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After a record-breaking year for digital retail, brands need to accelerate their e-commerce offerings, keep the customer experience in mind and embrace the shift to digital retail by offering an omnichannel customer journey. Only then will they survive what’s in store for the future of e-commerce.

Customers have higher expectations than ever when it comes to online shopping. According to PWC, 73% of people believe customer experience to be an important factor in their purchasing decisions. Free shipping, fast delivery, variety of payment options and exceptional customer service are just some of the offerings consumers expect, which can mean smaller brands who don’t provide these things can lose out.

However, there is also a trend toward people shopping with smaller businesses since the onset of COVID-19, meaning some shoppers are willing to pay more for items from small or local businesses. A survey of over 1,600 Americans by Red Egg Marketing found that more than 82% of shoppers would rather support a local business than a large corporation, with eight in 10 saying they’d spend more money if it were going to a local shop.

With consumers having very little spare time these days, there’s also a real nod toward convenience, with 66% of consumers choosing a retailer based on convenience, compared to 47% going by price or value, according to Catalyst/Kantar.

The 2020 shift to e-commerce will grow even more in the coming year. With people shopping online more than ever before, and a new group of consumers joining the online retail space, it’s become increasingly important for brands to connect their sales channels and embrace e-commerce.

That means merchants and their partners need to stress the consumer shift to online shopping, acceleration of digital transformation, the power of social commerce, the rise of voice search and overall higher customer expectations.

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