Trends that will shape brands in 2021

2020 was the year of accelerated change and there’s no sign of it slowing down. We’ve seen businesses revolutionise online, a shift in consumer behaviour and innovative technologies enhancing the user experience.

After going through a time of huge disruption, it’s never been more important to stay agile. As we emerge on the other side, it’s vital to understand what to expect. That’s why we’ve put together the top trends that will shape brands in 2021.

AR for eCommerce

In the past, Augmented Reality (AR) has been seen as another shiny tech gimmick with an underwhelming amount of selling power. Maybe because we had no real need to use the technology to its full potential. Until now…

2021 will see this trend fully take off and become mainstream due to the restrictions of physical browsing. Our Digital Design Director had this to say about what’s to come:

“I’m really excited about the possibility of AR taking off in the eCommerce space. We’ve seen IKEA use this technology for customers to “try out” furniture in their homes without having to leave the house. With the pandemic customers cannot rely on visiting retail spaces in person, so AR really can support sales via eCommerce channels here.

It’s a technology with a myriad of applications in the home furnishing, fashion and optician sectors (and many many more). With the arrival of the iPhone 12 in 2020, the technology to deliver advanced AR client-side with accurate measurements has reached the mass market, and I’m expecting brands to really exploit the possibilities in 2021 and beyond.”

You heard it here first!

Multichannel influencer marketing

Influencers are far from new but their skill set in producing high-quality, reactive content has shone through during the pandemic. They are WFH professionals and have been for years.

This year, influencer marketing shouldn’t be only narrowed to social media channels. Micro and nano influencers have the highest engagement rates and offer great results for businesses cross-channels. Brands are now utilising influencers in their own multichannel marketing campaigns. Think website, online store, email marketing – basically any touchpoint can be elevated with influencer creative.

Social Commerce

Gone are the days of social media being simply a way to communicate with friends or a place to escape, it’s now a major retail channel too. The reason why this will continue to snowball in 2021 is that the creativity behind social commerce brings back some of that experience of browsing a physical store that many people are longing for.

Facebook Shops are customisable, messaging apps offer real-time customer support and visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram work as an online wardrobe. This year, it’s about unlocking the full potential of social platforms by creating a seamless shopping experience in-app.

Online events and live stream

There may have been some teething problems at the start of the webinar boom. Take a shot everytime someone says “you’re on mute”. But the online events and live streams that started out of necessity are here to stay because of ROI and accessibility.

In 2021 and beyond, this trend will continue to be a popular route to engage with with a broad set of customers. It’s a great strategy to increase reach and connect remote audiences and we’ll start to see the technology evolve from virtual events to hybrid events.

Brands with a social purpose

The pandemic and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has opened the eyes of the consumer and there’s been a notable shift in mindset. 21% of Raconteur readers had stopped shopping from certain brands due to how they responded to the pandemic (13% stopped shopping at Amazon).

Nike released a powerful campaign to encourage people to be part of the change and work to resolve the issue of institutionalised racism. “Don’t do it” inverts the brand’s tagline and urges: “Don’t sit back and be silent.”

We’re now demanding better from brands and this will only become stronger in 2021.  There needs to be reassurance that the brands we choose to support are campaigning for good causes.

Do you see yourself as an early adopter? Or even if you’re a bit of a tech dinosaur (no judgement). Get in touch to find out how your brand can stay ahead of the curve.

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