Digital eCommerce Marketing Trends to Watch Out for in 2021

Post by
Estefania Millan
Digital eCommerce Marketing Trends to Watch Out for in 2021

We’re almost halfway through 2021 - and it's time for a refresher on the latest marketing trends and how you can leverage them to ensure your business can stay relevant online. We’ve compiled a list of the three most relevant trends and how your e-commerce business can start implementing them today.

  1. Adapt your marketing campaign to deal with Apple’s recent iOS update
  2. Rethink Influencer marketing by working with “organic” influencers
  3. Humanize online shopping with Livestream Shopping

Privacy changes to iOS and Facebook Ads

Apple’s latest iOS 14.5 update has marketers worried about how it will impact advertising moving forward. The new update introduced App Tracking Transparency which protects users’ privacy and allows them to opt-out of Apple’s IDFA information tracking. Although, yes, this is a step forward for online transparency and giving individuals a say in their privacy rights, it creates a big hurdle for marketers and small businesses which are used to using Facebook Ads to run highly targeted ads.

Early data suggests that - "unsurprisingly, when prompted, the majority of users (99%) choose not to allow tracking." The impact caused by the latest iOS update can already be seen and will only continue to affect businesses around the world. This will likely cause Facebook advertising costs to increase and adversely impact key metrics for e-commerce businesses such as conversion rates and cost per acquisition.

The best thing to do is to prepare early and start adopting different advertising strategies to overcome the information gap caused by the iOS 14.5 update. Tenko Games CEO believes "people are going to have to reinvent how they do the job of marketing -- well, not reinvent but go back to where it was 10 years ago." Not sure how this will be possible? Here is a list of a few ways your business can continue advertising despite the changes to iOS data tracking. 

iOS 14, The IDFA and The Future of Mobile Attribution - Yodel Mobile
App Store example of iOS 14.5 privacy policy prompts via Business of Apps

How to adapt your online advertising to iOS 14.5 changes

  1. Target Android Users Only: Can't effectively target iPhone user’s data? No problem, stick to Android users. This is the most straightforward and simplistic solution since Android users will still represent a considerable chunk of your customers. The downside is that you will be limiting yourself to a specific segment which might not be an accurate representation of your audience. 
  1. Verify Your Domain and Enable the Conversions API: This is an option if you wish to continue using your Facebook Ads account. By verifying your domain you will ensure that the data collected by your pixels is accurately transferred to Facebook. Then, using Conversions API you can track user’s visits and actions directly on your website’s server. Since this doesn't require cookies, there will be fewer limitations for data collection.
  1. Independently Track Website Traffic: Instead of using Facebook to monitor conversions, track your own data. Use your website platform’s tracking system (such as Google Analytics) to collect relevant data on visitors, their behaviour, and where they're coming from. Besides conversions, you can also track the traffic your ads generate directly through the website.
  1. Focus on Classic Digital Marketing Strategies like SMS or Email Marketing: Now is the time to leverage your SMS and email marketing lists. Track conversions, offer discounts, and most importantly create content your customers are genuinely interested in. Build a community with existing customers and transform potential buyers into a cohesive  community.

For more strategies about how to deal with Apple’s iOS update check out this fantastic guide by the Social Media Examiner.

Using “Organic” Influencers

In recent years influencer marketing has gained popularity and has become part of a mainstream digital marketing strategy. According to Instagram, “87% of people say influencers have inspired them to make a purchase.” More importantly, influencer marketing continued strongly during the surge in online shopping during the pandemic - “96% of US and UK consumers who followed influencers were engaging with them more or to the same extent as before the coronavirus outbreak.”

Although at first glance, it’s a more authentic way to sell in comparison to using paid actors, over time, it has become too widespread, replicated, and often felt unauthentic. People nowadays value honesty and transparency - especially while shopping online, something which many traditional influencers lack. We’re not saying you should stop using influencer marketing, instead, change your strategy and shift towards using “organic” influencers.

