2020 has been one of the most challenging years in history for businesses all over the world. As the calendar turns, business owners must be prepared for the continually changing conditions. To help you with that, we have come up with a list of the 6 biggest business trends in 2021 to look out for. Read on to find out!
Remote work continues to persist
Remote work is certainly among the most outstanding business trends in 2021. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses had to quickly adapt operations to a remote workforce. According to Intermedia’s survey, 57% of small to medium-sized merchants said that they would continue to offer remote work options in the future. Depending on your business type, you may need to consider offering remote work options to win workers’ trust.
The demand for advanced technology and software solutions is also on a high rise to ensure that business staff can telework. As stated in a survey from GGV Capital, 54% of store owners have spent more on software solutions in 2020 compared to 2019. The number is expected to escalate even more next year.
Zoom, a state-of-the-art cloud-based video conferencing platform, has become a household name. Other large corporate tools like Microsoft’s Teams or Google Hangouts are also providing the same service, globally facilitating remote work. To support your employees while working remotely, try to spend some time communicating virtually with your distributed teams via these platforms. This is a great way to maintain your company culture as well as express your appreciation for their hard work.
E-commerce and social commerce will accelerate
While e-commerce has been growing even before the pandemic, IBM’s report shows that the complete shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping has sped up by 5 years. Under the current climate, more and more businesses are considering e-commerce as an ideal channel to sell their products online. For that reason, merchants need to fine-tune their e-commerce presence to create better customer service in 2021.
Brands have become more reliant on engaging with shoppers across social platforms in today’s situation. Social commerce is important because it helps provide a seamless omnichannel experience, allowing shoppers to shop from anywhere, at any time. According to 10 Ecommerce Trends, 87% of e-commerce shoppers believe that social media helps them make a shopping decision. Also, brands will need to engage with several influencers and micro-influencers in the industry — those key people that are driving conversations and engaging with your customers.
Most social platforms have developed their capabilities of e-commerce. This year, TikTok has further invested in social commerce by officially partnering with Shopify to enable online sales. As for Facebook and Instagram, the two platforms have also taken big steps towards its social commerce play. With Facebook and Instagram Shops, retailers can set up customized storefronts, upload collections of featured products, or simply do live selling to attract more customers.
2021 is sure to be the best year for this business trend to thrive.
Contactless payment transactions will dominate
One of the greatest business trends in 2021 is the dominance of contactless payments. According to the State of Retail Payments study, no-touch payments such as contactless credit/debit cards have increased 69% this year in the retail sector. Among retailers that have implemented contactless payments, 94% expect the increase to continue over the next 18 months.
As shoppers fear contamination, options like mobile pay or tap-to-pay have also increased. A good example of this business trend is China. It is ahead of other countries in mobile payments with 47% of mobile users using mobile and digital wallets. A high growth rate of mobile payments is expected over the next few years, and by 2026 the number of transactions will reach $26.341 trillion.
Contactless payments have now become the norm. Notably, this business trend isn’t likely to lose its steam in the next 12 months.
Virtual services continue to be in high demand
The pandemic has led to a demand for certain business types, particularly those related to technology and virtual health & fitness. These include businesses that provide cybersecurity, at-home fitness, food delivery, and so many more. If you are thinking of starting or growing your business, look for inspiration in those business categories.
Brands are racing to find new ways of offering services to customers that are hesitant to visit stores. Eventually, they begin to consider delivering their services through technology such as augmented reality and virtual reality. While staying at home, consumers can use virtual avatars to “try on” make-up products, eyewear, and apparel. Ultimately, this innovative business trend with virtual interfaces will completely transform how businesses offer services for many years to come.
The shift from global to local is the new business trend in town
The pandemic has revealed many vulnerabilities in the business world. In 2020, there were lots of reasons to start thinking more locally rather than globally. Since international instability could interrupt the whole operation, businesses have started to reconsider where they were sourcing and selling their goods. An interesting fact is that more localized manufacturing and merchandise are also catering to environmental awareness.
Fortunately, shoppers are aware of the pandemic impacts on local businesses and willing to help keep them afloat. Another survey from the National Retail Foundation reveals that 49% of all consumers have made a purchase specifically to support a local business during COVID-19. Social platforms like Instagram are also showing some interest in this by allowing users to buy gift cards or place an order directly from the profile pages or stories of small merchants.
If you own a local business, now is the time to lean on the support of your social community. Consider creating a loyalty program for neighbors to enhance their engagement. No matter what size of business you own, a well-designed loyalty program such as a points-based or tier-based program can generate great sales.
Brands need to personalize their shopping experience
Another business trend in 2021 to look out for is the need for an improvement in the shopping experience. To keep customers coming back for more, it is essential to create a more personalized shopping journey. In the end, it is all about adapting services to the specific needs and wants of each consumer. The 2018 Epsilon study reveals that 80% of shoppers are more likely to make a purchase with a brand that offers personalized experiences.
One way to learn more about your customers is through a buyer persona. Explore web analytics tools such as Google Analytics to gather valuable insights about your customers. This includes data about how many people have visited your site, how they got there (i.e. search engine, social platforms, etc.), which products are bestsellers, and what drives their buying decisions. By learning more about your customers’ purchasing behavior, you’ll be able to suggest relevant products or services. This can be done by sending an email marketing campaign for your items or offering customized vouchers.
However, the biggest challenge for businesses when improving their shopping experience is to remain relevant as well as ensure consistent customer service. Brands that fail to interact with consumers across all channels will stand out for their inability to provide a smooth customer experience.
In the end
Regardless of how your business performed in 2020, It is critical to start preparing for the next year now. As these business trends in 2021 continue to embed their roots deeply across every industry, set aside some time to evaluate every aspect of your business for remarkable growth in the future.
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