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Zycada 2021 Predictions: Continuing Growth and Evolution Will Define E-Commerce Tech in 2021

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual series exclusive.

Continuing Growth and Evolution Will Define E-Commerce Tech in 2021

By Subbu Varadarajan, Founder and CPO, Zycada

E-commerce has had a banner year in 2020. The ongoing COVID pandemic dramatically accelerated online shopping in just about every segment of retail, from clothing to groceries to home decor.  The growth in e-commerce will continue into 2021, and with this growth will come evolving technologies and approaches to better accommodate the rising volume of customers. Next year, online retail will be dominated by seven major trends.

Video drives increasing online retail revenue: In 2021, video content will become an increasingly important part of the e-commerce experience. Video provides customers a much more immersive and in-depth view of products, bringing them to life by demonstrating how they actually work in the real world. In addition, video gives retailers the chance to better showcase a brand's creativity, personality and sense of humor, which goes a long way in connecting with target demographics. We will continue to see e-commerce companies partnering with social media platforms, ie. Shopify with TikTok, that allow for shoppers to view videos and purchase direct through the app seamlessly.

Good bots defeat bad bots: More retailers will start leveraging bot technology for good, particularly to combat bad bots that are being used to snap up the supply of a hot new product and then sell it on secondary markets at huge markup. NVIDIA recently made headlines when its highly anticipated Ampere GPU was sold out almost immediately after its launch online, with scalpers using bots to purchase the GPUs in mass then re-sell them on sites like eBay at outrageous prices. The same problem has plagued the concert and shoe industries for years. It's terrible for customers, which also makes it bad for retailers. But these retailers are learning that they can train their own bots to recognize the malicious bots that are buying their products online and prevent them from completing the transactions.

In addition to fighting scalpers, brands will also use bots to improve their online shopping performance, delivering much faster e-commerce speeds. Leveraging machine learning, bots can be tuned to pre-load certain content before an actual user has to, resulting in quicker page load and time to interactive (TTI) speeds.

Mobile commerce eclipses traditional e-commerce: Next year, mobile commerce revenue will surpass, or at least match, revenue from traditional desktop-based e-commerce. More consumers are using their mobile devices for online shopping that ever before, and retailers are responding by improving and promoting their mobile platforms. Personalization is key in e-commerce, and the mobile experience is far more personal than the PC experience.

Cryptocurrencies gain ground: More e-commerce platforms will accept cryptocurrency payments as the technology continues to become more mainstream. PayPal, the world's leader in online payment processing, recently announced that it will support bitcoin transactions, while Square already supports bitcoin. Online retailers will follow the lead of these payment processors and begin accepting major cryptocurrencies.

E-commerce experiments with Augmented Reality: Just as video and social media will grow in online retail, so too will AR. AR enables customers to experience a product without seeing it in person. This provides more intimate, personalized experience. This experience will be critical for shoppers to differentiate between common consumer products such as computer mouses and furniture that are difficult to evaluate in an ordinary online experience.

Consumers care more about where products are made: As shoppers become increasingly socially conscious, they will start to care more about where products are manufactured, guided by sustainability concerns and a desire to support local economies. E-commerce platforms can leverage these preferences to further personalize their experience and shape their recommendations.

Video conferencing drives the electronics sector: Video conferencing is here to stay. More consumers will look to purchase electronics and A/V products that support a smoother video conferencing experience, including headsets, microphones, cameras and laptops. In addition, retailers will lean heavily on popular online streamers to promote these products.


E-commerce is at an inflection point as consumer shopping habits quickly and radically change. To accommodate this change, online retailers understand that they need go beyond simply supporting larger traffic volumes and must deliver a new and more engaging shopping experience. They will achieve this by leveraging the emerging technologies and strategies outlined above. Expect e-commerce in 2021 to be more feature-rich, flexible, convenient, personalized and innovative.


About the Author

subbu varadarajan 

Subbu Varadarajan is Founder and Chief Product Officer of Zycada. He has nearly 20 years of deep tech industry experience, including engineering roles at Akamai, Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent. Varadarajan is credited with creating the world's first WhiteHat Botnet. Historically, Botnets were used by malicious hackers to breach corporate data and sabotage cloud services. Varadarajan leveraged the power of Botnet technology for helping enterprises and cloud services enhance security and improve performance. As Founder of Zycada, he harnessed that vision to develop an innovative platform employed by numerous Fortune 1000 eCommerce and streaming companies, accelerating more than 120 billion transactions to date. He has authored 20+ patents and has written several publications on network security, bot management and performance.

Published Wednesday, December 23, 2020 7:40 AM by David Marshall
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