Callum Campbell, CEO, Linnworks predictions for 2021

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In 2021, retail success is going to require brands finding ways to operate in the new “Effortless Economy” – a world where consumers expect seamless, fast ways to shop for and receive products says Callum Campbell, CEO at enterprise ecommerce automation company, Linnworks.

Naturally before the New Year there are challenges of Brexit and the Coronavirus to overcome, but with a vaccine already rolling out with the first dose administered to more than half a million people in the UK an end is in sight. Setting aside the medium term disruption from leaving the EU and the pandemic, what can brands, retailers and merchants consider to meet consumer expectations in 2021?

2021 Gets Personal with Direct-to-Consumer at its Core

More and more consumers are shopping from direct-to-consumer companies, and that number is only anticipated to rise in the coming years. Not only have brands realized the economic viability of direct-to-consumer business models as it offers a higher margin on their products, but it also enables greater control of customer relationships. With the growth of shopping channels and third-party fulfillment businesses handling the heavy lifting, we will see brands get back to the basics with D2C at the core of their business models in 2021.

The Rise of the Marketplace & its Role as the Digital Shopping Mall

Consumers are treating a scroll through an online marketplace as the modern-day equivalent of a trip to the mall. One by-product of the growth of D2C is that distributors and retailers alike have had to adapt and either develop their own brands or develop their own marketplaces. For example, retailers like Walmart have had to rethink their business model and open up their platform to new types of distribution. Marketplaces are now capturing 50% of online sales and consumers are four times more likely to shop on a marketplace than on a retailer’s website. Compelling offers combined with a frictionless customer experience means the number of marketplaces, and market share, will continue to grow exponentially.

Social Commerce Gets a(nother) Makeover

Individuals are consuming more media than ever before. It’s imperative that brands meet consumers at micro-moments wherever they’re at, at all times, and with a seamless end-to-end experience while doing so. With the proliferation and rapid adoption of social media, brands must optimize their social commerce experience to stay in line with this always-on mindset. In fact, in a recent study conducted by Linnworks, 97% of consumers said that, when given the option, they like the convenience of shopping directly within social media. In 2021, we’ll see brands further streamline their social commerce experience to include faster payment options and post-purchase communications, to name a few.

The Payments Pendulum: A New Frontier of Ecommerce

Buy now, pay later options — such as Klarna, Affirm, Sezzle and AfterPay — are taking the reins in ecommerce. Not only are consumers taking advantage of these solutions for everyday purchases, but we’re also beginning to see an appetite for online purchasing of larger items that people, traditionally, haven’t felt comfortable buying sight unseen. Personalized payments are a new area of focus in creating tailored shopping experiences, and failing to integrate modernized, flexible options will be make-or-break for consumers in 2021.
– Callum Campbell, CEO, Linnworks


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