Top Five E-Commerce Technology Trends To Watch In 2021

In 2020, the fashion retail industry discovered the many advantages of ecommerce, with those who under invested falling short. As physical retail stores continue to close as a result of both the pandemic and the last five years’ “death of the high street” trend, Streamoid takes a look at what fashion retailers should be considering in technical development for 2021. 

1. Augmented and Virtual Reality

While the continuing growth of both of these technologies isn’t surprising, their rate of growth has accelerated this year as shoppers have been unable to try on clothes in store. They have therefore been looking for alternative means to experience these items in their own homes before purchasing them. 

Photo: Amazon

One of the best examples of this is Asos, that launched an experimental new augmented reality feature on its app, called Virtual Catwalk, aiming to offer customers a new way of viewing its products in real life. Amazon is also in the process of developing a virtual fitting room app which will no doubt become part of their Luxury Stores experience over the coming year.

As the rise of virtual events has added to the growth of virtual garments, items are being tailored to consumers' photos for these events and related social media.

2. Personalization at scale through AI

As online traffic grows, the demand for more experiential online services increases within fashion ecommerce. For large retailers who need it done at scale, this is a problem that only AI can solve.

Giving static outfit and product recommendations has become an outdated approach, especially as items have varying stock levels and trends are changing constantly. 

Generating quality recommendations in real time and making them unique to a user based on their history will be widely adopted by large retailers in 2021. It may not stop at recommendations though, users will start to see wildly different sites in terms of imagery and product ordering from others as AI is adopted throughout the buying process.

For more information on how you can implement personalization technology, read more here.

3. Sustainability filters

While the pandemic was at the forefront of everyone's mind in 2020, sustainability joined the mainstream.

Fashion search engine Lyst has seen searches with sustainability-related keywords increase 75% this year, recording an average of 27,000 searches for sustainable fashion every month.

This was amplified by substantial public backlash against fast fashion companies such as Boohoo, upon the exposure of their faulty supply chains.  

Photo: CIERRA MILLER/STYLECASTER

From a technological standpoint, forward thinking retailers are starting to add non physical attributes for filtering into their product listings. Farfetch, in particular, now allows filtering items that are “sustainably conscious”. 

The trend of adding other non-physical attributes such as sustainability criteria to products can be incorporated easily with Streamoid’s automated cataloging solution, AutoScribe.

4. Voice

As fashion marketplaces continue to grow in size, shoppers are looking for alternative methods to search catalogs. In the past, visual search revolutionized traditional search, and with the growth of mobile, voice search is set to increase in popularity. 

It means that consumers may start to shop using voice assistants, and with that expansion, retailers will not want to be left behind. Preparing an ecommerce platform to adapt to this change would then be crucial. While this may not be a trend for luxury brands, “essentials shopping” for items like socks, underwear or basic t-shirts will likely become ever more popular with voice search, due to its comparative ease.

5. Social Shopping

User generated content (UGC) has been gaining popularity as Instagram and Pinterest have rolled out shopping sections on their main pages. The trend started with Rent The Runway using social media and user generated content in its reviews in order to provide social proof for users. However, this feature is now mainstream and is being used by traditional retailers to leverage UGC, including our client, Forever 21 India.

Latest shopping features on Instagram and Pinterest
In fact, 54% of shoppers today use social media to research products. Showcasing other shoppers wearing the product on both the brand social media channels and the ecommerce website has enabled retailers to become more transparent with their customers. It is noted that UGC could result in a 45% increase in revenue per visit and 31% conversion rate increase.

To find out more on how to integrate social shopping into your site, read our latest article on social shopping.

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Authored by Callum Bramley, European Sales Representative at Streamoid.

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