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Global E-Commerce Trends Australia Needs to Adopt in 2021
The world feels more connected now than ever before. Australian online retail grew exponentially over the course of the pandemic, and it seems the country is finally catching up to the rest of the world. What international e-commerce trends should Australia adopt this year? Here’s a list of the biggest trends coming our way in 2021.
Taking advantage of the current online boom that was accelerated by the pandemic gives retailers the perfect opportunity to try some of the biggest trends from the rest of the world. Here are some of the biggest retail trends from the globe that Australia should adopt in 2021 and beyond.
Social Commerce is Becoming More Social
Instagram’s rollout of more shopping features over the last 12 months has not gone unnoticed by retailers and users alike. The platform has consistently tested new ways for shoppers to take advantage of Instagram business posts, and use the shopping features as they scroll.
“One of the biggest e-commerce trends is the rise of social commerce,” explained Sofie Spelta, a Social Media Expert at Alpha Digital.
“With Instagram making Reels and IGTV shoppable in December, there’s never been easier to purchase something you like that you’ve seen on social media (YouTube has had this feature for a number of years).”
Instagram has been launching more shopping features that have consistently been rolled out in Australia and the rest of the world.
In a report from Instagram, 90 percent of users follow at least one business account, with 83 percent of Aussies saying they have discovered a new product while using the social media platform.
“The events of this year have changed the way we shop, and for many Australians, the traditional shopping experience has evolved to fit safely into the palm of their hand,” shared Noami Shepherd, the Group Industry Director at Facebook Australia.
For retailers that have considered amping up their social media presence, now is the best time. Advertising the best selling products on the site and eyeing out key trends using the social media platform can up the ante for shoppers, and keep them interested in new product launches while they scroll.
Remember, boredom is one of the driving factors for online shoppers to make an impulse purchase, and social media scrolling is an integral boredom buster.
Livestream Shopping – As Seen On TV … on Your Phone
A huge hit in China, live stream shopping is exactly what it sounds like. Essentially, it’s a ‘glow up’ from the traditional TV shopping channels that many grew up watching. Using a live streaming platform, KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) showcase products they wish to sell, test and try out in front of a live audience.
This is the next level up from traditional influencer marketing – using lie streaming tools to review, present and discuss products in front of an audience, with the ability to purchase in real-time. With special discounts for those streaming the content, it can be a fun and exciting way for influencers and retailers to showcase their favourite items of the moment and attract a new audience.
During Alibaba’s Singles Day, the major shopping event based in Asia, KOLs take over the platforms and discuss their favourite products, often selling up to 12 products an hour. Unlike traditional YouTube influencers, the videos’ content doesn’t have to be incredibly polished or high quality – the benefit of this platform is its authenticity and transparency.
China is a genuine leader of the e-commerce industry and often introduces new and exciting ways to market products online that the rest of the world is yet to try. This is a major step up from the traditional influencer marketing that the world has perfected. With macro-influencers falling out of favour in recent months, mostly due to their outlandish lifestyles and lack of authenticity, live stream shopping may be the key to capturing a fresh audience.
Flexible Deliveries for a Flexible World
Since 2020, the online shopping world was ramped up to 11. As such, the strain on last-mile and couriers became apparent. In Australia, retailers began introducing delivery innovations, such as Amazon Flex, which have been long-present in international operations.
This is a newer way for retailers to have products delivered without adding further strain to traditional last-mile delivery carriers. In a similar vein to Uber, this delivery concept allows users of a car to deliver online orders in their own time.
In January 2020, Amazon launched its Flex platform to certain parts of the country, expanding its services to Brisbane later in September.
“We’re pleased to be able to offer hundreds of flexible earning opportunities to people in Brisbane at a time when they are more needed than ever. Our delivery partners tell us they enjoy the flexibility they have to schedule delivery blocks around their existing commitments – whether it’s their primary job, or caring for their children. With greater control of when they work, Amazon Flex delivery partners are able to juggle this new normal with securing extra income,” explained Craig Fuller, the Director of Operations at Amazon Australia.
“Expanding our Amazon Flex network into Brisbane gives us the ability to respond to peaks in customer demand while providing our Brisbane customers more ways to get goods delivered directly to their doorstep. Our role in supporting the community during this time is an important one, and we are committed to getting people the items they need when they need them. Ultimately, Amazon Flex will result in faster delivery promises for our Brisbane customers.”
During the Stage Four restrictions that Melbourne experienced for months on end, the flexible delivery option helped generate an income for Australian workers. It further reduced the strain on Australia Post and other couriers, which were experiencing above normal levels of deliveries due to the pandemic.
Bold and Beautiful E-Commerce Designs
By now, all online retailers should have figured out how to create a well-functioning and stable platform. After the last 12 months of a dedicated e-commerce focus, there is no reason why retailers should avoid continuously updating their platforms to look the best.
“Generally speaking, e-commerce shop fronts are unattractive,” said Constantine Frantzeskos, Founder of PENSO. “Beautifully designed and managed physical stores are still a far more appealing and captivating experience than the most attractive digital store. Despite its reputation as a leader in e-commerce, Amazon’s user experience and design is horrifically ugly.
“As much as Apple is proof that beautiful design is necessary, Amazon is proof that beautiful design is unnecessary. However, we are seeing some increasing evidence of stunning design and superb user experience driving business growth. Design and usability don’t have to have a rivalrous relationship. Hopefully, we will see a shift to beauty and bold digital experiences (something we have not seen largely since the death of Flash),” Frantzeskos told Power Retail.
Re-Commerce is the New Black
As window-shopping becoming an increasingly popular past time for online shoppers, the rise of purchasing vintage and pre-loved items is growing alongside it. Online retailers such as Poshmark, TheRealReal and Depop are embracing the surge of re-commerce.
“Re-commerce, also known as second-hand commerce will see a renewed revival. Recent research predicts the second-hand market to double within the next five years,” explained David Toby, the Director of Pathfinder Alliance. “With consumers becoming increasingly motivated by sustainability, rather than price, second-hand sales of luxury items will shake up the re-commerce industry. This presents an interesting opportunity for brands to open up their own re-commerce marketplace and turn second-hand shopping into an exciting shopping experience.”
Australia has accelerated its e-commerce growth to levels no one could have predicted. In 12 months, the entire industry experienced year’s worth of rapid growth. Now it’s time for Australian retailers to see trends worldwide and adopt them into their strategies. Which e-commerce trends do you expect to see this year?