Ecommerce Predictions for 2021: Industry Experts’ Insights

In 2020, the expansion of e-commerce has accelerated considerably in just a few months. However, the landscape is quite uncertain. That’s why we’ve asked industry experts to help us better understand what lies ahead in 2021 and have gathered all their comments in this post so that you can have them all at hand 🙂 

Specifically, we’ve asked them what they think is the trend that will mark the world of ecommerce in 2021 and also some useful advice on how to approach digital strategies.  

Do you want to know what they think? 

Read on. 

Shane Barker Influencer, Author and Digital Consultant 

The continued rise of Social Ecommerce

I think one of the biggest eCommerce trends in 2021 will be the continued rise of social commerce. As more and more brands turn to social media platforms as alternative retail channels, this trend will further solidify in the future.

For consumers, the key driver of this trend is the convenience of shopping directly from social media. For brands, social commerce represents a low-investment opportunity to add another sales channel to their portfolios.

The best way to leverage this trend is to start with features like shoppable posts and Stories. This is a simple and effective way to direct traffic from social media directly to your product pages.

You simply have to tag the products in your social media content and add a purchase link for the same. This will make it easier for your audience to quickly buy what they like on social media.

Another way to start with social commerce is to start an Instagram Shop, as Instagram is one of the most preferred social commerce channels. Such shops usually have a product showcase of all of the products from your social media posts, each linked to their respective purchase pages.


Chloë Thomas Author and podcast Host

Be prepared to face more competition 

2020 caused both a lot more consumers to buy online, and a lot more businesses to start (or ramp up) selling online. That means in 2021 we’re faced with more competition, and because there are more customers I expect we’ll see greater marketing activity from businesses too.

That’s all going to make it harder to get your message in front of your target customers. I predict the trend we’re going to see is businesses getting ever more marketing savvy, and spending more on making sure they understand their customer and the best ways to communicate to them. 

For one business that will mean doubling down on email, for another it will mean getting to grips with social commerce. To work out what it means for you – go back to your customers. Look at your analytics to understand your customers behaviour, and invest in research to find out WHO your customers are and WHY they buy your products. 

That could be a customer survey, panels, getting on the phone – there’s an option for every budget.


Antony Chesworth, CEO of EKM

Flexible payment options 

Flexible payment options have seen a huge increase in popularity in the last 12 months. This strongly ties in with the ‘convenience’ factor that most shoppers desire, in that they are in control of when, where and how they pay for items online.

This is perhaps the strongest driving factor for buy now pay later options alongside the rise in online shopping due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Customers now want more choice now than ever before and offering multiple options at checkout not only gives the customer complete control over their purchases including spreading the cost, but also allows business owners to stay competitive in their respective markets.

I expect we will see this trend continue to grow into 2021 and beyond with more and more companies adopting buy now pay later solutions, new solutions being created as well as popularising payment options like pay in 30 days or buy now pay later.

I also believe the rapid increase of buy now pay later payment solutions will mean we will also see stronger regulation in this area too, to protect consumers.

If you’re a business owner looking to expand your payment options, seek out advice on what the best solution would be for your business and your customers.


Luke Carthy Ecommerce expert and founder of Afrodrops.com

D2C ecommerce

I predict that D2C ecommerce sites will continue to grow and emerge aggressively. We’ve already seen that customers increased AoV and order size in 2020 through the pandemic and I expect this to continue into 2021; especially with Brexit for the UK market.

It’s no surprise that all eyes are on ecommerce and online shopping, so I’d expect fierce innovation in this space as brands rush to capitalise on the boom. I think it’s likely that Shopify could begin to leverage ad revenue via their Shopify Shop marketplace too.

Competition is also hotting up between Shopify and Amazon, so it will be interesting to understand how this tech battle evolves throughout this year.

Lastly, I think it’s really important we address the types of companies that will struggle too. High street centric brands that are used to generating 50% or more of all turnover from retail outlets are going to have to evolve rapidly and make drastic decisions to stay competitive and survive this year. This means store closures and heavy investment in digital. Personally, I just can’t see a high street brand surviving if they fail to do so. I’ll be watching Primark closely!


Fernando Angulo, Head Of Communications at Semrush

Online shoppers are now increasingly interested in sustainable products

The pandemic hasn’t completely rewritten ecommerce trends, it only accelerated some of the more significant patterns we were spotting before. But, of course, some growth dynamics are simply unprecedented. 

According to our data, throughout 2020, “buy online” searches have grown by 50% on average. Traffic numbers to some of the biggest ecommerce sites have exceeded the holiday-related shopping spikes, showing 30% YoY growth. Some products related to hygiene or WFH are also getting extra attention, with demand growth of +19,000% ( for hand sanitizer searches) being not a common phenomenon. 

What’s interesting, though, is that a lot more online shoppers are now increasingly interested in sustainable products – our online behavior and demand stats show that online searches for “shop sustainably” and related terms have increased by 650% YoY.

