Get Ready for 2021: eCommerce Marketing Trends Luxury and Lifestyle Brands Need to Know

ecommerce marketing trends for luxury fashion brands

From going to physical stores to make our day-to-day purchases to deciding to make purchases online ‘only’, the world has changed. According to studies, 2020 has seen online sales worth more than $374 billion and it’s expected to top $476 billion by 2024. That’s why in this article we’re discussing the eCommerce marketing trends you need to be aware of in 2021.

There are an endless number of articles around the rise of eCommerce and how even prominent offline retailers are now going online. So we’re not going to go there.

But what we’re going to say again is – It’s only going to get tougher to reach your customers, owing to the increasing competition.

No matter what products you sell, there’s always going to be ten others that have a similar range. And then there are going to be ten others that are “new” in the market, and have some amazing introductory or launch deals to offer.

And THAT impacts the way you look at eCommerce marketing.

We saw a shift in strategies, pivoted some of our own, learned a few lessons from some campaigns and researched on what’s important to know for the next year. And then we decided to share it with you!

eCommerce marketing trends you can’t do without in 2021

1. Personalization is the new normal

Would you rather have a salesperson shove a set of clothes in your face when you walk into a store or prefer someone to understand what you’re looking for and then make suggestions accordingly?

Well, obviously the latter. We as consumers demand personalization, and Amazon and Netflix have spoilt us by setting really high standards! So much so that it’s safe to say personalization is the new normal – even when we’re talking about eCommerce marketing.

Actually, especially eCommerce marketing.

personalization ecommerce marketing

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A person who came looking for t-shirts, does not want to be shown shoes unless they have an intent of purchasing those. A person wanting to buy a smartphone is not ready to buy a smart TV. And we’ve been driving this point home since the beginning of time.

Upselling and cross-selling is one thing. But tailoring their journey to successfully upsell and cross-sell is important.

Personalization in eCommerce marketing comes in different ways, based on where you intend to use customer data and for what. For example, if you’re running an email marketing campaign, it would include:

  • Using their first name in the subject line and the body of the email
  • Providing product recommendations based on their preferences (more on this later)
  • Tailoring the message/ coupons based on their stage in the sales cycle – for instance, sending a first purchase discount to a first-time visitor vs sending your repeat customers a message to join your loyalty program to avail rewards
  • Sending birthday promotional offers

And so on with other marketing channels as well.

Here are some statistics to show you that personalization is worth the effort, from SmarterHQ:

  • 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who provide relevant offers and recommendations
  • 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand who provides personalized experiences
  • 72% of consumers only engage with marketing messages that are customized to their specific interests
  • 80% of those who classify themselves as frequent shoppers say they only shop with brands who personalize their experience
  • Consumers are 40% more likely to view items that are recommended based on information they’ve shared with the brand

2. Your customers are on a social media shopping spree

According to surveys, there are about 3.6 billion people proactively using social media. So much so that they spend a minimum of 2 hours per day on at least one of the platforms. Owing to the pandemic and the shift of culture to working from home, the hours spent on social media are only increasing. Call it the human need for networking when they can’t do so physically.

To us, that screams an opportunity to drive more attention to your brand and bag more sales!

social media - ecommerce marketing importance

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From what we have learned through 2020, is that the most popular social platforms are still Facebook and Instagram. And well, YouTube is trending too.

Be it a lifestyle brand or a luxury brand. Be it, price-sensitive shoppers or high-value purchase makers. You’re going to find them all on these social platforms. Either actively engaging with their friends and family, or simply scrolling through feeds to consume content of their interest.

Here are some other statistics to support our observation by Smart Insights:

  • 87% of online shoppers believe social media helps them make a purchase decision
  • 1 in 4 business owners are selling their products through Facebook
  • 40% of merchants use social media to generate sales on their store
  • 30% of consumers say they would make purchases directly through social media platforms
  • About 55% of consumers have made purchases via social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest

How can you tap into this social behaviour of consumers?

#1 Identify your ideal customer 

Know who your ideal consumer is. Right from the general demographics like location, gender, age and other parameters to those closer to purchase driven decisions like spending power, document it all, and then identify what the one channel they tend to use the most. This will help you streamline your social media marketing and advertising strategy, helping you optimize your spends.

