In 2020, it was very noticeable how technology and virtuality played a fundamental role, where consumers started to demand alternative ways to replace cash. Now that 2021 is a couple of months in, and taking into account that 2020 generated a massive and radical transformation in the digital payments industry, there are some trends that will clearly define 2021 in the world in relation to eCommerce. Jason Simon, an expert in eCommerce and online payment solutions, explains precisely what those trends will be and how they will be relevant to digital commerce.

Over the past year, companies like Visa were able to see how technology and virtuality played a fundamental role, as consumers began to demand alternative ways to replace cash. They began giving preference to the use of cards, person-to-person transfers, or any other payment credentials they have available. “Large companies such as Visa and MasterCard worked hard as a network of networks to develop rapidly deployable solutions to connect more segments of society through fast, secure, and convenient digital payments,” explains Simon.

There is no doubt that digital payments are the main trend and the increasingly default way to pay. There is no turning back to 2020 in the evolution of the digital payments industry around the world. In 2021, as part of the expansion of contactless payments, retail outlets and financing platforms will secure primarily digital payment options. Digital wallets will establish themselves as the preferred method for consumers to make purchases.

Digital marketplaces are the new avenues for SMEs. Small business owners have found in digital marketplaces a new digital “avenue” that is indispensable for their survival. “These types of companies will not only use marketplaces to gain exposure but also reach new potential customers, giving 24/7 access to their products and creating new service experiences primarily for digital customers,” asserts Simon.

The widespread emergence of integrated commerce provides the ultimate customer experience. Integrated commerce will become mainstream; for example, companies and governments around the world are raising the bar for contactless payments, public transportation networks are upgrading systems to accept contactless payments, and small businesses are adopting this more agile way of selling on a large scale.

The evolution of card benefits has definitely been an eye-catcher for customers. In 2021, card benefits, most often credit cards, have begun to evolve from travel-specific offers to everyday items, driving card usage even higher.

The Buy Now, Pay Later option is here to stay and is one of the best trends helping customers today to acquire their desired item. Paying in installments adds to the list of increasingly digitized consumer expectations for speed, flexibility, and convenience in the way they pay.

And finally, digital currencies for all consumers should not be overlooked. Digital forms of money are growing in consumers’ wallets and in the minds of policymakers, paving the way for a new generation of digital currency that will see significant consumption by 2021.

“It has been no secret to anyone that COVID-19 presented the biggest challenge to cash transactions. The industry has never before seen such a dramatic shift in payment options with the replacement of cash payments to digital means. Mobile and contactless payments took center stage last year, offering solutions that go beyond the hygiene issue linked to the use of cash,” Simon concludes.

The adoption of new means of payment has enabled people and businesses around the world to tap into the digital economy, and needless to say, this is just the beginning of what will be the reinvention of the payment experience. As time goes on, many more trends and benefits will come to light, and this will continue to drive eCommerce to continue to grow over the next few years.