E-commerce marketing strategy recommendations for 2021

What do the latest retail marketing trends mean for your e-commerce marketing strategy?

The biggest takeaway from our 2021 retail e-commerce marketing trends is that, with increasingly complex customer journeys in 2021, retailers need an e-commerce marketing strategy that integrates customer experiences.

Customer lifecycle marketing is more necessary than ever, as consumers increasingly use multiple channels along their path to purchase. Therefore, to ensure you build a strong e-commerce marketing strategy to both reach and convert your customers, you need to consider the whole customer journey.

We have marketing training and tools to refresh your omnichannel approach to e-commerce marketing strategy. Our popular RACE Framework structures your strategy across the customer journey process of plan, reach, act, convert, and engage. You can find out more about these resources and how to apply them to your e-commerce marketing strategy throughout this article.

E Commerce Growth Customer Lifecycle 700x389

The current pandemic has also heightened the need for a cohesive, seamless experience across channels as physical stores remain closed in many locations. With more time spent browsing the internet and, in particular, social media, this new digital disruption empowers e-commerce marketers with new opportunities to convert customers online.

We’ve rounded up the top opportunities and our recommendations for your omnichannel e-commerce marketing strategy in our brand-new free report retail e-commerce marketing trends 2021.

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Digital Transformation for retailers

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty hows and whys, a note on Digital Transformation. The rate of growth of the e-commerce industry demonstrates the importance of Digital Transformation for merchants and retailers right now.

Indeed, a survey from Acquia found that 77% of their UK consumer respondents reported a change in their digital experience with brands, and 83% of the brands they surveyed reported an improvement in ROI for marketing and CX technology over the past year.

Increasing the number of channels you operate on is crucial at this stage of internet and
e-commerce maturity, and the experience on these channels must feel cohesive.

Consumers want to experience a brand, not a channel within a brand. A report from Omnisend found that marketers using three or more channels per campaign would see a 287% higher purchase rate than marketers using just one channel.

Discover the latest trends and innovations for online retail in the age of digital disruption when you download your free copy of our retail e-commerce marketing trends 2021 report.

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E-commerce marketing strategy tips for 2021

Our retail e-commerce marketing trends 2021 report is structured across the RACE Framework of plan, reach, act, convert, and engage covering 10 big trends in online retail right now.

One of the 10 trends covered in the report is user experience. There’s no doubt that the trend of user experience (customer experience) is a crucial consideration for all managers and marketers in the sector optimizing their marketing strategies.

In this blog, we will explore some of the tips and techniques associated with this trend that retailers can rapidly apply to their own e-commerce marketing strategies. For more information on this trend or to check the 9 other associated trends, you can download the full report via the banner.

Video marketing

As marketers find newer, more creative ways to attract audiences, video usage is becoming a key scope of interest for revenue growth. Video is no longer considered a niche skill or category when trying to expand the types of content that your company can produce. The costs and skills required for video production have gone down tremendously in the past years, making it a highly efficient way of conveying complex information about your brand.

The popularity of video with consumers is shown by data from Cisco who estimate that video will make up 82% of all online consumer internet traffic by 2022.

E Commerce Trends Video Content Marketing

Brands like Fitbit make use of videos in line with their product detail pages and provide their customers with dynamic, engaging content to attract sales. Online videos are both popular and an effective way to evoke emotion, which is why more and more online retailers are using video elements in their web design.

Guided selling

According to Practical E-commerce, guided selling is a form of product recommendation that makes suggestions and provides product information based on both statistical data and on the answers shoppers provide to questions related to the product or how the product will be used.

Even though guided selling has been around for a while, this trend is likely to become even more common as personalization tools continue to take the e-commerce world by storm.

Tails.com has a 13-step questionnaire to customize their dog food recommendation for your specific dog.

Guided Selling Web Design For Retail

Boohoo.com, an online clothing store, tracks online consumer behavior and shows their
customers similar clothing options to the ones they have clicked on/searched for.

E Commerce Clothing Recommendations Personalization

Our retail e-commerce marketing report empowers marketers with case studies, data, and recommendations to optimize their digital marketing. Download your free copy of the report now to find out more.

