Let’s wrap things up by looking ahead.
What can marketers expect in 2021? Here are some of the trends we’re watching:
Evolving search behaviours
More than two-thirds of the world’s internet users already go beyond search engines when they’re researching products and services to buy, but we expect voice search, image search, and social search to play an even more important role over the coming months.
A rebalancing of digital audience demographics
With COVID-19 acting as a catalyst to bring many more older people online, organisations can now use digital to reach a wider variety of audiences than ever before. This represents a clear and immediate opportunity for marketers, especially when it comes to ecommerce. However, this broadening of online audiences may also trigger a new wave of digital innovation, resulting in new platforms, new services, and even new devices.
Increased globalisation in ecommerce
We’ve been tracking ‘the rise of the East’ for some time now, and the latest data suggest that China’s ecommerce giants are gaining ever more popularity amongst international shoppers. What’s more, with affordable cross-border logistics increasingly within reach even for smaller merchants, we can expect to see shoppers looking for deals and unique products wherever the web takes them. Scale will still be an advantage, but unique offerings and differentiated shopping experiences hold the key to enduring success.
Useful augmented reality
AR has been bubbling away in the background for a number of years now, but it still feels like it hasn’t reached its full potential. However, with mainstream brands like Nike, IKEA, and Estée Lauder increasingly harnessing AR functionality – and with Apple actively touting the AR performance of its new iPhone 12 – perhaps 2021 will be the year AR finally comes of age. Marketers need to go beyond novelty though, and use AR to deliver tangible utility and value. Think ‘help’, not ‘hype’.
The next disruptive innovation
It’s been well over a decade since social media and smartphones drove the last wave of large-scale marketing disruption, and it feels like the ‘next big thing’ is long overdue. There are a few interesting contenders, from connected ‘smart’ glasses, to decentralised finance, or perhaps some kind of wearable or smart home device. However, these things have been around in some form for a few years already, and current momentum doesn’t point to any of them breaking through to become globally mainstream in 2021. As a result, it’s more likely that the real disruptor will be something unexpected.
Exporis eCommerce Team