Overall, there is no one general trend that every single ecommerce store should follow: yes, the market growth is likely impacting every single ecommerce brand, as well as the declining CPC costs. However, with the growing number of businesses turning to online sales, competition is also at its highest, so more and more brands entering the online space, or established players wishing to keep their market edge, should follow what ecommerce marketers have been preaching long before the pandemic:

  • Focus on data and market insights to keep watch on emerging trends and consumer demand patterns.
  • Keep an eye on your competition and the changing market landscape to adjust marketing strategies based on user behavior stats, traffic acquisition costs, and product demand.
  • Work on messaging and be as tailored as you can when approaching the ever-changing online consumer. 

Derric Haynie Chief Ecommerce Technologist at Ecommercetech.io

Shoppable Quizzes

Here are my top 5 (OK 6) predictions for 2021 as it pertains to Ecommerce technology:

1) Sites will become significantly more interactive. From the emerging category of Shoppable Quizzes, to live chat, to on-site notifications (not browser, but on-site).

2) Marketers will be working “smarter not harder.” We are seeing a mad rush to take advantage of newly licensable AI from Microsoft and IBM that makes copywriting done-for-you.

3) “Social” and “site” will continue to blend together with the emergence of “Visual Storytelling”. 

4) Marketers will work “smarter not harder” (part 2) by having their analytics not just give them data instantly but give them actionable takeaways! No more “analysis paralysis” or reporting vanity metrics to your boss.

5) Brands are going to be more innovative with their pricing strategies by better understanding competitor pricing and market dynamics. These are gamechangers for profitability in Ecommerce!!

Bonus prediction: pretty much any brand doing over 50k visitors a month will be using headless commerce and apps designed to improve page speed load time, especially on mobile. Apps like Edgemesh Corporation, Shogun and Nacelle.

Let me give you a more specific blurb:

So many trends to be bullish on, but one in particular is exciting to me because it improves the user experience and helps marketers capture more data and do a better job interacting with their customers. I’m talking about Shoppable Quizzes. These are interactive quizzes that users volunteer to take, usually right after landing on the site. They help figure out things like hair color, eye shape, foot size, or whatever it is the brand needs to know to better sell them products. From these Shoppable Quizzes, brands are able to do targeted on-site, email, and SMS follow ups with the products geared towards that type of customer. It’s an extension of personalization given to anyone who you have good first-party data on, and it will become a major differentiation factor in 2021.

Now, of course this isn’t for all industries, but for most brands where the brand and the consumer can benefit from the consumer sharing some basic information, you’re going to see this really bring customers in the door and increase conversion rate. If you were to get started today, I’d begin with your common customer service questions, reverse engineer them – maybe its sizing, maybe its color, maybe its attitude – and create basic multiple choice questions that are “no brainer” answers for consumers – meaning don’t ask them for their favorite band, where they can have multiple and get stuck, ask them their eye color, which they just know. Start with the basic questions, sometimes questions that may not even be very applicable to your business, and then move into the slightly tougher ones that may bring more value to the business but might be tougher to answer, like their waistline size, or their ring size, or the like.


Llorenç Palomas, CMO
at Doofinder 

The 2021 trends according to Doofinder

During 2021 we will be able to see how COVID-19 has accelerated the eCommerce sector in an unexpected way, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. The second half of 2020 has shown sustained growth that has had a very positive impact on most online businesses, more people are shifting many of their physical purchases to the digital environment. 

This year will allow us to strengthen and enhance some areas in which we have already been able to see significant progress:

Social eCommerce: With Instagram and Tik Tok trying to integrate shopping into social networks, these platforms will take advantage of the huge increase in the number of purchases from mobile devices. We will see if users are comfortable with this shopping format or if, on the other hand, they will  prefer to buy directly from the online store

Artificial intelligence and personalization: If you are not using these technologies in your eCommerce, you need to do it now. They are a must in order to offer a personalized shopping experience that increases revenue. Today, AI and personalization technologies  are affordable enough that any eCommerce business can use them. A smart search engine like Doofinder is a very good option 😉

Marketplace: During 2020, and due to Covid, Marketplaces have grown exponentially, they have managed to obtain a significant market share. During 2021, they will continue to be a very important channel and I’m sure that new players will appear for different business verticals.

New search engines? More than a trend, it is probably a wish. Apple is threatening to launch its own search engine. It wouldn’t be half bad if, at last, some other company capable of standing up to Google would show up. It could drastically reduce the increasing acquisition costs through this channel .

A bit further away,  we can see some other high tech trends that will end up arriving: Augmented Reality, Crypto Currencies, Virtual Reality, IOT… but it may be too soon to know exactly when they will be a reality. As of today, they are only within the reach of a very few big online businesses

The big challenge of ecommerce in 2021

As we have read, our experts share the opinion that every ecommerce in 2021 faces a very big challenge. 

The fact that more people buy online, the creation of new digital stores, the closure of physical stores betting on the digital channel, make the competition more fierce.

Our experts agree that’s it’s important for you to re-analyze the ever-changing behavior of your consumers and with the data gathered, to think about taking advantage of new channels of acquisition such as Social Ecommerce, to experiment with new formats such as Shoppable Quizzes or Live Streaming Ecommerce, to propose new, more flexible payment methods and also to take advantage of new ecommerce niches such as sustainable products. 

We are heading for an intense but very interesting year, don’t you think? 

The good thing is that the unstoppable growth of e-commerce will lead to a lot of innovation and will force us to be very creative in order to differentiate from the rest.