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Web design is now mobile design

Mobile traffic has surpassed desktop traffic, with a purported 51% of global web traffic coming from smartphone users – which brings us neatly onto the next trend. We’ve identified 4 mobile design tips to ensure your e-commerce website is catering to all your audiences.

  • Loading content as needed: Due to the demand for mobile responsive design and mobile first sites, websites will load content as needed, creating long scrolls but with content “lazy loading”.
  • Hamburger menus: Hamburger menus are now becoming standard, appearing on the left of many sites.
  • GIFs: GIFs are also making a comeback, with many sites now starting to use them on their homepage, it’s becoming quite common in the e-commerce world.
  • Every site should now be designed with mobile users in mind from an SEO perspective too, due to Google’s Mobile-first indexing update.

Fast checkout

The best experience that buyers can have is a fast checkout and a fast payment. ASOS has allowed users to register using email address, Facebook, Twitter, or Google accounts – they also have a one-page checkout containing billing address, delivery address, delivery type (such as standard or faster delivery options), payment details (including PayPal) which all makes for an incredibly efficient checkout.

Website Fast Checkout Online E Commerce

PayPal is certainly a fast way to pay and can also help with security as details are not being added to yet another website. Many online stores are embracing PayPal, such as Argos.
By offering multiple registration options such as Facebook, Google, etc. It takes away the burden of having to sign up to every website you want to purchase from.

Some sites, such as JohnLewis, offer guest checkout which also gives the customer the option to create an account later, too.

AO.com don’t mention registration at all – customers just check out as a guest, as there is no registration.

Registration And Checkout For E Commerce

In fact, research by Baymard returned the following reasons for abandonments during checkout.

E Commerce Cart Abandonment 700x488

Don’t miss out on the latest research and stats for e-commerce in our brand-new report. Download your copy today. Plus, discover a range of practical strategic tools and templates and recommendations for large and small retailers to apply to their e-commerce marketing strategy for accelerated ROI.

Retail e-commerce marketing trends 2021

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Integrated User Experience across the customer journey

It’s not just about fast checkouts. Research by Worldpay also showed that almost a quarter (23%) were frustrated by comparing products on a site. Plus, 23% are still concerned about payment security.

It’s not hard to see how poor user experience across the customer journey can dramatically reduce the number of people successfully interacting and converting on your site.

Equally, with an integrated marketing strategy, comes opportunities to use real-time data to influence your customers during important parts of their decision-making, such as ‘micro-moments.


In today’s fast-paced, technology-oriented world, consumers are overwhelmed with content.

Be it through ads, offers, emails, texts, social media, and everything else, the industry has reached a point of content shock where consumers cannot consume much more content than they already are.

Hence, the way brands devise their digital experiences to meet their audience needs, must change. Brands need to focus on the micro-moments of their customers’ behaviors.

What is micro-moments marketing?

As Think with Google highlights:

“What used to be our predictable, daily sessions online have been replaced by many fragmented interactions that now occur instantaneously. There are hundreds of these moments every day — checking the time, texting a spouse, chatting with friends on social media.

But then there are the other moments — the I want-to-know moments, I want-to-go moments, I want-to-do moments, and I want-to-buy moments — that really matter. We call these micro-moments, and they’re game-changers for both consumers and brands.”

E Commerce Micro Moments

Product pages and reviews

Product reviews are also a form of content marketing – and they are more powerful than ever. Many product pages contain independent reviews, some verified and some not.

This AO.com page contains a product review video, links to live chat wherever you are on the page and it shows its certification to build trust with customers. The site also contains product reviews as well as a score.

The product page has lots of information but, because of its layout, it doesn’t look too much for the customer to take in.

Review sites are now just part of the journey, as many e-commerce sites display reviews either submitted by their own customers or imported from other sites. Verification of reviews from real customers is also important.

Amazon display verified purchases to show genuine customer reviews from those who purchased the product on Amazon itself.

E Commerce Reviews

Feefo is a service that teams up with online retailers to ask their customers to leave a review on their purchase. They have come up with this solution to add genuine reviews to the web, whilst helping retailers to encourage purchases through content marketing and solid reviews from customers.

Tripadvisor and other review sites like Review Centre have a flaw in that they don’t have a method of making sure the reviews are from genuine customers, hence why Feefo’s solution is becoming more popular. Feefo isn’t industry specific like Tripadvisor, either.

