Explore the state of digital retail and the trends that will likely shape 2021.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping was already trending hot.

Once the pandemic hit U.S. territory, online sales began setting new records that no one was anticipating. According to the U.S. Census Bureau News, ecommerce sharply increased by 31.8% in Q2 2020 compared to Q1 2020.

In contrast, retail sales fell by nearly 4% in Q2, compared to Q1. 

census bureau 2020 retail ecommerce sales graph

As brick-and-mortar stores temporarily shuttered, and shoppers were wary of venturing out in public, ecommerce merchants enjoyed more time in the spotlight in 2020. More people were working from home and spending more time indoors, which created a major shift in the types and quantities of items purchased. 

Many online retailers saw their stores—and their sales—transform seemingly overnight as they sought to expand product lines to accommodate current needs, beef up their inventory, and turn new business into loyal customers. 

However, the surge in online sales due to COVID hasn’t been all roses for e-tailers—even well-established ones. 

Here’s a look back at some of the top ecommerce trends of 2020 that were influenced by COVID and what we’re likely to see going into the holiday season, and 2021.

 

E-Marketplaces Like Amazon Are King

 

When many consumers started emptying store shelves in early March, marketplaces like Amazon became the new hot spots for go-to essentials. 

One of the biggest impacts was the rise in grocery purchases, of which online sales accounted for just 2% of the category. Fast forward through March and April when grocery purchases on Amazon and Walmart had increased by 91% and 46% compared to February, respectively. Even July saw an increase of an impressive 65%, proving the practice has had a lasting impact on consumers.  

Marketplaces like Amazon have built a reputation as a go-to for just about everything and have become easy favorites for consumers. They’re not only popular—they also lead in customer satisfaction, which bodes well for explosive online shopping trends to continue.

 

Marketplace Sellers are Diversifying How They Sell

 

Merchants aren’t just diversifying what they sell but also how they sell it. This year, we’ve seen a massive diversification among retailers to include the Buy-Online-Pickup-In-Store (BOPIS) model, largely to help limit customers’ time in-store. 

Before the pandemic, the BOPIS model was already gaining steam. Close to 70% of consumers surveyed said they had used a BOPIS option. What was once considered a convenience has become a necessity for shoppers and merchants alike. 

A similar strategy can be adapted by marketplace sellers: Diversify, diversify, diversify! At SellerActive, we encourage seasoned sellers and those who are just getting started to sell across multiple marketplaces. 

Along with Amazon, SellerActive can transition your product catalog to places like Walmart or eBay. Most sellers struggle with inventory and how to manage each unique marketplace directly, but our platform helps maintain inventory across all marketplaces and websites, gather all orders to a single location, and seamlessly list and manage your products.

Marketplaces also have certain restrictions and approval processes pertaining to the selling of specific items, and SellerActive can help guide sellers through all of this and ensure success for them. 

For example, if your business is looking to sell face masks online, it’s imperative to understand any healthcare regulations that coincide with offering that product for sale. Working with SellerActive will help guarantee your business is both compliant, and fully enabled for profit on any of the marketplaces you choose to sell through.

 

A Newfound Appreciation for Online Shopping (And All Its Perks)

 

The phrase “new normal” has taken on many meanings during the pandemic, and it certainly applies to the way people shop. Shoppers are not only demonstrating a new appreciation for online shopping but also a new dependence on it across nearly all categories, including Beauty and Personal Care (up 46% in July compared to February), Electronics (up 35% in July compared to February), and Home and Kitchen (up 21% in July compared to February).

ecommerce shopping catogory trends blog image

The reluctance to visit stores in-person continues to linger. One survey by Morning Consult found that 24% of shoppers would not feel comfortable shopping in a mall for more than six months. Consumers are leaving home less often, and when they do, it’s usually for essentials only. Granted, these trends are temporary, but the newfound reliance on digital shopping channels likely isn’t.

 

How SellerActive Is Catering to New Marketplace Shopping Trends

 

Whether you have your own ecommerce website or a brick-and-mortar store, there’s never been a better time to expand your services to multiple online marketplaces such as Amazon or Walmart.

Recent online sales trends have been steady and strong, consumers know and trust these channels, and it allows you to get in front of new buyers that can turn into loyal fans. 

SellerActive is on your side. The first hurdle a new seller encounters is navigating the requirements to be able to sell on Amazon.

SellerActive provides new clients with a direct contact inside Amazon to be their Account Manager for that calendar year. They’ll be able to help guide sellers through the headache of meeting Amazon requirements, giving you an early competitive advantage. 

Discover more about how SellerActive can help you take advantage of an active online market by requesting a free demo, below.