In 1995, the first item ever was ordered online on Amazon – a book. Around 20 years later, the e-commerce industry has made over 2 trillion US dollars in sales worldwide. There’s no looking back now.
Ecommerce has revolutionized retail. It has evolved to meet the changing needs of people and to make online shopping easier for the modern-day customer. When it started, e-commerce was fairly limited in its capabilities. But not anymore. Whether it’s customization, enhanced return policies, or improved integration, all of these changes (among countless others) have taken the world of e-commerce by storm. And 2020 is here to further transform the world of e-commerce.
So, if you’re still on the fence about the future of e-commerce, these e-commerce trends will prove to you that e-commerce isn’t just rapidly growing, it’s here to stay. And you too can include these e-commerce developments into your business to ensure steady growth of your online store.
10 Top E-commerce Trends 2020:
Are you wondering what the future of e-commerce looks like? Do you want to look into what trends will shape the success of your online store? Here are the top 10 e-commerce trends for 2020 that you need to look out for.
1. Online Sales Growth is Unstoppable
Ecommerce sales have been growing constantly and for good reason. Online shopping is one of the most popular online activities. The sales are projected to increase from 1.3 trillion in 2014 to 4.5 trillion in 2021 (Statista, 2019). That’s a massive figure. It would mean a threefold growth over a 7-year span.
Even though online shopping is one of the most popular online activities, the usage varies by region. With the increasing popularity of ecommerce stores, a rising number of people are turning to online shopping. This increase in online shopping can be attributed to a number of factors. One of the main ones is arguably the level of comfort that is provided to online shoppers. There is also an increase in trust that online buyers have when they are purchasing online, as well as improved website experience. At one point, people used to be hesitant to buy things online, but that’s no longer the case. Websites have been made more customer-friendly. With all the comfort that is provided, there’s no surprise that online sales growth is becoming unstoppable.
2. Environmental Topics Influence Buyers
Green consumerism is on the rise, and brands need to take action. Half of the digital consumers say that environmental concerns impact their purchasing decisions. Ecommerce businesses should strive for creating more sustainable practices. People are now becoming more conscious of the environment than ever before and for the right reasons. Online businesses need to step in and make sure that their practices are environmentally friendly. This includes practices of sourcing products from fair-trade organizations to help create a greener e-commerce environment.
Millennials are paving the way forward to greener consumerism habits. Whether it’s free-range meat or vegan skincare products, there is an increasing demand for taking care of our environment. Consumers feel more responsible for the planet, which in turn increases the responsibility for brands to cater to the eco-friendly needs of customers.
3. Mobile Shopping is Growing
The growth of mobile commerce has been noteworthy. Since 2016, sales made via mobile devices increased by 15%. By the end of 2021, 73% of e-commerce sales will take place on a mobile device (Statista, 2019). These figures can’t be ignored. Improving the e-commerce experience for mobile customers can be a huge opportunity for businesses to tap into.
Ecommerce growth has been driven in part by the increase in usage of mobile devices. People don’t just shop online, they also use their mobile devices to browse or research before making their minds up about their purchase. As trust in online shopping is increasing, consumers feel more comfortable shopping on mobile devices than ever before. Especially when it comes to Millenials and Gen Z who have grown up surrounded by computers and the internet. These generations are also more likely to be shopping online using their mobile devices, in comparison to older generations. As a result, more and more sites are now optimized for mobile use. Make sure that not only your website but your online store is optimized for mobile devices as well. By doing this, you’re making e-commerce simpler and more accessible for a larger audience.
4. Rise of Voice Commerce
Voice shopping is growing among Internet users. 13% of U.S. smart speaker owners say that they were making purchases by voice at the end of 2017. That number is predicted to grow to 55% by 2022 (OC&C Strategy Consultants, 2018). The total spends on voice shopping has also gone up in the UK. This e-commerce trend has grown in popularity mainly since 2014 when Amazon launched its smart speaker – Echo. While voice shopping is still in its early stages, this statistic shows us that it will become increasingly popular in the coming years.
Voice shopping is a non-visual experience, which means that customers have to select their products by providing a verbal description of what they are looking for. This restricts the scope of browsing for a product before actually selecting it. To dig a little deeper, voice shopping is mainly used by customers as a sales channel. This means that instead of using voice search as a browsing experience to research what they have to buy, they use voice search once they have already decided on their purchase. Purchased products via voice search are usually low-value products and include categories such as food items, or low-cost electronics and homeware products. The rise of interest in voice shopping means that businesses will have to take note and provide customers with the comfort that they are looking for when buying products.
5. Evolving Role of Social Media in Ecommerce
The number of social shoppers is also rapidly increasing. With the introduction of the “Buy” button on Facebook and Instagram Checkout, social media is playing a significant role in the world of e-commerce.
Social media has changed the way we live our daily lives, including the way we buy things. This is a great opportunity for brands to start thinking about how to improve their position on social media, which is a great platform for brands to get discovered. With consumers spending more time on different types of social media, e-commerce businesses can get help from Instagram influencers to increase their chances of getting discovered by their target audience.
Additionally, with platforms like Shopify, businesses can easily link their online stores with social media sites so that people can buy from them directly through social media. Instagram and Facebook, for example, are constantly updating their features to meet the comfort needs of online buyers.
And who can forget TikTok – the latest and rising rave within the world of social media that has not only made its way into the hearts of teens but also around Hollywood?
