E-commerce continues to reach new heights. According to Statista and other sources, the industry is expected to cross the 4.5 trillion dollar threshold by the end of 2021.
The future seems bright as well, as more and more people are sticking to shops online. Not to mention that the ongoing pandemic made businesses rethink their strategy and focus on online presence more than before.
These things are positive for potential entrepreneurs who desire to start an online project and develop it into a sustainable business. However, joining an industry when you are not familiar with the trends shaping it can be a tad bit difficult. Before you commit to your plans, consider exploring the information in this article.
Trend #1 – Print on Demand
The print on demand opens doors for businesses that want to raise brand awareness. Of course, you can sell custom merchandise by itself. For example, starting a t-shirt store and dropshipping your products.
However, businesses are beginning to realize that there are other benefits. Giving away custom-made mugs, hoodies, t-shirts, phone cases, and other products is a good way to advertise the brand. And giving away stuff for free on social media is not the only way.
For example, you and your team could participate in a live event wearing t-shirts or other clothes with brand elements like a logo or a slogan. Spectators will notice it and become aware of the brand.
Also read: How to Win at Event Marketing (Step-by-step)
Trend #2 – Dropshipping Business Model
The dropshipping business model is superior in cases when you want to join the ecommerce game but cannot invest a lot of money.
Dropshipping eliminates the need to worry about inventory, shipping, and other processes. Your focus will be on customer service.
The top 10% of eBay dropshippers made on average $7,731/month profit in 2019. It is a good indication that you can make a living from dropshipping.
Reaching the top 10% will require hard work, but it is possible. And even if you do not accomplish the goal is becoming one of the top dropshippers, having an average business is still a solid option as far as online income sources go.
Trend #3 – Emphasis on Customer Service
A competitive market calls for the best customer service that a business can provide. If someone has to choose between a store that offers top quality customer service and one that lacks in that department, the choice should be quite clear.
How can you improve your customer service?
Well, there are multiple approaches you can take. One thing to emphasize would be how there are different customers.
Some customers do not want to bother with messaging on the website or making a phone call. They would rather seek information themselves. Thus, having an informative FAQ page is one of the things you need on the website.
At the same time, make sure that there is someone who can respond on social media, website, email, texts, and other communication channels that you might have. Otherwise, you stand to lose potential customers to your competition.
Also read: How To Ask For Customer Feedback
Trend #4 – Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has been booming since the inception of social media. Facebook and Instagram are the two platforms that stand out from the rest, though there are influencer-specific sites, like Heepsy or The Room. However, as a rule of thumb, brands seek influencers on social media.
It seems that people tend to trust the personalities they follow instead of big corporations. Ads on the radio or TV stations are also not as effective as before because of the internet culture.
If you struggle to find reliable influencers to collaborate with, change your strategy. Instead of aiming for A-tier celebrities, work with micro-influencers. They may not have the most followers, but micro-influencers cost less, and they have a better overall engagement rate on their content.
Also read: 10 B2B Email Marketing Examples
Trend #5 – Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence continues to prove an asset for online businesses. In a competitive market, one needs to collect as much data and process it to find patterns in customer behavior, what the competition is up to, or which areas of the business need improvements.
Machine learning is an efficient way to accomplish these things. And thanks to the technology, some businesses are taking advantage of chatbots that are a good alternative to customer support reps.
Despite not being like real people, chatbots respond immediately after receiving a question, and they are available 24/7 so long as there are no technical difficulties.
Trend #6 – Green Policies
When building their brand, some businesses tend to overlook green policies and fail to adopt them. This calls for a drop in customers because there are growing concerns about our planet’s well-being.
You can gain an edge by promoting a green plan. For instance, your business could support local charities that aim to preserve Earth. Looking for environment-friendly ways to ship products would help as well.
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