in mobile platforms

Mobile devices have already made a tremendous impact on the e-commerce industry in the previous years, but they will play an even bigger role in the future. Estimates say that 82% of people consult their phone regarding a purchase they’re about to make in a store. Going forward, mobile shopping will continue to add to e-commerce revenues as shopping on the go will become more and more common.

It comes as no shock that mobile e-commerce or m-commerce is growing at a rapid pace. People are spending more time on their smartphones, browsing through retail outlets, discount deals, etc., using them for more types of activities than ever before.

As shown in the graphic below, whilst mobile traffic across the web has slowed down in the last few years, it still represents a significant proportion of web traffic. Given the global pandemic's impact on consumer habits, we expect so see an even bigger rise in next year's reports.

Global mobile phone web traffic marketing stats

Despite mobile overtaking desktop traffic, it still lags behind the humble PC when it comes to conversions. According to a report from BroadbrandSearch, US e-commerce conversion rates were at just over 4% for desktop, with mobile at just 1.5%.

The growth in m-commerce has been actively supported by the increase in mobile-friendly features that have been developed in the past years. This includes single-page checkout, responsive website themes and easier integration with mobile wallets such as Amazon Pay, PayPal One Touch, Apple Pay etc.

Mobile platform options

E-commerce businesses are using a variety of approaches to deliver mobile experiences in terms of the technology platforms used. Some are mobile first, some are mobile responsive, while others are mobile adaptive. Coupled to this there are technologies like Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), which are increasing in importance and popularity - and may well be on your roadmap.

What’s the difference and why does it matter?

Mobile first design means that sites are designed with the mobile user in mind from the outset. This is different to responsive design, which adapts a core design to mobile devices. These tend to have large design elements and buttons which may work well for mobile pages but may well not on desktops. Mobile first is also a “content first” strategy. The content dictates the site's design as opposed to the site being designed and then having content slotted in after. Adaptive designs are becoming more popular since they may use different design layouts, content and calls-to-action for smartphone vs desktop.

Which should we use?

Companies are often choosing mobile first if their analytics and conversion data suggest they receive more visitors/more orders from smartphones or tablets. If your site is not mobile first, it should at least be responsive. Otherwise, it could have serious consequences for your Google search position. You really do have to opt for one or the other.

Accelerated Mobile Pages

You can see the importance that Google gives to AMP since David Besbris, VP of Google Search, is also the AMP Project Lead. He explains their growth:

“In two years, we’ve seen the project grow from a few launch partners to over 25 million website domains that have published more than 4 billion AMP pages. And not only has the number of pages built with AMP grown, but their speed has too. The median time it takes an AMP page to load from Google search is less than half a second”.

He contrasts the half a second figure with a benchmark statistic that 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than three seconds to load. Although, site abandons are natural regardless of load time.

AMP is increasingly being used by retailers to deliver pages more quickly to users. AMP has traditionally been most important for news and blog pages, yet these are relevant for most sites. So why do ‘just’ 25 million sites feature AMP and why aren’t they used on more project pages? Besbris quotes research showing that AMP leads to a 10% increase in website traffic with a 2x increase in time spent on-page. For e-commerce websites using AMP, the study also found a 20% increase in sales conversions compared to non-AMP pages.

Progressive Web Apps

Google has increased its ‘push’ for PWAs. Google explains the benefits of PWAs and contrasts them to mobile apps like this:

“It’s not hard to see why leading brands would embrace PWAs. They realize the need to provide the best mobile experience for users―regardless of platform.

PWAs eliminate friction by using the web to deliver app-level experiences. There’s no need for consumers to find apps in the app store and install them—they can just navigate to the site on any browser, including Chrome and Safari. PWA techniques focus on reliably loading faster (even working offline) and using less data”.

Adopters of PWAs include media companies like Forbes, Washington Post and e-commerce sites like Alibaba (China), Myntra (India) and Lancôme. In markets where 2G rather than 3G or 4G dominates, PWAs are particularly important.