The video-sharing app has been working on incorporating e-commerce elements and its latest efforts include testing a new feature that will allow users to include shoppable links in their profiles or videos. This means that users who click on the link will be taken to the URL within TikTok itself without having to leave the app to access the site.
These social media platforms act as channels for inspiration and allow brands an opportunity to be discovered while people scroll through their feeds. As social media continues to become a regular part of our daily lives, its power to influence e-commerce trends will only increase. That’s why brands need to adopt a shopping-focused approach to their social media strategy.
6. QR Code Payments Make a Comeback
And one particular payment method, QR codes, appears to be making a comeback. First invented in 1994, it wasn’t until the beginning of the 2010s that QR codes started to become popular. But the issues that plagued the codes meant its popularity didn’t last long.
Over the past couple of years, though, the QR code seems to be making its way back – especially in ecommerce. According to a study by GlobalWebIndex, 40 percent of all internet users scan a QR code on their mobile phones on a monthly basis (GlobalWebIndex, 2019). And there is an inverse correlation with age, too, with teens and young adults using QR codes more frequently than those in the older age groups.
Geographically, the QR code is particularly popular in Asia, especially in East, South, and Southeast Asia. For example, nearly all internet users in Hong Kong and Taiwan use QR codes. And who can forget China, where 42 percent of the world’s ecommerce transactions take place? In China, mobile payment is considered to be the standard payment method. Most transactions, which include online shopping, food delivery, car-sharing, and many others, are done with the QR code. In contrast, as many as 65 percent of mobile users in the US still have yet to adopt mobile payments.
7. Role of Artificial Intelligence
Global retailer spending on Artificial Intelligence (AI) will reach $7.3 billion per annum by 2022, up from an estimated $2 billion in 2018 (BusinessWire, 2018). This happens as retailers target new avenues to increase personalization of the customer experience. This research shows us that retailers are willing to heavily invest in tools that will help them to improve their services to customers and give them a competitive advantage. These AI tools range from automated marketing platforms that are equipped to generate timely offers, to chatbots that respond to customer queries instantly. Other areas where AI will be helpful for retailers include AI-optimized pricing and discounting, as well as demand forecasting.
The role of AI will become stronger in the coming years, as retailers invest in improving areas such as customer service where AI can be useful to understand the reactions of customers to the product or service purchased. This will play a big role in solving how retailers can improve customer experience. In order to stay competitive it’s important that retailers invest in this ecommerce trend.
8. Augmented Reality Transforms How We Shop
By 2022 over 120,000 stores will be using Augmented Reality (AR) technologies, offering a much richer buying experience (Prnewswire, 2018). AR uptake in the sector will be driven by the retail workforce and online shoppers. One of the main concerns that people have when shopping online is the inability to see the product firsthand. AR technology helps bridge this gap and enable online shoppers to better visualize the products that they are interested in.
For online customers this could be a game changer. AR experiences can change the way that online customers perceive the products that they intend to buy. With the use of AR, customers will be able to better understand their needs and if the products that they intend to purchase meet their demands. Some ecommerce brands have already started to experiment with AR, which will help them stand out from the competition. Delivering more personalized experiences to consumers will allow for better online shopping. Companies are using AR not only to enhance the customer experience but also to allow shoppers the ability to test and explore products in the way that they would do during an in-person shopping experience.
9. Personalization is the Future
More than 50% of shoppers say that a personalized online experience is important (Bazaarvoice, 2018). Adding to that, 74% of marketers believe personalization has a “strong” or “extreme” impact on advancing customer relationships (Evergage, 2018).
Personalizing the online shopping experience is the key to keeping customers satisfied. People shopping online want help to find the products that they need, and they value a more personalized experience. As a result of poor product recommendations, online shoppers might avoid certain stores altogether.
Ecommerce sites are onboard with this trend and are investing in personalization tactics to make the online shopping experience a better one. This could include the personalization of messages that go out via email, or by providing the right information to the interested consumer group. By offering personalized customer communications, providing relevant discounts, and engaging with customers through, for instance, video content, will help deliver a better shopping experience and strengthen the bond with your customers.
10. Visual Commerce Is on the Rise
One of the many difficulties of running an ecommerce store is having to sell your product to consumers who have no chance of physical interaction with your product. That’s where visual commerce comes into play.
In short, visual commerce is the next generation of normal static visuals. It takes marketing to a whole other level as instead of simply using product photos to market your business, visual commerce takes it one step further by incorporating other types of visuals such as consumer-generated media, interactive content, engaging videos, and as previously mentioned, augmented reality.
Visual commerce is slowly but surely becoming an integral of ecommerce, as shown by the growth of the deep-learning technology behind it. This includes the image-recognition market, which is set to grow from $20.19 billion in 2018 to $81.88 billion by 2026 – marking a compound annual growth rate of 19.6 percent (MarketWatch, 2020).
The usage of image recognition is expected to be the most prevalent in the North American market, which actually correlates with the popularity of and demand for visual content among US consumers. As it stands, approximately 75 percent of internet users in the US search for visual content before carrying out a purchase on a regular basis. Only a handful (3 percent) do not.
With the advancement in technology and changes in consumer behavior, you need to keep an eye out for these ecommerce trends in 2020. Whichever ecommerce trend you decide to adopt, do it with the aim of improving the shopping experience for your customers, and building a long-lasting relationship with them. Take your ecommerce evolution to the next level, by evolving with it side-by-side, and taking advantage of these ecommerce trends.