Top Trends Ecommerce Brands Need To Know Heading into 2021

Insights from the first 50 episodes of Up Next in Commerce, plus a peek into the future.

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The world of ecommerce is changing rapidly, and, especially in 2020, the industry has seen an explosion of growth. Now is the time for brands large and small to build and optimize their digital platforms. Throughout the first 50 episodes of Up Next in Commerce, companies from Puma to Rosetta Stone to Bombas and HP have all been reprioritizing how to succeed in the digital world, and while every company is different, there are common themes that have emerged among the success stories.

On a special episode of Up Next in Commerce, host Stephanie Postles was joined by Albert Chou, the VP of Operations at, to dive into some of the top trends that have come up in the first six months of shows. Check out three of our favorite trends below:

1. Supply Chain Shakeups

One of the most frequent trends to be brought up was supply chain shakeups and meeting new customer expectations.

“Everyone’s competing against what Amazon has created,” Chou said. “Amazon has created this expectation that you can get what you want, when you want it pretty darn fast. So if you’re any direct consumer brand, or any brand out there, if you’re a retailer, that’s what’s becoming the new norm.”

To Chou’s point, being able to get customers what they want and need, exactly when they want and need it is a must these days. But it’s not all about fast shipping, it’s also about processing returns and owning the supply chain in a way to create margins that will help companies actually grow. Both Postles and Chou — as well as the various guests that have been featured on the show — agree that these are the main areas that all retailers are and will continue to be focused on in order to compete and succeed moving forward.

2. The Future of Influencer Marketing

Another major topic that was brought up in multiple episodes was influencer marketing. What we’ve learned is that because influencer marketing has become so in demand across every industry and brand, there are more strategies than ever to try to get the most ROI out of influencers. Unfortunately, there is still no exact science or tool that leads to reliable success.

“[The problem with influencers is] the signal to noise ratio is still overwhelmingly noise and the ones that have tremendous signal, well, the problem is you can’t afford it,” Chou said. “So, I think the tools have to try to figure out by budget, almost, like how much ROI are you going to get per $1,000 of spend or something like that.”

Even with the rise of influencers, though, every thought leader and executive that has appeared on the show agrees that at the end of the day, the product has to be worth it to the end consumer. And if you have a good product that truly solves a problem or meets the needs of customers, they’ll be your best marketers and carry your brand farther than any influencer ever could.

“If you have a great product, your likelihood of catching a wave I think is much greater than if you’re just constantly paying influencers,” Chou said.

That idea will likely remain true no matter what the future holds. But there are factors that will change consumer behavior moving forward, and those are things that brands need to prepare for. Chou and Postles looked into crystal balls to try to predict how DTC companies will work with and compete against Amazon, including what the future of shoppable video might look like….

3. Turning Virtual Into Reality

Shoppable video and the increased offerings of digital products is going to set the stage for future commerce. The next generation is already using real cash to buy virtual products for their avatars in various games. In years to come, not only will you have the option for your avatar to have that virtual product, the real-life version will be offered in tandem for the user behind the screen.

“I’m always slow to convert to digital products, but when I watch my kids, it’s just unbelievable,” Chou said. “I don’t even think they’re interested in physical products. They keep wanting digital things. They want more games, they want more currency for their players, they just want this stuff.”

To hear more about what they had to say, check out Up Next in Commerce, here.

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