With the shift to digital, developing a strong e-commerce strategy for your business is important now more than ever. Read for the latest trends that can inspire your business to improve your e-commerce strategy and position your business for long-term growth.

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift to e-commerce. The number of digital shoppers is surging worldwide and expected to increase from 1.92 billion in 2019 to a projected 2.14 billion in 2021: an increase of over 11% in just two years.1 

With more shoppers taking their business online, success in the post-pandemic era will mean adjusting your e-commerce strategy. To thrive, you’ll need to address the digital “new normal” and adopt new technologies to create a convenient, personalized and immersive experience for your customers. Read on to learn about the latest trends in e-commerce impacting small businesses and how you can use them to succeed online. 

1. Get your site mobile-ready

The days when you could optimize your site for desktop alone are gone. Because customers are now more likely to visit your site from a mobile device or tablet than a desktop, you need to create a great experience for them too.2 What’s more, a mobile-optimized site can help customers find you online, since Google prioritizes mobile-friendly sites in mobile search results.3

To start, build your site with a responsive theme with a streamlined design that will look great on any device or screen size. Avoid text-blocking ads or pop-ups that impede usability, and ensure buttons are large enough to work on mobile for easy navigation. Use small, web-optimized images to improve loading times and font size large enough to read on small screens – SEO expert Neil Patel recommends 14 pts or larger – to keep your mobile site user-friendly.4

You’ll also want to work regular mobile testing into your strategy. Take advantage of Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to identify and correct any issues to ensure it’s easy for users to visit your site using a mobile device.5

2. Create a personalized customer experience

You may not be able to greet online shoppers as you would in your store, but you can use on-site personalization to create a more customized customer experience. Personalization creates a unique experience for each customer based on their traits and behavior on your site. In short: personalization makes it easier for customers to find the products they want — so they’re more likely to buy.

Taking a tailored approach can pay off: 80% of customers say they want some kind of personalized experience.6 And personalization can boost sales conversions by 10 to 15% as well as increase customer satisfaction by 20%. When it comes to creating a customized experience, you’ve got plenty of options.

  • Provide personalized product recommendations and best-seller lists, for example, help customers discover products they’ll love.
  • Give shoppers the option to pick up where they left off
  • Add contextual pop-ups or messages based on visitor behavior to encourage sales conversions. 

Personalization has benefits for email marketing, too. Use personalized emails  –  for example, sending “abandoned cart” messages or discount codes – to entice visitors back to your site.  

3. Incorporate automated customer care

Staying connected with your customers is key to your success. But scaling up your business increases the need for customer service, so automated care is often part of a good e-commerce strategy. More than 6 in 10 customers prefer self-serve customer service options, whether it’s the ability to file a ticket on your website or chat with a representative online.7

Turn to help desk and ticketing software, live chat, and chat bots to help manage customer care online. Look for software that allows you to help customers across multiple channels – email, chat, social media, and more – to create a seamless customer experience that builds trust and loyalty in your brand. 

4. Add flexible real-time payment options

The pandemic didn’t just change how we shop, it also changed the way we pay. Since customers today seek a simplified checkout process, implementing real-time payment options should be a priority for your business.” Mobile wallet services, such as Google Pay and Apple Pay surged 46% in 2020.8 These payment solutions allow customers to store their credit card information in a virtual wallet, rather than having to enter their card details to check out. 

Mobile wallets address two significant roadblocks that cause customers to abandon their carts: convenience and security. They make checking out easier and faster: a bonus, since 18% of customers will abandon their cart if checkout is too long or complicated.9 They also help customers feel safe because they don’t need to provide their credit card information to retailers directly. Accepting mobile wallet payments may help the 17% of customers who abandon their carts because they don’t trust a site with their credit card information feel more comfortable shopping with you. 

Finding a partner with multiple payment solutions can help you reach more consumers. Santander’s Merchant Services allow multiple in-store, online and mobile payment options, including Apple Pay, so your customers can pay how they want — and they’ll keep coming back to you for convenience.

5. Grow with Buy Now, Pay Later options

Financial stress has caused many households to tighten their budgets. Including a Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) service allows consumers to pay for their purchases in instalments. This can help avoid sticker shock and make larger purchases more budget-friendly, so they’re more likely to come to you for big-ticket items.

As more customers flock to BNPL services – their use grew nearly 50% between July 2020 and March 2021 it’s increasingly a must-have for modern customer care. It may also help you drive more sales.10 One leading BNPL provider said it boosted their customers’ conversion rates by 20 to 30%, increased units per transaction by 50 to 200%, and reduced returns by 8 to 18%.11

6. Get “phygital” with augmented reality

As more customers shop online, merchants need to find new and creative ways to create an immersive customer experience. Phygital options, like augmented reality (AR), combine the best of both worlds: an engaging experience similar to one at a physical store delivered online. In other words, it helps online shopping not feel like online shopping, which can attract more customers.

AR can help consumers make buying decisions – for example, by “trying on” cosmetics or clothing, or seeing how housewares or paint colors might look in their space. And it can boost revenue: 71% of customers say they’d shop at a retailer more often if it offered AR, and 41% said they’d spend more.12

It’s also key in B2B. AR can help you showcase your offerings via 3D models or create product demos that highlight your value. Overall, 38% of business buyers said AR would shorten their decision cycle.13

The bottom line? Embrace technology to thrive in the new normal

The latest developments in e-commerce can help you meet customers’ needs, provide an immersive experience, and offer the convenience and speed modern customers crave.

When you’re ready to enhance your e-commerce strategy, we’re ready to help. Give your customers more convenient ways to pay by reaching out to Merchant Services. Contact your Relationship Banker or contact Santander Bank to discuss how you can better leverage e-commerce solutions for your business

1 Statista. Global number of digital buyers 2014-2021. July 7, 2021.

2 StatCounter, global stats. Desktop vs Mobile vs Tablet Market Share United States Of America.

3 Android Authority. Google is now prioritizing mobile sites to provide better results for mobile devices. December 18, 2017.

4 Niel Patel. Does Your Website Need a Mobile Makeover? 8 Mobile Optimization Tips To Improve Your Site’s UX. 

5 Mobile-Friendly Test. Is your web page mobile-friendly? 

6 McKinsey & Company. Personalizing the customer experience: Driving differentiation in retail. April 20, 2020.

7 Groove. 80 Customer Service Statistics: 8 Lessons to Fuel Growth in 2020 and Beyond.

8 Business Wire. Global Real-Time Payments Transactions Surge by 41 Percent in 2020 as COVID-19 Pandemic Accelerates Shift to Digital Payments – New ACI Worldwide Research Reveals. March 29, 2021.

9 Baymard Institute. 44 Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics. 

10 The Ascent. Study: Buy Now, Pay Later Services Continue Explosive Growth. 

11 Retail Dive. Q&A: Why a buy now, pay later payment option can increase sales and customer loyalty. August 10, 2020. 

12 Small Buisness Trends. Augmented Reality Will Bring Revenue Boost for Small Businesses, Data Says (INFOGRAPHIC). April 22, 2018. 

13 Showpad. The New B2B Buyer Experience Report. 

This article is intended for informational purposes only. Readers should consult their own financial advisers, attorneys or other tax advisors regarding any financial or tax strategies mentioned in this article.

  Equal Housing Lender. Santander Bank, N.A. is a Member FDIC and a wholly owned subsidiary of Banco Santander, S.A. ©2021 Santander Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Santander, Santander Bank, and the Flame Logo are trademarks of Banco Santander, S.A. or its subsidiaries in the United States or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.



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