#2 Set up your social media pages (if you don’t have them already) 

Once you know where your customers are, the next step is to set up your social profiles. Make sure you add your logo, a cover image that gives a glimpse into what your brand is about, details such as your website, contact details and posts about the products you’re selling.

If you’re just starting out your journey online and don’t have your social profiles set up, don’t forget to sign up for our 90-day program EcomX right away!

#3 Create your social media content calendar 

Empty profiles will do you no good. So you’re going to have to populate them with content that entices people to follow you and engages them with your brand. So plan out a social media content calendar for the social profiles you choose to set up your business on.

#4 Strategize your social media advertising campaigns 

Organic’s great. But great content will only get you so far. That’s because there are at least a thousand other brands that are using social media to reach their customers. The only way to stand out is to strategize and run paid social media ad campaigns. From those that promote your recent sale, discounts, new products to content about them, plan out your TOFU campaigns to drive traffic to your store, retargeting campaigns to bring visitors back and of course campaigns that nudge them to make a purchase.

Now, this isn’t easy. If you’re a newbie to social media advertising, contact us for a consultation and we’ll help you out.

PS. Read how we used social media advertising to increase a jewelry brand’s traffic by 400% and drive a 6X increase in revenue here

#5 Continually learn and optimize your social media eCommerce marketing strategy 

Social media is a constantly evolving landscape. Consumer behaviour on social media changes day-to-day too. So how consumers react to your content or your social media ad campaigns can change as well. Keep a tab on your performance, learn what works and what doesn’t and optimize your eCommerce marketing strategy on the go.

Want to make it easier to monitor your social media performance? Here’s a list of eCommerce analytics tools we recommend.

3. Omnichannel and cross-marketing is a must

Internet users are present on at least two social platforms and multiple chat apps. So if you’re relying on one social media platform or one marketing channel to reach your customers, you’re missing out on big opportunities to make more sales. This is where omnichannel and cross-channel eCommerce marketing will become of utmost importance in 2021.

Omnichannel eCommerce marketing refers to the approach of using multiple channels to reach your customers and offer them an integrated shopping experience. On the other hand cross-channel means using as many channels as possible to keep your customers engaged – like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and other platforms. So whether they’re on the desktop browsing through Facebook or on mobile and scrolling through Instagram, they get to experience your brand the same way.

Similarly, if they are interacting with your brand campaign via SMS or via email, the experience needs to hold strong. The stronger it is, the higher are the conversion rates as well as your retention rates.

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Here are some other statistics on the performance of campaigns when you focus on omnichannel marketing, from Invespcro:

  • Marketers using three or more channels for any campaign saw a 287% higher purchase rate
  • Businesses that use omnichannel eCommerce marketing strategies, see 91% higher customer engagement and retention
  • 87% of customers want brands to put in more effort into offering a seamless experience across all channels
  • Shoppers that come via omnichannel marketing campaigns have a 30% higher lifetime value

How do you get started with omnichannel and cross-channel eCommerce marketing?

#1 Lay the foundation for your team 

Most eCommerce businesses have multiple people involved in the marketing and sales of their products. Then there is also a customer success team that actively interacts with customers. While everything seems to be working well on the face of it, there’s a lot of data that is lost in transition. Data that could be used for better marketing campaigns. Data that could be used for better personalization of those campaigns.

For omnichannel marketing to work, marketers need data to enable them to send the most relevant messages to the right customers at the right time.

So the very first thing you need to do is get your team on board with the concept of omnichannel eCommerce marketing. You can’t have them work in silos.

A good idea here is to implement an integrated analytics platform and a CRM that gives all your teams access to data and actionables.

#2 Analyse your customer data and segment your shoppers to understand them better 

Alright, this is where you get to work. You ask all your teams to collate data and bring onto one dashboard. You then use this data to identify the different type of shoppers that come to your store, the most common purchase behaviour, purchase motivations, how the shoppers feel about the purchase they make and how that impacts your business.

Then segment your customers based on common parameters. For example, those who buy products at full-price, those who tend to wait for discounts, mobile shoppers, desktop shoppers and so on. Learn everything you can about your customers!