Benefits of PWAs include:

  • Rapid install and download compared to traditional apps in native app stores, which leads to better engagement and use
  • Less data transfer and can potentially work offline
  • Potentially single code base, rather than separate Web vs iOS/Android native apps
  • Magento2 support available

The disadvantages are that they rely on techniques like ‘Web App Manifest’ and ‘Service Workers’, which Apple doesn’t support yet in Webkit/iOS/Safari, although this is expected to change. There are also other standards like React Native used by Facebook and AirBnB.

It’s worth considering the potential linkage between PWAs and AMP. AMP Pages can use many PWA features on their own, as long as they’re served from your site’s domain, as opposed to an AMP cache. This means that PWA features won’t kick in when consuming an AMP Page within a platform like Google or Bing, but they will on the onward journey, or if users navigate to your AMP pages directly. This developer article explores the options for these to work together.


We've already mentioned the increasing importance of focusing on mobile before desktop. PWAs are fantastic, but also a big investment and still largely reserved for huge retailers and news outlets.

Serving an AMP version of your site, however, is achievable by nearly anyone. If your site is built on a CMS like WordPress, implementing AMP is as simple as adding and configuring a plugin. Once you've done this, it is with physically reviewing how your site looks and performs as if you were a user, as sometimes styling can go awry and need a little tweaking.

Many retailers' sites will not be new, and their architecture will have been built upon and adapted over time and, historically, with desktop largely in mind. This does make mobile-first design hard to implement as it often involves a full teardown of the site which can be costly and time-consuming.

There are tweaks you can make, however, that can have a big impact on usability for mobile users (and also positively benefit your desktop traffic). Making the clickable areas of buttons, or the buttons themselves, larger can help mobile users accurately click. Equally, can spacing buttons more efficiently greatly improves usability. Another tip is to make sure images are appropriately optimized for the web. Image optimization can save you precious milliseconds of load time. Better yet, serving device-specific versions of imagery can ensure each type of user sees the most appropriate - and efficient- imagery on your site.

As a slight caveat and, as with many things in digital marketing, you still have to trust your analytics, too. If you're simply not seeing as many mobile visitors as desktop, you can be forgiven for placing mobile optimization further down the queue if your Dev resources are low.

Find out more about innovations in mobile platforms and other aspects of increasing customer interaction and growth for your e-commerce business, by downloading our free retail e-commerce marketing 2021 trends guide. This brand-new guide covers 10 retail and e-commerce marketing trends, plus your next steps to grow your business. Download the guide and get started today.

Retail e-commerce marketing trends 2021

Accelerate your growth in 2021 with trends, examples, and practical strategy integrated with our RACE Framework

Get Started Today
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Our Learning Path Module on mobile and multiscreen usability is a good place to start when it comes to improving your site's usability on mobile devices. Our modules on reviewing and improving mobile rankings and implementing AMP will help you keep your site visible and quick to load for mobile users.

CONVERT: E-commerce marketing for 'on-demand' E-commerce fulfillment

Up until recently, customers often had to accept slow deliveries or simply go to a shop if they wanted something quickly. However, e-commerce has done a great deal to catch up with the demand for fast delivery. Today and in the future, getting items at speed, in real-time, will be more practical.

What is on-demand commerce?

On-demand commerce refers to placing orders and receiving goods, services or content at a time determined by the buyer. This trend has also been described as the ‘On-demand’ or ‘access’ economy.

How on-demand commerce has evolved

A few years ago, the likes of JustEat made it possible to avoid phoning a takeaway to place an order. They also made card payments possible for takeaway food shops. Local takeaways have battled it out to get the best reviews, by cooking great food and delivering it as fast as possible. Now, there is a whole new level of demand. Described as the latest and biggest investment trend, on-demand is all about giving customers what they want, when they want it. Food, consumer goods, and online content such as TV programs
and films, are all taking advantage of the desire to have something on our own schedule and, often, in an instant.

Amazon has made their mark in this area with Amazon Go, Prime and Prime Now.

It’s not just Amazon that is driving on-demand commerce – Uber allows anyone to locate the nearest Uber taxi to come and pick them up. Netflix continues to disrupt the traditional pay-TV market (competing with Sky and Virgin Media, as well as with its similar competitor Amazon Prime Video). They allow anyone to stream programs
on-demand on their mobile or computer. Then there's the rise of ‘on-demand’ TV channel services, such as All4, Discovery+ and BBC iPlayer.