People are reading reviews more than ever before to make purchase decisions. Customers rely on reviews to help them with their purchase, with over 90% saying they read reviews.

How are your online reviews? Download our guide for customer experience tactics to improve conversion, retention, and advocacy. Optimize your digital marketing across the customer lifecycle using the RACE Framework.

Retail e-commerce marketing trends 2021

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E-commerce marketing strategy case study: Shiseido from Alessio Rossi, Global Chief Digital Officer

“Beauty shoppers today are passionate and curious. They spend hours researching product
benefits and reading reviews before deciding what to buy. Even product aspects that were once low consideration, such as ingredients, now generate hours of research time.”

“Customer insights are our No.1 business asset. We care deeply about data-driven storytelling and reaching individual customers in their key moments of intent. But we’ve also learned the dangers of over-personalization. Early on, we were doing such a great job of customizing content that, while conversion and checkout rates increased, the average revenue per visit went down.”

“Customers got exactly what they needed, but we weren’t helping them discover anything new. We realized that we also needed to predict what other kinds of products might excite them.”

“Our customers are willing to provide information about their preferences because we give them value in return. And the more information we have about our customers, the better we can infer their needs. As soon as we stop providing that value, we lose their trust. So, we take this relationship seriously.”

“Our BareMinerals Made-2-Fit app is a perfect example of this. It’s an acquisition tool, helping us retain important information about customers so we can customize our marketing and deliver relevant messages. But the app also meets a strong customer need: It helps a beauty shopper find the perfect foundation to match their skin tone at any point in the year or their life — something we know our customers have struggled with.”

Beauty Retail Digital Transformation

“We know that people are reluctant to purchase foundation without being assured of a perfect shade match. The app is about creating a lifetime of value for our customers, so they’ll give a lifetime of value back.”

“Anticipating what our customers need is important, but we also need to deliver a great customer experience. A huge part of our success at Shiseido stems from our organization-wide alignment on a few customer experience priorities: standardizing our e-commerce platform; deploying our web analytics platform with Google Marketing Platform; and moving to a full-funnel, integrated media approach with standardized KPIs and benchmarks.”

“We’ve integrated all digital touchpoints — across brands, regions, and devices — into a single platform. This makes it possible to have cohesive and meaningful conversations with our customers regardless of product, device, or location.”

“At Shiseido, customers are our guiding light. And to meet them where they are, we need to do more than just respond to their intent signals. We need to start anticipating them.”

Need more e-commerce case studies? Each of our 10 trends is packed with industry examples, so you can plan, manage and optimize your marketing strategy informed by the latest innovations in your sector.

Retail e-commerce marketing trends 2021

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Next steps for your e-commerce marketing strategy

By now you will be fully aware of UX’s importance as it stands to reason that a smooth, easy, and pleasant experience on site is likely to lead to a positive outcome from a lead, sales or conversion perspective.

Reviews are a relatively easy way to make a positive impact on how your site and products are perceived. If you are already gathering reviews from a source such as TrustPilot, you can easily pipe these reviews over to display on your site to lend credibility and reinforce trustworthiness.

A simple way of getting started on improving user experience is to pay attention to any pinch points your site may have during loading and navigation. Google’s Lighthouse audit – available free through Chrome browser – is a good way of getting an overview of any issues your site may have. For example, if your site loads fine for desktop users but is sluggish and poorly sized for mobile users, you can be sure that they won’t be converting as well.

Fixes run from straightforward, such as specifying image sizes within the HTML, to those that will be heavier on your Dev resources – such as reducing JavaScript bloat.

Speaking of mobile users, in light of this report, it is very clear that now more than ever is the time to dedicate resource to improving your mobile site functionality – both as a converting channel and a vital part in the buying journey.

So, that’s my summary of our latest E-commerce User Experience research. I hope you’ve found it useful and you may already have some pointers to start improving your digital channels and platforms.

To make sure you’re on-track to build a fully integrated marketing strategy throughout reach, act, convert and engage, don’t forget about the other 9 trends covered in the retail e-commerce marketing trends 2021 report, which you can download here.

Retail e-commerce marketing trends 2021

Accelerate your growth in 2021 with trends, examples, and practical strategy integrated with our RACE Framework

Get Started Today

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