In recent years, e-commerce has become bigger than ever. From independent entrepreneurs to small local businesses to major companies, everyone wants to sell products online. And with the growth of e-commerce, new trends have emerged.
But because of the abundance of such trends, it can sometimes be overwhelming when you try to keep up with everything. That's why you need a starting point to learn as much as you can about e-commerce to become better at it.
Hence, here are the seven e-commerce articles you need to read (whether you are new to e-commerce or you already have some experience).
#1 The State of The E-Commerce Industry in 2021
By far one of the best articles to start from is The State of The E-Commerce Industry in 2021 from Forbes. The article clearly lays out what has been going on in the e-commerce industry lately and explains which changes have happened in the recent past. Obviously, one of the biggest events was the pandemic which is still ongoing.
Precisely due to the pandemic, the e-commerce industry has seen a major increase in activity. Businesses were forced to close their stores and only operate online while customers were more than willing to order everything through the Internet instead of going to the store and risking getting sick.
And yet, despite the changes businesses made, many were losing revenue and some had to close temporarily or permanently.
Some of the key points the article goes on to explore include:
· Cross-Platforming: Businesses should have a website while also being present on multiple platforms if they want to reach their audience in such a competitive market.
· The Role of Data: E-commerce is dependent on data which makes customer profiling both easy (thanks to the availability of data) and difficult (due to privacy regulations).
· Purchase Journey: The traditional purchase journey that combined offline and online activity has changed and evolved.
· Grocery Delivery: Grocery delivery has become more common which creates opportunities for B2B companies that specialize in delivery services.
· Customer Health: While physical stores had to impose health-related regulations (e.g. wearing a face mask), online stores didn’t have to deal with this.
#2 The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce
Another valuable article is The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce from HubSpot. Though long, it’s one of the best and offers solid knowledge about most ecommerce topics.
The article is broken down into sections and subsections which will make it easier to understand and remember information. The main sections include:
1. Guide to Ecommerce: The first section discusses the benefits of e-commerce (to the buyer and to the seller) and major e-commerce trends.
2. Types of Ecommerce: The second section explores the different types of e-commerce, including business to business (B2B), business to consumer (B2C), and consumer to consumer (B2C). This section also covers the topic of sales taxes.
3. How to Start an Ecommerce Business: The third section is a basic rundown of how you can start your own e-commerce business in twelve steps.
4. Ecommerce Marketing Best Practices: The fourth section explains the most common e-commerce techniques related to everything from social media marketing to e-commerce software.
5. How to Increase Ecommerce Sales: The fifth section provides five specific and actionable tips you can use to increase your e-commerce sales.
6. Examples of Shopify Ecommerce Stores: The last section presents five different e-commerce stores hosted by Shopify that you can take inspiration from.
#3 How to Start an Ecommerce Business: Build, Launch, and Grow a Profitable Online Store
Speaking of Shopify, their article titled How to Start an Ecommerce Business: Build, Launch, and Grow a Profitable Online Store is a great read for anyone who wants to dive deeper into the practicalities of starting a business like this.
Theresa Sheppard, an expert from the writing services reviews site Writing Judge, explains, “If you are a beginner, having a well-developed plan is crucial, so it’s definitely important to find articles that can explain how to plan well.”
The article has five sections that cover every stage of launching an e-commerce business. There are also numerous links to additional resources included throughout the article. Here’s what the article covers:
1. Choosing A Product: This includes finding a product to sell, evaluating your idea, and obtaining your product.
2. Research and Prepare: This covers researching your competition and writing a business plan.
3. Setting Up Your Business: About naming your business, creating a logo, understanding SEO, building your store, and choosing your sales channels.
4. Preparing to Launch: Explains determining your shipping strategy, defining your key performance indicators, and going through your final checklist.
5. Post Launch: This includes acquiring your first customer and marketing your store.
#4 Ecommerce Trends That Are Powering Online Retail Forward
Once you understand the industry itself and how to set up your own e-commerce business, it’s a good idea to continue researching the field. The more you know about the market, the better.
