Ecommerce is no longer a novel concept; it has developed into an international phenomenon, an industry that hugely affects the global economy. This comes as no surprise since it has gone through what can only be described as a monumental progress and continues to expand to this very day with no sign of slowing down.
The entire history of online shopping is marked with impressive milestones that helped shape this field into what it is today. However, these milestones are not limited to the number of sales (which keep on growing exponentially!). The sum of innovations coupled with the market’s ability - both retailers and shoppers - to analyze and adopt the new trends played a key role in the continuous advancement of ecommerce.
Business owners who want to take a small cut out of those $6.5 Trillion in 2023 have to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of this industry. In other words, they have to learn all about the future of online shopping so they could start planning right away.
The ecommerce trends that you should look out for vary in nature: from technological advancements to changes in customers purchasing habits or even enhancements in popular services. The list below highlights the most significant ones in 2020:
- Selling on Social Media
- The Rise of Mcommerce
- Multichannel and Omnichannel Experience
- Shopping with AR and VR
- AI and Machine Learning in Ecommerce
- Flexible Payment Options and Installments
- Voice Shopping Using Smart Home Assistants
- Recommerce: The Secondhand Market
- Green Consumerism: a Sustainable Future
- Additional Ecommerce Trends to Look Out For
Since all sources are indicating that ecommerce is destined to get bigger in the coming years, it’s essential to examine the factors that are driving this growth.
“90% of Social Media Users Reach Out to Retailers”
1. Selling on Social Media
Social media platforms have evolved from the usual likes and shares to become a channel where shoppers can browse through products and even complete a purchase on an integrated checkout page.
Websites like Facebook and Instagram are leading the way by adding call-to-action buttons such as “Buy Now”. To take things further, these buttons no longer redirect you to an ecommerce website but you can now directly buy that item, right then and there!
It’s also important to note that businesses have been using their social media pages as marketing tools for a while now. This allows them to expand their reach, promote their products, and also engage with their target audience.
Furthermore, according to a study published by Econstor, reading other users’ comments (45%) and viewing ads (44%) are the two elements that influence a customer’s shopping behavior the most. Other factors include the brand’s reputation on those platforms (25%) and the ability to place an order on the social media page itself (16%).
2. The Rise of Mcommerce
Another trend that’s been continuously under the radar for the past few years is mobile shopping, also known as mcommerce. The process of browsing and buying products using a smartphone is becoming easier, and more importantly safer, by the day.
From $2.32 trillion in 2019 to $3.56 trillion in 2021 - mobiles are set to increase their share in total ecommerce sales by almost 6% in just 2 years
Numbers don’t lie! Users are having more confidence in this technology and companies are noticing. More than ever, you should focus on offering a seamless shopping experience to your customers and invest in an ecommerce technology that can provide just that across multiple devices.
The sooner you do it, the better! Last year, smartphones surpassed desktops for the first time in terms of conversions and they’ve been the leaders for a while when it comes to website visits.
3. Multichannel and Omnichannel Experience
Very few people use a single social media channel; generally speaking, most of them keep bouncing from one platform to another, and the same goes for shopping. The vast majority of customers will check marketplaces, social media websites, and even online stores before deciding on buying a product - unless they’re looking for some last minute deals on Black Friday.
Your job is to be present everywhere, that’s multichannel marketing! Having bigger exposure and reach has become crucial to a company’s survival. This is mainly due to the ever-increasing competition, both online and offline.
It doesn’t end there though, once users land on your website, you have to do everything it takes to keep them there. In other words, you have to offer a comprehensive experience that includes all the tools and offerings that will ensure a successful conversion - that’s omnichannel marketing!
4. Shopping with AR and VR
A technological advancement that’s set to revolutionize the industry by tackling one of the biggest challenges facing online businesses. While ecommerce is still on the rise, physical sensations are highly regarded by shoppers since they get to experience their product before buying it.
Introducing the finest breakthroughs in interactive visualizations: Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Whether you’re selling apparel, accessories, or even furniture, these high-tech solutions will allow your customers to literally try on/out their items from the comfort of their own homes.
Big corporations like Amazon and Ikea are already offering AR/VR services to their clients. Imagine seeing how that new couch will fit in your living room before you have it delivered!
“Artificial Intelligence Revenue to Reach $36.8 Billion Worldwide by 2025”
5. AI and Machine Learning in Ecommerce
Another technological progress is the integration of Artificial Intelligence in online businesses. More companies are relying on smart chatbots as well as other AI applications and the reasons behind it are clear:
- AI chatbots work around the clock and every day of the week
- They offer adequate customer support by effectively answering frequently asked questions
- Softwares such as these evolve as they collect additional data from visitors
Every year, ecommerce corporations invest more funds in the field of machine learning and they’re definitely benefiting from it. Chatbots are just the tip of the iceberg, AI is also improving the overall shopping experience by generating sales qualified leads, offering cost-effective marketing strategies, and providing personalized product recommendations.