What are organic influencers? These are individuals who are genuinely interested in your product - they may even already be  brand advocates on their own. They are passionate about your brand and will create content about your products with that same level of excitement. It's a very successful technique as it combines celebrity endorsements, marketing, and word of mouth, making it an overall well-rounded technique to increase sales. In this case, it's not about follower count, genuine brand advocates can have around 5,000 - 10,000 followers and make a meaningful impact for your brand.

Grace Atwood x Dunkin' Donuts

As her followers know, Grace Atwood loves everything from reading books to design and - most importantly - Dunkin' Donuts! After years of posting organic, non-sponsored Dunkin' Donuts content, they reached out to have the perfect sponsorship (check out those Dunkin’ pants!).

How To Find Organic Influencers

1. Define Goals: Decide whether increasing your followers or increasing your sales is more important for this marketing campaign and do your best to focus on a single primary metric. 

2. Find Brand Advocates: You can find organic influencers by looking at your tagged pictures and mentions. Since this can be a bit tedious, you can also use social listening tools to find influencers who have mentioned your brand online.

3. Build a Connection: Connect with these individuals online and start following their channels and the type of content they create. This will help you determine if it will be a right fit for your brand. 

4. Make the First Move: Reach out to the individual and propose a sponsorship. Remember this has to be a mutually beneficial relationship, so offering products is a good way to start. More importantly, make sure the partnership is something they are interested in, if not, there will be no passion behind it. 

5. Encourage Creative Freedom: Give your influencer the opportunity to express themselves and naturally convey their passion for your brand. Of course, don't forget to share your brand guidelines and any other information which might restrict the content they can create. 

For more details on launching an organic influencer campaign, check out this great guide by Traackr.

Livestream Shopping

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many retailers were forced to pivot a large portion of their business online. The growth of e-commerce has been staggering between 2019 and 2021, with the share of sales made online growing from 13.6% to 19.5% (that’s a 45.8% increase in two years!).

Although e-commerce has allowed businesses to stay open and generate revenue during this time, it has also taken away the personalized “human” shopping experience. It is harder to engage with customers, make recommendations, and cross-sell items online compared to working with a sales associate in a retail store. Livestream shopping (aka, live shopping) reintroduces personalized, in-store experiences into online shopping.

Live shopping allows retailers to broadcast video directly to their customers while also driving traffic to their stores. Shopping livestreams are perfect to introduce new collections, share timeless pieces, answer customer questions, and talk a bit more about the brand and its values. Live shopping adoption and growth has also been quite astonishing in 2020 and 2021

  • Instagram Live viewership jumped by 70%
  • Taobao Live, the live shopping solution of a major e-commerce platform in China, saw a 100% increase in sales compared to the previous year
  • NTWRK, a live shopping mobile app selling limited edition products, saw sales increase by 400%
Livestreaming via Pexels

How To Start Live Shopping

1. Explore Live Shopping Solutions: research which live shopping applications are best suited for your brand, budget, use case, and - most importantly - your existing e-commerce platform. We’re a bit biased but we definitely think you should check out Shop Studio Live and our 14-day free trial.

2. Plan and Promote a Live Shopping Event: Choose when you’d like to host your event and the products you want to feature. Then, announce the upcoming live shopping event on your website and social media to build hype with your loyal customers.

3. Ready. Set. Go LIVE: Get your setup ready - consider your environment, lighting, background noise, and appearance. When you’re set, use your live shopping application to go LIVE and start broadcasting. If you’re using Shop Studio Live, it’s as easy as scanning a QR code with your streaming device - your smartphone should be just fine - and clicking on “Go LIVE.”

E-commerce Trends in 2021

Times change and so do marketing trends. Stay ahead of your competitors by implementing these three strategies and boosting your online presence. Not only will your marketing campaigns be ahead of data privacy regulations, you will also have organic, authentic, and personalized content for your customers. 


  • Adapt your marketing campaign to deal with Apple’s recent iOS update
  • Rethink Influencer marketing by working with “organic” influencers
  • Humanize online shopping with Livestream Shopping

And if you’re interested in learning more about live shopping - sign up for our 14-day free trial to start live streaming! 

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