The ecommerce space is changing quickly. With global ecommerce sales projected to top 3.9 trillion in 2020, it’s important to stay on top of current trends to stay competitive. Here are 23 of the trends you can expect to see in 2020.
1 | Mobile will matter more for both brands and consumers
This shouldn’t be news to anybody. Fifty percent of all web traffic happens on mobile devices and 40 percent of all ecommerce purchases made during the holidays happen on a smartphone. It may be even higher for your store, depending on your audience. If your website isn’t mobile-optimized, you risk losing out on customers.
If you’re not sure what percentage of your traffic is from mobile, go into your Google Analytics reports and check. Set your desired date range and then navigate to: Audience → Mobile –> Overview. Here you’ll see the device categories of desktop, mobile, and tablet along with percentages of total users across each device category.
This can also give you insight into how these users are engaging with your site. In general, mobile users spend less time on-site, view fewer pages per session, and have higher bounce rates. You should set goals to improve your website experience using these engagement metrics as a baseline.
In addition, you should also benchmark your mobile page load speed using a tool like Google Page Speed Insights. Simply enter your website URL and Google will provide a report on how long it takes to load your page broken down by mobile vs. desktop, plus tips to fix any technical issues that may be causing your site to load slowly. This can not only help to improve your SEO (in which page load speed is a ranking factor), but it will also improve the user experience. In fact, studies have shown that 53 percent of mobile site visitors will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.
2 | 2020 will be the year brands tap into the power of SMS
People spend an average of 90 minutes a day looking at their phones, according to a study from mobilestatistics.com. That ends up being 23 days a year and 3.9 years of the average person’s life!
Text messaging isn’t a new concept, but many brands still don’t take advantage of text messaging as a medium to communicate with their customers. We believe this will change, which is why Klaviyo recently launched SMS with a broad rollout in early January.
Text messages have open rates of 98 percent, compared to 20 percent for emails. Chances are, if you send a text message to your audience, they’ll see it.
You should always be seeking ways to grow your list, and this includes collecting phone numbers and consent from your customers to send them SMS messages.
3 | Consumers and brands will continue to be wary of big tech
The backlash against big tech companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, and more accelerated in 2019, and it’s likely to continue into 2020. Consumers are beginning to realize the tremendous impact these large tech conglomerates have on every facet of our lives, as well as the implications on privacy and data protection.
Brands are realizing the cost to do business across these platforms is yielding fewer results for long-term, sustainable business growth. In fact, about 70 percent of digital ad spend goes to Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
Expect to see a shift occur in business behavior toward more sustainable growth strategies, like owned marketing, that enable brands to use the marketing channels within their control—email, website, and mobile—to develop deep, personal relationships with consumers that lead to long-term growth.
4 | Brands will grow their customer lists to become less dependent on third-party advertising
2020 will be the year of owned marketing as businesses put more effort into growing their customer lists and using the marketing channels within their own control to engage shoppers and to reduce their reliance on costly third-party advertising platforms that offer little in the way of customer data back to the brand.
Not only is owned marketing more cost-effective than traditional digital advertising techniques, but it also gives brands complete control of the customer experience from end-to-end. Best of all, nobody can take your email list and owned channels away from you or charge you more money for the privilege of reaching your own audience.
5 | Smart speakers will continue to make it as easy as possible for customers to shop
With seventy-five percent of U.S households are expected to have smart speakers by 2025, according to Loup Ventures, there’s never been a better time to invest in voice apps like Amazon Alexa skills to allow your customers to order from your store over their smart speaker devices.
6 | Expectations for personalized content will continue to grow
People are inundated with emails, text messages, Slack messages, and much more on a daily basis. Brands that create personalized experiences will stand out, which is why it’s more important than ever to be utilizing the data you have on your customers to create relevant and engaging personalized experiences for them, every time you communicate with them.
7 | Expect to see more seamless experiences between in-store and online
If you have a brick-and-mortar location, it’s essential to create a seamless experience between your ecommerce website and your physical location. Many in-store transactions are actually the results of digital interaction since many people do their research online before even stepping foot into a store to try the product or chat with an associate.
Aside from the basics, such as ensuring prices are consistent, you should also consider allowing in-store pickups, free in-store returns (for online orders and physical orders), and ensuring all of your branding on your website is reflected in your store.
8 | Video will continue to grow, although not as fast as in the past
Creating content in the formats your customers want to consume is important, whether this is written posts, audio, and podcasts, or video. Video reviews and product overviews are proven to increase sales, so if your ecommerce store isn’t already taking advantage of video, 2020 is a great year to start.
9 | Live chat will become increasingly important
In today’s instant gratification culture, people don’t want to wait for a reply to their email and many don’t like to talk on the phone. Live chat provides an excellent option for ecommerce stores to provide support and answer questions your visitors may have about your products.