6. Flexible Payment Options and Installments
Almost half the reasons behind incomplete purchases are related to cost and payment in some way or another (Check out the image below to learn more!). That’s not all, the average cart abandonment rate is around 68% - that’s more than 2 out of every 3 orders.
With these numbers in mind, underestimating this challenge can spell disaster for your online business especially since customers can change their minds even at the last minute. In ecommerce, a conversion only counts when clients actually place an order and pay for it.
Now there’s no reason to start panicking! The first thing you should think about is simplifying your checkout process, offering a clear pricing scheme (in other words, no hidden fees whatsoever), and integrating with local and international payment gateways. Don’t forget about free shipping as well!
That’s not all though, you should also consider allowing your customers to pay their bills through small and regular installments. This will encourage them to place relatively large purchases without being financially strained.
Implementing these small changes can result in huge returns especially since it’s easier to retarget - and later on convert - the clients who once visited your store than to attract and nurture new ones.
7. Voice Shopping Using Smart Home Assistants
Voice search is no longer limited to smartphones with the introduction of smart home assistants such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple Homepod. Shoppers can now talk to these devices and describe the product they’re looking for.
“50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020”
Retailers can get on board by applying a faultless SEO strategy with an emphasis on keyword research that are usually used in voice search.
8. Recommerce: The Secondhand Market
According to recent studies, the global secondhand apparel market is set to double in value within the next 3 years. There are several reasons behind the growing demand on used products and it all revolves around sustainability and cost-effectiveness.
As a business owner who’s looking to bank on this trend, it’s important to calculate the costs that might emerge and compare them to your prospective revenue. The factors that you should consider are:
- The type of items that don’t quickly depreciate in quality when used for a brief period of time
- The return process and the means to reimburse your clients
- The cost of restoring these products into their original condition in order to resell them
- The strategy through which you want to advertise these items
9. Green Consumerism: a Sustainable Future
While Millenials are considered to be the most vocal generation when it comes to eco-friendly practices and environmental sustainability, other groups are also realizing the important impact they have on their home planet.
According to Forbes, Amazon cut back on over-boxing by removing “500 million boxes and 244,000 tons of packaging materials”. Maybe it’s all a marketing scheme nevertheless it’s proving to be highly beneficial. Companies are increasingly using biodegradable and/or recyclable material in their products and packages.
Consumers are not only aware of that fact but they’re also deeply fond of it! However, this is not something new, shoppers all around the world have been caring more about the damage they might be doing for the past few years. Most of them now prefer to shop from brands that offer environmental benefits within their scope of work.
You want to take part in a good cause and profit at the same time? Just go green!
Additional Ecommerce Trends to Look Out for
While the trends mentioned above will have the biggest impact on the ecommerce industry in 2020, there are other changes that you should keep your eye on.
Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
If you eavesdrop on a conversation between fintech experts, you will certainly hear the word Blockchain a lot. This is true for several business sectors as well! This technology may still be in its early years but it promises to offer fantastic advancements in terms of security and costs.
In addition, bitcoin and its counterparts - more commonly known as cryptocurrencies - are also making a steady climb towards mass adoption by retailers and shoppers alike.
Special packages are no longer limited to the holidays but it’s important to keep offering them during after Christmas sales and beyond. Keep in mind that the packaging you offer reflects your brand identity so consider investing in beautiful and durable boxes which could be later on used by consumers.
People are always trying to stand out from the crowd, to look unique, and bolster their one of a kind belongings. Several clothing companies are offering personalized designs based on their clients’ demands and customers don’t mind paying a little extra if they can see their ideas come to life.
The typical product details just don’t cut it anymore! It’s all about video descriptions with high-quality and valuable content. That’s not all, there’s a growing demand for User Generated Content which translates into comments, reviews, and testimonials added by previous shoppers.
Users believe that the experience of regular people, someone just like them, is more trustworthy than a social media influencer.
“UPS to expand company’s drone delivery network serving healthcare and other customer applications”
This shipping technique is growing exponentially thanks to investments from giant corporations such as Amazon and UPS. It may be a (very) cool way to deliver products but it’s not the actual reason why these companies are doing it. Drone delivery is an environmentally-friendly solution but its benefits also include speed, convenience, and lower costs.
This technology is still in its early stages and it has to overcome different legal and logistical challenges in order to expand globally.
Keeping Up With the Latest Ecommerce Trends
As a business owner, it’s essential for you to stay up to date with the trends that are shaping the online shopping industry. It may seem overwhelming because of how quickly things can change and the many aspects that you should continuously look out for. However, try to focus on the trends that directly affect your business model, that way your company will definitely survive and thrive!