Multichannel retailer Argos has shared insight on the shift in consumer fulfillment preferences in the Annual report of their parent company, Sainsbury. This shows that fast-track, their term for same-day delivery or collection, is now more popular than traditional ‘internet home delivery’ taking more than one-day. This data also shows a sizeable shift in a mature e-commerce market from 54% to 59% digital orders.

What is click and collect?

Customers can collect items from various locations or lockers instead of receiving them from a postman at their home or office address. They can collect in their own time. According to Retail Gazette click and collect is expected to reach £10 billion by 2023, growing 45% over 5 years.

The rise of click and collect

Click and collect certainly seems to be what customers want. ASDA, Tesco, eBay, and Argos have all built click and collect strategies, with Sainsbury’s teaming up with Argos to open 200 click and collect points. ASDA has one of the most advanced click and collect offerings, as their grocery click and collect service is available from many of their petrol stations, as well as stores.

Waitrose has also rolled out click and collect points for John Lewis orders. Whilst customers may appreciate the convenience of click and collect, it’s a quick and easy way to pick up groceries on the way home from work. It’s also usually free, so customers save on delivery fees, too. Doddle is a fairly new player in the market that provides post box services for a number of online and High Street retailers, which can be used to post and collect parcels.

Whilst some experts think that click and collect has had its day, Sainsbury’s has launched a same-day delivery service and Holland and Barrett have launched click and collect in all of their stores. Amazon lockers in key locations allow recipients to collect items in their own time, rather than to have to wait at home or work for deliveries – similar postal collection services are popping up regularly across various store estates and shopping centers.


Offering the ability to use a collection service like Collect+ or a locker delivery service can make life easier for the customer - ultimately leading to increased conversions and possibly higher net promoter scores.

Find out more about on-demand e-commerce fulfillment and other aspects of increasing your e-commerce business' conversion rate and ROI by downloading our free retail e-commerce marketing 2021 trends guide. This brand-new guide covers 10 retail and e-commerce marketing trends, plus your next steps to grow your business. Download the guide and get started today.

Retail e-commerce marketing trends 2021

Accelerate your growth in 2021 with trends, examples, and practical strategy integrated with our RACE Framework

Get Started Today
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Other fulfillment options

As online sales competition continues to grow, brands that provide more efficient fulfillment options will perform better. The infographic overleaf shows modern consumer behavior and highlights the importance of fulfillment options in a buyer’s journey. More and more online retailers are starting to offer speedy shipping and delivery services, with enhanced and accurate tracking options.

According to Deloitte, over 70% of consumers cite convenience and free shipping as their top reasons to shop online. PWC found that 41% of consumers were even willing to pay extra for same-day delivery. Whilst these figures are both from 2018, it is indicative of the desire for speedy, convenient delivery despite associated cost - and may even be good for brand-building. For example, Amazon delivers goods over $37 on the day of order for Prime members.

Similarly, Walmart allows customers to pick up their orders, reducing the time taken through delivery services.

Customers naturally expect fast delivery and more delivery options, which can be important within the purchase decision as this research from Metapack shows:

  • 83% of consumers want to see delivery options displayed on the product page
  • 66%have bought goods from one retailer over another because it provided more delivery choices
  • 49% have paid more for better or more convenient delivery options

Online and in store retail customer journey

As you can see in the graphic above, gone are the days of having to shop online from the confines of a desktop device. Diverse shopping habits mean your one platform must be flexible and accessible. Ultimately, you have to ensure you'll always be able to serve the customer in whatever situation they find themselves in.


Cross-device functionality is the key to getting this right, and we cover this in depth in our advanced Learning Path module on mobile and multiscreen usability. You'll discover how to create an effective digital experience acrosss multiple screens and devices with a focus on increasing usability and, in turn, conversions.

A great companion to the above is our module on breaking down visits from mobile and desktop devices - which allows you to analyse the flow and experience of users as they interact with your web presence.