#3 Create targeted marketing messages and automate  

A big part of a successful omnichannel eCommerce marketing strategy is getting your targeting right and being able to personalize your campaigns.

Now that you have all your data in place and customer segments created, it’s time to create targeted marketing messages for each customer group. Make sure that you take note of the channels that each of the segments tends to use the most while interacting with your business and while making a purchase.

How you promote on email, for instance, could be very different from how you set up your Facebook marketing campaigns. The more segmented your list of customers is, the better is your level of personalization while marketing.

After this, you need to set up smart automations to be triggered as and when a customer performs a certain action, or interacts with you in a specific way via a marketing channel.

Pro tip: Get yourself an omnichannel marketing tool so that you can automate campaigns across different channels via one dashboard. 

#4 Analyse, test and optimize your eCommerce marketing strategy 

You’re handling multiple channels here. So you’ll have to actively need to test different messages, subject lines, timing, images and frequency of messages. Every time you run a campaign, you’ll learn something from it. Be sure to take note of your performance and optimize on the go by testing small changes in your campaigns.

Also continually ask for customer feedback on their shopping experience to know how successful you are at implementing the omnichannel marketing strategy.

4. You cannot do without smart retargeting and remarketing ads

As the number of channels to reach your customers’ increases, you need to ensure that you’re maximizing the spend you make to drive traffic to your store. Especially when you’re using an omnichannel eCommerce marketing strategy to grow your business. The reason being – more than 50% of online shoppers do not make a purchase on their first visit to a store. Converting them takes reminders and follow-ups that make them feel like they’re missing out on something good. That’s where retargeting ads come in.

retargeting ecommerce marketing statistics

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Retargeting and remarketing is basically an ad strategy that is designed to engage consumers who have interacted with your store site. It uses cookies to show these customers ads of products they visited on the site on social media platforms, search engines and other websites.

The goal of this eCommerce ad strategy is to continually keep your brand at the top of the consumer’s mind, encouraging them to return and complete the purchase.

Here are some other statistics that will prove to you the effectiveness of having retargeting ads in place:

  • The average click-through rate (CTR) for retargeted ads is 0.7% (while regular display ads get 0.07%)
  • Retargeting can increase your campaign conversion rates by almost 150%
  • 37% of consumers tend to click on retargeting ads because its a product they’ve previously shown interest in
  • Retargeted store visitors are 8 times cheaper to reach per click
  • Retargeting ads cost half of what search ads do

If you’re new to retargeting and remarketing, here are some guides that will help you get started:

5. Conversational commerce for shopper engagement and customer service

We’ve all endlessly spoken about automations across all marketing channels. But instead of a one-way conversation, what if we could actually talk to our subscribers and customers? What if we could understand what they’re looking for, what concerns them the most and offer a solution like a friend over chat?

Yes, we’re talking about conversational commerce because Americans alone spend 24 minutes per day on average on messaging apps. The rest of the world is no different.

Right from the Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp to even SMS businesses are now looking at conversational channels to engage their shoppers. This eCommerce strategy basically taps into the human psychology and need for staying connected with our network, and leverages smart automations as well as offline messaging to provide better customer service.

Take, for example, this scenario. You add a product to cart and move to checkout but abandon the purchase mid-way. If an eCommerce business has conversational commerce implemented, you’d get an automated message on your Facebook Messenger or on SMS – this is similar to abandoned cart recovery. But at the same time, as soon as you reply, you get to talk to either a chatbot that acts as a virtual assistant or a live agent that works on understanding your reason for leaving the purchase and then helps you complete it.

This year, brands that implemented conversational commerce, saw a 3x increase in conversions, better engagement and retention rates, and a clearly high NPS score on their customer service.

6. Growth of AI and machine learning in eCommerce marketing

About 22% of companies have already implemented AI in one form or another in their organization. eCommerce businesses too are joining the league, leveraging the technology to understand their customers better, optimize their marketing campaigns, personalize their on-site experience and drive more revenue.

AI in ecommerce marketing

Understanding your customers better

But from a marketing standpoint, we’re seeing artificial intelligence step into making it easier for eCommerce businesses to analyse their data. It will help them track on-site visitor behaviour, learn from their interactions and purchases, and help them use that data to predict their future or lifetime with the brand, and how they can increase it.

