What are the most prominent trends and challenges in e-commerce in 2021, and how Saleor can help you address them?

October 28, 2021

Trends & Insights

Olga Wałkuska

9 min

What are the most prominent trends and challenges in e-commerce in 2021, and how Saleor can help you address them?

As much as everyone is tired of this topic, it’s impossible to write about e-commerce in 2021 without mentioning the coronavirus. So let’s get to the point, the pandemic proved beyond any doubt that e-commerce is no longer merely a negligible addition to the central business. The events of 2020 sped up processes that were already taking place and forced even the most skeptical clients to shop online.

In this post, we’re going to focus on the state of e-commerce in 2021 and the most significant challenges it’s facing, but we will also have a quick glance at the processes that have been shaping it.

E-commerce Expansion

In 2021 it’s claimed there will be 2.14 billion people shopping online. That’s more than 25% of the total Earth’s population. Quite a cake to share, isn’t it?

It’s difficult to have an exact number, but it’s estimated that there are already between 12-24 million online shops in 2021. It seems that the market is enormous, but the competition is fierce as well.

There are two takeaways:

  1. If you don’t have your online shop yet, you’d better get one up and running as fast as possible because you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities.
  2. Suppose you do have an online shop. Great! Now you need to make sure to stand out from the crowd and beat your competition.

No matter which one is your case, from this text, you will learn how to use Saleor to take advantage of the explosion of e-commerce. But first, we’d like to say a few words about the phenomenon that is crucial for understanding the processes taking place at the moment - digital transformation.

It’s not only the theory. Knowing about customer experience is vital for any digital business owner.

Digital Transformation

Digital transformation was a buzzword closely tied to the e-commerce market since the very beginning of both. As funny as it seems, one might sometimes get the impression that people use the term even though they are not sure what it means and, what’s even more important, what it entails. Don’t worry. We won’t leave those questions unanswered.

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation in its mature form means integrating technology into business processes to create a new kind of experience both inside and outside the company. This might sound like something easy and obvious, but it turns out to be quite a challenge. Why? Because digital transformation is not about giving people new digital tools and calling it a day. It’s mostly about influencing and improving the way things are done. And its ultimate goal is the end-user, or in the case of e-commerce customer, satisfaction.

When it comes to online trading - digital transformation is not about adding an e-shop to the portfolio. It’s about fully integrating the digital into the business model, ideally, with the enthusiastic team on board. Every leader knows that when you put things this way, digital transformation reveals its challenging nature.

Nevertheless, it cannot be skipped. Customers are growing more and more accustomed to being the center of the business. So let’s have a look at the impact of digital transformation on the e-commerce market.

The Impact of Digital Transformation on the E-commerce Market

Long ago, there was a time where all the online shop needed to have were half-decent product descriptions and the secure checkout. In fact, some brands even tried to get by without the integration with a payment provider (wire transfer for the win). But those days are long gone. Unless what you offer cannot be found anywhere else, customers are not willing to put effort into shopping online. Investing in customer experience (CX) is a must for every modern digital business.

According to this study, 97% of customers claimed they abandoned their cart because finalizing the purchase was inconvenient. It seems that this CX is indeed something to worry about. But check-out convenience is not the only way you can influence your customers: personalization, multi-channel experience, and payment integrations are all factors you can improve to increase your conversion.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be either time-consuming or costly. Modern e-commerce solutions are built with all of the above in mind.

Let Them Find Your Business

Modern e-commerce may be (is, and should be) all about providing exceptional customer experience, but first, you need customers to find your business. What are the sources of traffic in e-commerce?

  • organic search
  • social media
  • affiliate programs
  • paid search results
  • advertising
  • e-mail marketing.

Sure, having a good ad campaign doesn’t hurt, but it requires a significant amount of money. And it’s only effective as long as you keep paying for it. Investing in SEO is a long-time strategy, but it gives lasting results. Moreover, organic search is one of the four most significant sources of traffic.

When it comes to this factor, does the choice of an e-commerce platform influence the search results? The answer is not straightforward, but Google prefers a static frontend layer and mobile optimization. Both are covered in Saleor. Additionally, you can tweak all other parts of the website essential for SEO like URLs, metatags, and Open Graph to achieve even better results.

Multi-channel experience

In 2012 Google published research showing that 90% of multiple device owners switch screens during the day. There are no newer studies, but we are guessing it’s because the number now would be 100%. What does it mean for e-commerce? It means your solutions must be suitable for all kinds of devices to allow for smooth transitions between them.

