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Change is, and always will be, a key element to the fashion industry’s identity. Year by year, season by season, fashion never stays still, therefore neither should your retail brand as the importance of understanding future retail website trends cannot be overstated. Consumer behaviour post-pandemic and the likely eCommerce trends 2021 will throw up are directly linked to the success of your retail brand. This is particularly important for fashion eCommerce as the current trends drive a thriving $2.5 trillion industry. However, the year ahead may bring about the industry’s most drastic transformation yet making the consumer products trends 2021 will have take on an added significance.

As consumers and fashion retailers alike look to navigate the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, future retail website trends are crucial to success. eCommerce fashion is likely to continue its growth with customers still looking to avoid physical locations while the typical, large scale fashion events are likely to remain absent too. Instead, we’ll see a growing market for seasonless items as consumers look to make the most out of each purchase after being affected by a down financial year for most, while retail websites in 2021 need to make sure they are optimised for business.

2020 has brought about enormous changes to everyone, but in particular to business owners. It has led to a whole host of new consumer behaviours and trends that will continue into 2021 and beyond, which we will discuss and explain in this post.

Changes in Consumer Behaviour Require Website Adaptations

The recent growth of eCommerce as a result of the pandemic has accelerated trends that we were already noticing. This has meant retailers have had to upgrade their online presence, offering online sales channels, omniplatform services and focus on their social media accounts as a form of communication. Brands who are able to offer this, and continue to develop it, will be able to compete throughout 2021, regardless of any new pandemic related issues.

It’s not just eCommerce focused retailers that need to be ready to further adapt. Companies with a physical store should look to create a seamless omnichannel experience too, making sure that all touch points remain on-brand, giving customers an enjoyable shopping experience whether they shop online, instore, or using a combination of the two.

There has never been a more important time to focus on technology and eCommerce to help encourage positive consumer behaviour post-pandemic. It’s worth looking at the technology available that can improve customer experience, streamline operations and enable your business to grow with peak online shopping expected to be 50% higher next year, highlighting the importance of retailers online presence.

With more consumers shopping online than ever before, your website needs to be able to deal with increased demand, as well as providing customers with all of the information that they need to shop seamlessly and successfully while incorporating the likely trends they are looking for in the year ahead.

Changes in Consumer Behaviour Require Website Adaptations

Retail Web Trends For Brands In 2021

Every year both retail and online trends change and evolve. With every change, retailers need to focus on accessibility and identity, engage new audiences with technology and embrace new online trends such as these three key ones for 2021:

Social Commerce: This year’s surge in online shopping will continue into 2021, especially given ongoing problems COVID-19 keeps presenting along with the wide spread closure of brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, 41% of customers stated that they were now shopping online for things they would typically buy in-store. This is where social commerce becomes a factor.

Social commerce is a native shopping experience on a social media platform, offering shoppers a seamless way to shop online, that’s even more direct than usual. Instead of clicking through to a third-party website, users can make purchases right from the social media app or site itself, such as Instagram. There have also been partnerships between TikTok and Shopify, an expansion of Snapchat’s Native Stores for brands, and the introduction of Facebook Shops. When paired with the growing influencer marketing campaigns, 2021 will see social commerce become an even more integral part of the eCommerce experience for brands and shoppers alike, reducing the number of clicks and decisions needed to make a purchase.

Social Commerce

AI Chatbots: With more shoppers purchasing from retailers that align with their values, personalisation, consumer convenience, and the act of relevancy are growing trends across all eCommerce industries. To help deal with this influx of online customers, eCommerce retailers are increasingly turning to AI and chatbots. Brands such as ASOS, Burberry, Levi’s, and Tommy Hilfiger have all adopted retail chatbots in order to offer a human element to the online experience while prioritising convenience and personalisation.

In fact, Tommy Hilfiger’s chatbot even looks to engage you in a conversation, introducing itself as a bot and then offering a variety of options which you may need support with. Shoppers can browse through the collections, proceed directly to the catalogue of available items, or even get the bot to help in selecting an outfit. Through asking set questions, the bot filters the available products automatically to suggest the items fitting the customers style within the Facebook Messenger system. Essentially it operates as a personal shopper by using machine learning, making the overall experience simpler and more effective than having to deal with an operative who might be serving many people at the same time

Omnichannel and DTC: Due to the pandemic, retailers are now turning to omnichannel strategies, such as direct-to-consumer to help alleviate some of the problems caused. These marketing strategies allow eCommerce retailers to offer seamless shopping experiences, both online and offline, as they look to balance brick and mortar stores with growing eCommerce sales.

Large retail stores in the UK such as Zara have been embracing this omnichannel future by opening a click and collect concept store in London recently. It is a space dedicated to collecting online purchases, while also having staff on hand with mobile devices that offer sizes, stock, and collection information for a limited selection of items available in the store. There were also options to avoid payment lines completely, purchasing through either the Zara or Inditex group app, as well as with self-service checkouts.

Meanwhile, Nordstrom’s direct-to-consumer omnichannel strategy of “reserve online, try on in-store” was so successful it’s now available in 43 stores across the US, with 80% of shoppers who tried the service coming back to use it multiple times. This allows shoppers to select items through the Nordstrom app, notify them when the products are available, and then sending a followup message upon their arrival showing where they can find a specialist reserved dressing room with their selected clothes. This is the sort of omnichannel experience that customers will want to see in 2021 from their favourite retailers.

Final Thoughts

For eCommerce retailers, it’s time to adapt to the many changes that are already happening. Platforms like Shopify have made it easy to implement accessible payment options, while direct-to-consumer popularity means your eCommerce store can service all the pertinent customer trends of the moment. Focusing on and embracing these future retail website trends has an added importance given the scope of the pandemic, the effects of which are likely to last long after it has passed us by. Incorporating these elements into your wider marketing and retail strategies could very well be the difference between your company surviving the current hardships, or suffering due to the magnitude of the ongoing issues.

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