JANUARY 19, 2021, Tuesday— Steve Tan of the eCommerce Facebook group Elites, which has an impressive following of over 100,000 engaged members within the eCommerce industry, invited Josh, CEO and co-founder of Chronos Agency to a high-value sit down to talk about what’s in store for 2021. Josh highlighted the top 4 eCommerce trends of 2020, giving insight into what eCommerce brands and marketers alike can expect for 2021. This year is set to be the time when brands can rebuild and grow bigger and tougher than ever before.
With solid numbers and data on how the eCommerce industry and consumers reacted to the major changes brought about by the pandemic, the retail path through 2021 already seems a lot clearer and smoother.
Customer-centricity was the Overarching Trend of 2020
When the pandemic hit, the biggest impact it had was on the consumers’ needs. This resulted in a domino effect on the global economy. The need for safety and bare necessities shifted overall product demand. In response to this, eCommerce brands immediately saw the need to center their marketing messaging around their customers’ needs—which was what email marketing was made for.
“Fundamentally, it’s not so much about what has changed, but rather what has become the norm. It’s really about the whole work-from-home shift where email became a huge part of a person’s life now. If your audience is a working adult, they have a job, and a credit card—there’s no doubt email becomes a bigger part of their lives.” —Josh Chin
These projected eCommerce trends for 2021 should give you a better idea of how to approach your marketing strategies this year:
1. The Customers Have More Control Over Your Email Content
Good marketing can sell anything—or so they thought. Turns out, the consumer’s needs overpower all the colorful marketing of any product that doesn’t fall under their “Necessities List.” So if you’re ever in a pinch when it comes to email content, always ask yourself what your target customers need during these times. Klaviyo has come up with a helpful list of how the year of the pandemic shaped a growing category of “new essentials” that details which products are in, and which products are out.
What can your brand offer that can help alleviate the pain points of your customers? It can range from either literal products or a change in messaging and tonality in your email content to be more crisis-sensitive. Show your customers your brand does care about their needs, and the best way to do that is to engage with your customers more in open communication to get a better feel of what type of content your customers prefer.
2. Open Communication with Your Customers Builds Trust and Loyalty
Businesses aren’t immune to crises, so the last thing you should ever do is leave your customers in the dark when issues arise in your company operations. This is especially true when it comes to your customers’ products and their transactions with your brand.
One of the successful strategies we observed when working with our clients last year was exercising transparency in their email messaging. If there are delays to delivery or product availability issues, tell your customers the truth. They’ll appreciate your brand for being honest and transparent, which in turn builds trust and customer loyalty.
This also resulted in reduced complaints and customer-related issues for our clients. This kind of development means a whole lot for their brand image. In the end, it’s how much your customers can trust you during times of strife that sustains a healthy customer base.
3. User-Generated Content is the New Marketing Staple
Your customers trust what other customers like them have to say about your products. Have you been collecting user reviews, feedback, and product review videos? Don’t hesitate to use and reuse them in your marketing materials.
UGC makes for a more efficient email content production process. Don’t have enough time to pump out email content one after the other? Including User-Generated Content (UGC) into your emails can already finish half the work for you.
Using UGC helps you both leave better impressions on your customers and produce the necessary amount of email content you need for your marketing campaigns, especially during sales seasons.
4. A More Realistic Approach to Email Marketing Makes Goals More Attainable
The chaos of 2020 opened the eyes of many eCommerce brands. While being ambitious is great, you can only really reach success if your goals are realistic. This is especially true during happenings that heavily limit a business’ decision making. Striking the balance between profit and sustainability will always be a challenge during times of crisis.
Never be ashamed of admitting your marketing limitations. This is a healthy eCommerce trend to follow through 2021. Ask yourself how much content you have. How much time do you have to pump out the number of emails to make the returns you need to stay afloat and still grow your business. This way, you can have a clearer view of how you can shape your email strategies.
How engaged is your target audience? Your emails can only be as effective as your customers are engaged with your brand. Before pushing for a sale, make sure you understand what your customers need. Remind them what they’re getting in return for buying from you. Don’t just sell products, sell your customers the benefits.
Systematic Email Marketing Creates High-Converting Emails
Are you using email marketing systematically? Another anchor point for your email strategies is your marketing funnel.
If you don’t have the strategy to get your customers through the top of your funnel, then you won’t have a middle or a bottom-of-the-funnel to begin with. Think about customer pain points, desire, and fear when writing up your email content for a more tailored customer experience.
“I want everyone to think about when was the last time you had a good experience or a bad experience buying from an online store. Think of the difference of the two and how much of that makes your impression of the brand. Personally, it’s a huge part of why I would buy from a brand again, versus why I won’t.” —Josh Chin
A consistent eCommerce trend that’s been followed long before 2021 and last year is data-driven decision making. Listen to the data you collect and base your decision making around them. Know which emails performed better than others and why. From there, you can build up your email strategies with segmentation and automation. However, if you feel the need to skip the nitty-gritty of email marketing, our team is here to help. Just fill out our form and schedule a strategy call with our email marketing team.
Or if you aren’t ready for a partnership, then that’s okay. You can check out our whitepaper instead where we compiled the 4 building blocks of a successful email marketing framework.
What we covered here is only a glimpse of what Steve and Josh talked about in the live interview. So be sure to check out more details on the 4 projected eCommerce trends this 2021 by watching the full interview recording over at the eCommerce Elites Facebook group!