ENGAGE: E-commerce marketing for customer loyalty and retention

Customer engagement through email is often an area where online retailers don’t utilize their full potential. The key factors of supply chain management can efficiently be tackled through email engagement. The factors are:

Data sharing:

Key data, such as availability of stock, customer data, delivery information, or even dynamic product information can be made available to customers through effective email engagement. For instance, stock level data can be imperative to drive sales for your
business. An article on Amazon’s use of psychology shows how stock level data introduces an element of scarcity. The lack of availability of a product can drive consumers to make purchases more quickly, to avoid missing out.

Etsy is another example of using stock level data, as an overlay, on its product pages and driving sales through scarcity.

Etsy e-commerce marketing online store

Interestingly, this stock level data can now be conveyed through live emails, displaying dynamic stock level data, in real-time.

Showcasing weather conditions for the user’s location and advertised destination Virgin Holidays promoted its Holidays Sale by creatively showcasing live weather conditions for the user’s location and advertised destinations using animated gifs. In the live email, the raindrops run down the screen and the pool shimmered.

E-commerce marketing travel


Email engagement through marketing automation can help solidify your email marketing strategy and gain measurable outputs by building customer loyalty and spread clear information to your target audience.

Remarketing and email prompts (such as abandoned cart prompts) can help to increase revenues by bringing back abandoned customers. Email personalization is taking this to a whole new level. In a recent report by Smart Insights in partnership with Movable Ink, we found that promotional emails, welcome emails, and newsletters dominate lifecycle email campaign strategies. However, many EMEA marketers are failing to exploit the full range of email targeting options to personalize their emails. It’s the same story with dynamic content too. Most marketers are also using fairly basic metrics and lack of strategy is the biggest barrier to contextual personalization.

Email automation data

We found that time of email open, location, device type and transactional information are the data types most used to personalize emails for e-commerce marketing.

It goes without saying that your customers’ aims, preferences, tendencies and online behavior should be at the heart of your online retail strategy. Building preference centers using your marketing automation system is a key example of efficient supply chain management.

This example from beauty subscription box service Birchbox shows how welcome email sequences are often more effective than a single welcome email.

Retail customer centric email

What is customer identity and access management?

A category of application for managing user access and consent to online information and services typically social login.

Customer identity and access management (CIAM)

Forrester explains the benefits of customer identity and access management (CIAM). Notable CRMindependent providers include Janrain, Gigya, LoginRadius, Auth0, and CRM providers like Salesforce and Microsoft.

  • Streamline new customer acquisition and registration processes through social login. Allowing customers to use bring-your-own-identity (BYOI) from a recognized social identity provider. Many CIAM implementations include Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, or PayPal.
  • Manage user consent to meet compliance with global privacy requirements. Multinational brands with millions of customers must address demands globally where different regions and countries have different privacy requirements.
  • Provide user-centric capabilities for preference management. Updating communications preferences or opting out in a preference center.
  • Integrate with other systems and report on performance. CIAMs can integrate with CRM systems, but do not replace their messaging functionality.

Note that the deep integration between social networks and CRM systems promised by Social CRM have not been delivered in practice. This is due to a combination of privacy concerns, and social networks wanting to retain control, requiring advertising expenditure for marketers to be able to communicate to their subscribers.

As Inside CRM explain: ‘Dominant social platforms largely boxed out social CRM by changing APIs and limiting access. Facebook shut its door and broke many CRM integrations, and LinkedIn got choosy. The promise of social CRM as a way to automatically collect contact data and communicate on social platforms from within the CRM died a quick death.'

Testing and experiments

Marketers today have access to numerous A/B and multivariate testing using tools like Google Optimize and UnBounce. There are also site recordings from services like Hotjar. All these tools can help you to design high converting landing pages, as well as understand customer journeys through the site. Remote user testing platforms like WhatUsersDo and UserTesting can show you how users use your site. Testing helps you discover what users expect from your homepage and product pages, test and improve your forms, and much more.

Ad retargeting and Lookalike audiences

Retargeting has been popular for a while, however recently there have been a few innovations, such as 'CRM retargeting' and 'Lookalike audiences'. “Lookalike targeting” (Google Customer Match plus Facebook/Instagram Custom and Lookalike Audiences).