Fortunately, there is a clear upside to this. Multichannel customers tend to spend significantly more once they decide to make a purchase. When setting up your online shop, make sure it fosters an omnichannel experience. Allow customers to find your brand via search engines, traditional marketing, and last but not least social media. Rest assured that Saleor will provide the best experience for every customer no matter where they come from. Its support for PWA guarantees that Saleor-based e-commerce solutions look good on every device.

Invaluable Word of Mouth Marketing

There is one more thing that’s worth knowing about those omnichannel customers. They tend to research their shopping decisions. They check product descriptions, social media, but they ultimately rely on the opinions of other users. Surveys show that 84% of online shoppers trust online reviews the same way they trust their friends’ recommendations. Saleor lets you integrate with TrustPilot to make your happy customers advocate for you.

Distractions and Conversion

On one hand, the habit of switching between screens during one action means your brand has more opportunities to influence the user. That’s a good thing. On the other hand, though, the customer might be distracted before they finalize the purchase. Let’s say someone was shopping and decided to look up the product on social media one last time. It would not be uncommon for them to switch their attention to socials and abandon the cart altogether. Are there any ways to proactively deal with such situations?

Well, you can always bomb such users with more targeted ads on social media, but this strategy is expensive and might scare some customers away. Letting the user make the purchase at some more convenient time by saving their cart is a basic and helpful solution. But Saleor comes with something even better. Apart from basket memory, it comes with built-in notifications feature. This way, you can remind your customers about the purchase they were decided to make in an elegant way.


In modern e-commerce, personalization is no longer a nice-to-have feature. 71% of customers are disappointed when the site is not personalized for their needs. And 44% say they are more likely to buy again from the vendor that takes their preferences into account. We are sorry, but the time of “one site fits all” is over. Saleor is a headless solution, meaning that it provides a top-notch and comprehensive e-commerce backend. Saleor is your workhorse taking care of all the e-commerce duties - inventory, payments, etc.

The shiny part - the frontend is entirely on your side. You can make every pixel in your e-commerce solution look the way you want. You can show off your brand personality through the unique design and allow all kinds of personalization services for your end-users.

Saleor is here to make sure that whatever your business looks like on the outside, it’s 100% reliable and secure on the inside. Saleor has your back(end).

Payments and Security

The population of people over 60 is the fastest-growing one. And while they are not digital natives, the pandemic and the convenience of e-commerce helped them tame their natural reserve towards spending money online. However, the security of mobile payments and the possibility of identity theft are the top fears when it comes to using the digital marketplace.

How can Saleor help you instill a sense of security in your customers? There are two issues that need to be discussed here.

Integrations with Payment Providers

Saleor offers integrations with three trusted payment providers:

Braintree can be used for PayPal and credit cards payments. Stripe supports credit cards, and Razorpay is a special partner for India-based users. All of those companies are known to be secure and trustworthy. Clients are likely to recognize their brands, feeling confident that they give their payment details to trusted providers.

An additional bonus is that all of them constantly work on improving their solutions for maximum speed and convenience that can be achieved without compromising safety. Quicker checkout - happier customers.


Being a headless solution, Saleor only communicates with the frontend via an API. This means that no crucial info is stored in the frontend layer, and thus cannot be easily exposed.


E-commerce made cross-border shopping incredibly easy. The data from Statista shows that in 2022 cross-border shopping will constitute 22% of the entire e-commerce market. While it’s obvious that product-market fit will be different for every market, there is one thing most of the customers seem to have in common. They love shopping in their native language. 65% of customers claim they prefer website content in their native language. What’s more, the stunning 40% say they won’t buy from a website that’s in a foreign language. Interestingly enough, the same research shows that language does not have to be perfect. Machine translation should do the trick.

If you decide to go international with your business, Saleor supports over 30 languages. You can make your business available all over the world.

Inventory Management

Keeping your customers happy via personalization, branding, and internationalization is just one part of running an online business. Another crucial aspect is keeping track of your stock. This is especially important for hybrid companies selling goods both online and offline. And since the trend for buying online pick-up in-store is gaining prominence, making sure that your inventory is always up to date grows to be one of the biggest challenges.

There is no better way to turn your customers away than cancel their order because their purchase suddenly goes out of stock. We guess you probably know it even better than we do. Anyway, Saleor comes with a comprehensive inventory management module. It can not only help you make sure you know what you’re selling but also create products groups and categories for personalization or marketing purposes.


At the beginning of the third decade of the twenty-first century, the e-commerce market is beginning to reach maturity. The focus is now on providing an exceptional customer experience, going international, and integrating the digital with the analog. All of those have to be done without compromising security. Saleor gives you a complete backend that can be adjusted to fit any e-Commerce business. It takes care of everything that needs to be set up and configured in a modern online business but leaves you 100% of freedom as to the frontend layer of the endeavor letting your brand shine.











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