Breaking Down Shopify's 2021 Future of Ecommerce Report

Breaking Down Shopify's 2021 Future of Ecommerce Report

We’re excited. Shopify already did much of the heavy lifting when they released their nifty annual report on ecommerce trends for 2021 titled: “The Future of Ecommerce”.

And you should be excited, too. Because we took the liberty of doing the rest of the heavy lifting by dissecting this nifty report and plucking out the essentials. 

And we typed them up aptly for you to review below.


Key Findings aka The Meat and Potatoes

As you might already know, the pandemic was like a slingshot for ecommerce, forcing people online and rocketing growth. At the peak of the pandemic, global ecommerce saw 10 years of growth in only 90 days. 

In numbers, this meant ecommerce hit a peak of 16.4% of total global retail sales with about 84% of consumers shopping online during the pandemic.

Product wants and needs have shifted. Research reveals the top online product categories are: health, hygiene, home essentials, and food and beverage. 

Consumers put an emphasis on wanting more convenience, immediacy, and simplicity.

Consumers also want your shipping to be sustainable, fast as hell, pretty, and totally free. 

TL;DR: Ecommerce is at an all-time high and people want fast and free shipping like yesterday.

Shipping and the Environment 

This year, consumers realized that instead of being able to bat eyelashes and wave cutely to other teens in the food court of the local mega shopping mall...they have to order stuff online.

And since they have to order stuff online, shoppers are demanding more specific things if they’re going to choose your brand over countless competitors. One major shift is consumer’s demands for more socially and environmentally conscious brands.

Consumers want brands to be socially responsible.

Graphic from Shopify’s “The Future of Ecommerce” report


41.8% of consumers, nearly half, admit that they want brands to be socially responsible.

72% of global consumers want brands to use sustainable packaging. Infact, sustainable packaging has become such a priority that three-quarters of U.S. consumers are more likely to buy a product with sustainable packaging. Many are even willing to pay a little extra.

Check out Shopify Fulfillment Network and save yourself the inevitable headaches involved with trying to build your own expensive fulfillment network.

Brand Building and Marketplace Dominance

About half of all global ecommerce occurs on marketplaces. Marketplaces are online ecommerce sites that house third-party products and facilitate the buying and payment process with consumers. 

Think Amazon, Walmart, Etsy, Alibaba, Google Express. 

I’d bet you’ve been on one of those sites lately. And if you have, you know the competition is mind-boggling.

To allow your products to shine, turn your product pages into savory, sensory experiences that invite consumers to poke about the page and read deeper into your offering.

Take a peek at how wonderful Shopify’s page is for this very report we are so intimately dissecting on your behalf. It’s coordinated, it’s colorful, it’s lovely to look at. 

People go to Amazon and Walmart and other marketplaces to search for a solution to a problem. They aren’t searching for a brand directly. If I wanted a S’well water bottle, I’d simply punch their name into my search engine, head over to their site, and make my purchase.

But I don’t know if I want a S’well or Nalgene or HydroFlask or Contigo or what. That’s why I’m on a marketplace reading the results for “water bottle”.

When someone lands on your product page (or on any page of your site), you want to engage them. You want to keep them there for a little while, you know, show them around.

We suggest trying out some of the automated tools on Shopify Plus that allow you to do things like building a customized checkout experience, automating manual tasks, and scheduling product drops.


Customer are Expensive, So Keep Them

Today, customer acquisition costs are stiff. And ad prices are back to the costs they once were before taking a brief dip during the pandemic. 

Rising costs are, in part, due to more sellers being forced online and more competition for people’s attention. 

Advertising uncertainty is being felt across the board.

So, it’s become imperative to hold onto the customers you do have so that they keep coming back and even help market your products alongside you. That sounds better than draining your bank account on paid efforts on Facebook, Google, and Instagram. 

Studies show customers who sign up for a rewards program are 47% more likely to make a second purchase. But there’s myriad ways to tell your customers you freaking love them.

Try sprinkling in advanced discounts, gifts, bundles, referral codes, and other personalized promotions. The best way to get started is over at Shopify Plus.

Need more advice? We have a link for that, too.

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