Be it by targeting similar customers with tailored messages, setting price points that they are more likely to convert on or coupons that they will definitely make use of.

Predict customer response to campaigns

AI is all set to also enable eCommerce marketers to dive deeper into customer data to make their future campaigns more efficient. It will give them the ability to test campaign graphics, ad copies, coupons for the ‘response’ they will get when the campaign is running. Emotion AI is already making waves in the Fortune 500 companies, where being able to predict the emotion and response of customers, companies were able to generate a 500% return on ad spends.

Dynamic personalized recommendations

Another use case of artificial intelligence will be giving eCommerce businesses the ability to personalize on-site shopping experiences. Consider it similar to how Amazon tailors their home page based on your previous interaction with the site with personalized product recommendations. These are powered by machine learning, the algorithm of which actively learns from the shopper’s journey on the website to present them with dynamic recommendations that change with their preferences.

What’s more? By integrating a marketing tool you can send these recommendations to customers on emails as well, making your campaigns convert more.

7. Video eCommerce marketing is here to stay

Did you know that about 85% of internet users consume video on a weekly basis? Guilty as charged!

In fact, statistics show that YouTube is now a leading online platform with a reach of 90% in the US alone. Followed by Facebook with 60%. And that only goes to say how the human mind wants to consume content in the form of videos more than ever.

Video content is a dynamic way for businesses to capture consumer attention, showcase their products’ value propositions and truly engage them. This holds applicable for both on-site product page optimization as well as marketing campaigns, BTW.

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Take, for instance, there are 2 brands marketing a lounge chair. One uses product images from all angles to give you a better perspective of its look and feel. The other one uses a video to do the same. Which one are you more likely to engage with?

Would you rather scroll through images or would you just hit the play button? We fall into the latter category.

Here are a few statistics to prove videos are worth the investment, from SmartInsights and Oberlo:

  • 85% of internet users enjoy watching videos to consume information/ content
  • 54% of consumers want to see more video content from brands
  • Consumers love watching videos on social media
  • 88% of eCommerce marketers are satisfied with the ROI
  • 8 out of 10 people have made a purchase after watching a video
  • People are going to spend 100 minutes a day watching videos in 2021
  • 99% of eCommerce marketers using videos will continue to do so in the coming years as well
  • 48% of consumers want videos to reflect what they’re interested in

If you’re just starting out with videos, here are a few resources to help you get started with video marketing:

8. eCommerce content marketing

Surprised we’re putting this on the list?

Well, one thing that 2020 definitely changed about consumers is the time they invest in reading up on a product before making a purchase. They want to be doubly sure it adds value to them; even if that means comparing products from different brands over weeks.

This is where eCommerce content marketing comes in.

Content marketing refers to using the tactic of educating the consumers about a problem and offering them a solution, without putting out a blatant sales pitch or a discount. The goal of this eCommerce marketing tactic is to educate them enough to be able to make an informed purchase.

While we’re already seeing a number of eCommerce businesses focusing on content marketing, here’s what we’re sure to see more of in 2021:

  • Blogs
  • How-to guides
  • Video content (covered above)
  • Lookbooks
  • Instagram reels
  • Instagram guides
  • Infographics
  • Micro-blogs in social media post captions
  • GIFs
  • Podcasts

Here are some statistics to support why we consider content marketing an eCommerce marketing trend of importance in 2021, from Optinmonster:

  • 72% of marketers say content marketing increases engagement
  • Video is trusted by 40% of millennials
  • 60% returning customer rate with video content marketing

Should you be following eCommerce marketing trends?

Consumer needs change all too often. The digital landscape is evolving every day. Trends change every week. And let’s not forget all those seasonal trends that come in too!

eCommerce marketing trends will continually change over time. But what you need to pay attention to are the ones that are going to remain for a long time, ones that are well within your resources and easily scalable. Ones that will get you the maximum ROI irrespective of what your spending power looks like.

In this article, we’ve only covered those trends that have evolved over the years and will become must-haves in the coming time.

We will continue to update this article as we stumble upon, try and test other eCommerce marketing trends at Motif. So, stay tuned!