Take a look at our digital media options cheatsheet where we list the latest innovations, many of which are relevant for retailers. With our digital media cheatsheet, which is in a Google Sheet, you can see the latest and most up to date promotional techniques across digital media, such as social media platforms and Google Ads.

CRM retargeting helps to build online audiences with only an email address or postal address and it works in partnership with publisher networks who securely match anonymous email- or mailing addresses. It allows marketers to retarget with minimal information, and find potential customers within large publisher networks. It helps bring offline data online, allowing potential customers to be retargeted via online ads.


Ad retargeting and lookalike audiences are surely some of the quickest and cheapest ways of introducing automation to your workflow, and their impact can be significant. As we've mentioned previously about personalization, any efforts to make your communications more relevant will also make them more effective. And, as we've also mentioned, many companies that offer such options will be investing heavily in making them actually work - it is in both your and their benefit to do so! This means they're usually simple to use, as all the heavy lifting is done by the provider.

Depending on how your systems operate, this may not be the easiest feature to implement. However, adding scarcity factors such as stock levels to your product pages can increase sales. Not only that, but this notion of scarcity can provide great fodder for emails - whether in the subject line or body copy.

Find out more about customer loyalty and retention and other aspects of engaging and retaining your e-commerce customers by downloading our free retail e-commerce marketing 2021 trends guide. This brand-new guide covers 10 retail and e-commerce marketing trends, plus your next steps to grow your business. Download the guide and get started today.

Retail e-commerce marketing trends 2021

Accelerate your growth in 2021 with trends, examples, and practical strategy integrated with our RACE Framework

Get Started Today
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We offer a huge amount of expert advice through our Email Marketing and Automation Learning Path that can help you improve your existing email marketing efforts and stay ahead of the curve as the industry matures.

In light of the trend above, a good place to start would be our module on understanding marketing automation opportunities.

E-commerce marketing in 2021

From startups to small businesses and global corporations, e-commerce has proven to be a key source of revenue.

With the global pandemic having changed the face of retail commerce and lifestyles in general, e-commerce clearly has had its chance to shine or as is the case with some retailers, to fail miserably under the strain of such a unique situation.

IBM's US Retail Index report found that the pandemic has accelerated the shift away from physical stores to e-commerce by about five years. As a result, it is perhaps no surprise that department store giants such as the now collapsed UK-based Debenhams have struggled and failed to match pre-pandemic sales figures.

We have already seen a decline in today's high street. In today’s fast-paced, competitive and convenience-driven world, consumers no longer want to take a stroll along the high street and physically go into a store to shop. Add in a global pandemic and you can see how e-commerce is projected to have topped $3.9 trillion at the end of 2020. This same forecast predicts a 79% increase in this figure in 2024. Retail-focused e-commerce amounts to a predicted $7 trillion in annual sales activity.

What remains to be seen is if these behaviors remain as and when things return to 'normal'. Cultural shifts often come - and stay - due to huge global events and the already clear predilection for shopping on the go, from the comfort of home, during a commute or literally anywhere, may well be one of these shifts.

Retailers that have historically had low interest in moving online or investing further in their offering will have seen and felt the impetus to do so. Many of the takeaways in this report will be achievable by any company and with a minimal budget. By implementing trends, you can bring a real impact to how you perform as an online retailer and how you define your strategy for the future.

Notable additional trends include Artificial Intelligence, innovative marketing technology, personalization and experience optimization, relevant targeting, adoption of good user experience. These trends will help you reach a larger audience generate new revenues, leads, and conversions in the coming year.

If there ever was a time to get e-commerce marketing right, it surely is now

If you have found the above 4 trends useful, download our free retail e-commerce marketing 2021 trends guide to catch up on the remaining 6 trends for 2021. Plus, our trends guide is packed with recommended resources and next steps so you can start optimizing your marketing and driving results for your e-commerce business now.

Retail e-commerce marketing trends 2021

Accelerate your growth in 2021 with trends, examples, and practical strategy integrated with our RACE Framework

Get Started Today
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Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. Dave is editor of the 100+ templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ digital marketing experts. Our resources are used by our Premium members in more than 100 countries to Plan, Manage and Optimize their digital marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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