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2021 eCommerce trends and the future of D2C

D2C is all the rage in 2021, and for good reason. Selling directly to consumers helps protect your profits and margins, establishes communication channels and a direct line to your buyers, and boosts your customer lifetime value. We’ve compiled some important D2C trends that help point to the future of eCommerce and what to expect next.

D2C is booming and bringing in revenue

Let’s start off with the most obvious of the bunch — D2C is not only here to stay, it’s exploding in popularity, and for good reason. As a D2C seller, you get direct access to your customers, a bigger percentage of the overall sale, and more control over your marketing.

D2C got a big boost in 2020, and is expected to maintain a 19.2% growth throughout 2021. Translated to dollars, if we take eMarketer’s estimate of 18 billion in 2020, that’s almost 3.5 billion dollars.

What this means for you: If you aren’t already selling on your own website, it’s time to get started.

Read: A 10-step guide to launching your own eCommerce website

Next day delivery will become a crucial competitive advantage

Earlier this year, we found that 44% of consumers want free next day delivery. Fast fulfillment is no longer a nice bonus, but a necessity, and eCommerce expectations are only getting faster.

What this means for you: If you cannot meet next day delivery in-house or with your current setup, work with a fulfillment provider that can achieve reliable fast delivery speeds for shoppers across the country.

Read: How to offer next-day delivery on your listings

Subscriptions and subscription boxes are here to stay

Back in 2018, 15% of all consumers were signed up for a subscription box of some kind. In 2021, subscription boxes are a $15 billion industry, with 20% of all subscription boxes being niche products.

What this means for you: If you sell in categories such as health, beauty, and food and beverages, or have a niche product, it’s time to start looking into subscription boxes or at least subscription options for your customers.

Read: How to extend your customer lifetime value with subscriptions

Ad spend is going up, so it’s time to get creative

Ad spend has been rising steadily, with expected spend to rise approximately 9% year-over-year from 2022 to 2024. In the face of rising ad spend, it’s time to get creative and stay ahead of the game with your assets.

What this means for you: Look at how you can use video and user generated content to boost your ROI and leave a lasting impression.

Read: How to Use Video to Build Consumer Trust in Your eCommerce Company

Social media will turn into marketplaces

More than half of young consumers get D2C purchase recommendations from their social media networks, which means social has a growing influence on the younger generation’s shopping habits.

What this means for you: It’s time to start investing more in your social media presence, especially on emerging platforms like TikTok, and growing platforms like Instagram.

Read: How to sell on TikTok: A guide for eCommerce sellers

Video shopping is creating a new buyer experience

Video shopping is taking off across the global market, with approximately 20% of all online shopping in China done through video by 2022. This can include making purchases during a video stream, or shopping live on a video chat with a sales rep.

What this means for you: Product photography is no longer enough. Merchants must invest in product videos to truly immerse and convert shoppers.

Read: How videos affect eCommerce conversion rates

Consumers care about sustainability

Sustainability sells in 2021, and the numbers back it up with 39% of consumers saying poor environmental records affect their purchase choices. D2C sellers with products built with good sustainability practices, and eco-friendly products are poised to boost sales with some smart marketing.

What this means for you: Incorporate sustainability into your sourcing strategy and highlight it in your marketing materials.

Read: How to build brand advocacy for your eCommerce business

Shopping is shifting to mobile

Your phone is likely no further than a few feet away from you right now, and the same is true for consumers around the world. More than 70% of online sales will come from mobile devices by the end of 2021, as shoppers are increasingly researching and purchasing from their phones.

What this means for you: If you haven’t already, it’s time to optimize your buying experience for mobile shoppers. Make sure your pages load quickly on mobile devices, and keep your most compelling content above the mobile fold.

Read: 5 Tips to step up your mobile eCommerce marketing game

Expect sales spikes in essentials and niche goods

We’re seeing demand for essentials and niche items across the board, from food and health goods, to skincare and cosmetics. Certain categories are poised to take off, especially as shopping habits for these items have shifted from retail to eCommerce. Think of it as consumers who realized having groceries delivered was so much more convenient than going to the store.

What this means for you: If you want a more resilient catalog, invest in essentials. If you want to take a bet that could pay off big, go for a niche.

Read: 9 Popular items to make and sell online

Wrapping up — D2C eCommerce trends of 2021

There you have it! This year marks the beginning of many opportunities for sellers willing to go D2C, start subscription boxes, learn how to sell on social media, leverage video to get more conversions, and invest in their shopping experience and fulfillment speed.

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