That’s why Ecommerce Trends That Are Powering Online Retail Forward from Big Commerce is such an important article to check out.
The article focuses on fourteen important trends currently dominating the e-commerce sphere, including:
1. The use of Augmented Reality to enhance online shopping experiences
2. The growing volume of voice search, especially from mobile devices
3. Artificial Intelligence and how it is used to learn more about shoppers
4. On-site personalization using AI insights to create individualized experiences
5. The focus on big data which allows businesses to increase personalization
6. Chatbots providing customer support and enhancing shopping experiences
7. The continued growth of mobile shopping and how it impacts e-commerce
8. The introduction of new methods of payment for increased convenience
9. More innovation with the help of headless and API-driven e-commerce
10. The appeal of video content and the response of digital shoppers to it
11. The power of subscriptions and how they help businesses retain customers
12. The prominence of sustainability as more than just a trend among brands
13. Digital strategy optimization as a means to increase conversion rates
14. The ever-growing nature of B2B e-commerce and how it continues changing
#5 The New Balance Between E-Commerce and In-Store Shopping
To learn even more about e-commerce, it’s important to look outside of it and see the bigger picture. This is why you should definitely check out another one of Forbes’ articles titled The New Balance Between E-Commerce and In-Store Shopping.
Alex Spooner, an expert from the custom writing reviews site Best Writers Online, says, “While e-commerce has gained more power recently, it’s still fairly balanced with in-store shopping, and that’s crucial.”
Forbes’ article explores this unusual balance that we now see between e-commerce and regular commerce. The points it covers include:
· In-store shoppers are being less forgiving than before as they have already experienced the increased convenience of online shopping.
· Physical stores have to provide special and unforgettable experiences to their customers that can’t be replicated online.
· Online shoppers will continue appreciating the changes the pandemic has brought about and how it changed commerce and e-commerce.
· The combination of e-commerce and in-store shopping is more natural.
#6 How E-Commerce Fits into Retail’s Post-Pandemic Future
This Harvard Business Review piece expounds on the points made by the Forbes one.
It’s a great read, especially for e-commerce business owners and entrepreneurs who want to understand how their approach to e-commerce can define their strategy and the success of their business.
For instance, one of the most important arguments the article makes is that e-commerce businesses need to focus on consumer experience rather than investments or other things.
Customer experience has to be the primary focus of any and every e-commerce business as this is precisely what makes such businesses competitive and able to stand out from the crowd of brands just like theirs.
Delivery is also a major element of this. Businesses need to realize that attracting customers online is just one side of their success while the other side is how they get their products to their customers. And that’s exactly why e-commerce stores need to pay special attention to their delivery methods and quality.
#7 E-Commerce Worldwide – Statistics & Facts
Last but not least, to get a complete ‘picture in numbers’ sense of what e-commerce is like on a global scale, it’s worth checking out Statista’s page E-Commerce Worldwide – Statistics & Facts.
The page consists of different sections that all have their own statistics and insights:
· Overview: The introduction has some statistics on global e-commerce sales, differences by country, and buyer penetration.
· Benchmark: The section discusses market leaders in e-commerce, including online service companies and marketplaces.
· Shopping Traffic and Sessions: This part focuses on e-commerce statistics (conversions, website sessions, purchases) and the role mobile traffic plays in them.
· Shopping Behavior: The section explains the nuances of the customer journey in the context of e-commerce.
· Digital Payments: This part focuses on digital payment options offered in e-commerce.
· Spotlight: Impact of COVID-19: The concluding part emphasizes the impact the pandemic has had on the industry and beyond it.
The world of e-commerce is vast and ever-changing. It can be difficult to keep up with everything, but the articles listed above are a quick way to get a broad lay of the land.
By Rossana Yoder. Rossana is a professional content writer, copywriter, content strategist and communications consultant.