10 | Brands will offer multiple payment options to let customers pay how they want and create easier checkout experiences
One of the reasons Amazon is so popular is because they save your billing and shipping information in your account and make it extremely easy to checkout, without having to go through a ton of manual data entry (which is even more annoying to do on a smartphone).
Look into options to allow your customers to checkout as quickly and easily as possible, whether that’s through a service like Apple Pay, Paypal, Amazon checkout, or other customer financing options.
11 | Brands will increasingly leverage user-generated content, including influencers and reviews
Consumers are shifting away from tuning into traditional advertising and relying more on recommendations and reviews from others.
Sixty-eight percent of people said trustworthy reviews were the strongest influencing factor on where they decided to shop online, and product reviews are the most popular type of user-generated content submitted by online shoppers.
Encourage reviews of both your business (customer service, quality of your products, etc.), as well as reviews of your individual products to engage consumers.
12 | AR experiences will allow people to view your products in their own space
AR, or augmented reality, is a great way to allow your customers to envision your product in their own space. These experiences help to increase buying confidence and customer engagement, and they help you differentiate your brand from your competitors since many ecommerce brands aren’t yet taking advantage of this powerful new technology.
Some ecommerce platforms, like Bigcommerce, have apps in their app stores that have AR capabilities. Shopify also has integrated programs like Shopify AR, which provide all of the instructions on how to get your 3D products into your Shopify store.
13 | Subscription-based services will continue to boom
Customers love subscription-based businesses and these will continue to expand in 2020. If you don’t currently offer any of your products in the form of a subscription model, now is a great time to begin brainstorming ways you may be able to fit your product into a subscription-based business.
Subscription-based businesses also allow you to better manage your inventory, as well as provide additional customization and personalization options to build relationships with your customers. Best of all, subscription services provide recurring, predictable income that can help you better forecast sales goals.
14 | Consumers are demanding more pricing transparency with no unexpected prices or fees
Unexpected fees and charges are one of the leading reasons customers abandon your checkout process. Being transparent about your business practices, prices, fees, and charges at checkout will continue to be important going into 2020.
In addition to being transparent with your prices and fees, be sure not to bury any important information in the fine print, such as return policy exceptions, or data privacy and use.
15 | Financing options for big purchases
If your average order value is large, you may want to consider offering financing options to your customers. Even more importantly, customer financing has been proven to increase conversion rates by up to 25 percent.
There are a variety of services that you can use to offer customer financing, such as Affirm and ViaBill, which offer easy to setup options for a variety of ecommerce stores.
16 | Brands will need to offer free shipping to compete
Free shipping is extremely widespread and will become even more so in 2020. More customers expect to receive free shipping than those who expect to pay for shipping, especially on orders over a certain dollar amount ($35 for Amazon).
If you’re not currently offering a free shipping option, explore ways to do so because it may be costing you sales. Providing multiple shipping options that allow customers to select their own speed is usually the best way to go. Want to go one step further? Consider offering free returns, too.
17 | Brands will also need to offer better return policies
If you have a brick-and-mortar store as well as an online store, it’s a no-brainer that you should allow in-store returns from online purchases (and vice versa), but consider taking this one step further and offering free return policies.
Most retailers will offer to exchange or refund an item and provide free return shipping if it was their fault, but you don’t want to be like most retailers, right? Easy and free return shipping is one of the best things you can do to build trust with your audience and help get somebody who may be on the fence to make a purchase.
18 | Shoppers expect guest checkout options
Some people, especially if it’s their first time purchasing from your brand, may not want to create an account just to complete a simple transaction. Estimates show that up to 35 percent of abandonment rates are due to a lack of a guest checkout option.
Consider offering a guest checkout option. On your checkout page, explain the benefits of creating an account (easy order and returns management, update communication preferences, etc.) to shoppers to encourage them to engage with your brand in this way.
19 | Consumers increasingly want to try before they buy online
One of the biggest reasons many shoppers prefer shopping in brick-and-mortar stores (especially for items such as clothing and shoes) is because they can see an item in-person and try it on before purchasing to make sure it fits.
Many ecommerce stores charge for return shipping, which can be costly for a shopper. Popular subscription-box retailers like StitchFix are changing this, though. They send a collection of items they think a shopper might like and allow them to return any items that they don’t like or that don’t fit. Warby Parker also has a try before you buy program, where they’ll send you up to five frames you can try on and return any that you don’t want.
20 | Consumers are increasingly choosing brands that focus on sustainability
Environmental sustainability is becoming increasingly important to consumers and they’re showing through their share of wallet.
As environmental sustainability continues to be on the top of people’s minds in 2020 and beyond, the importance of building a sustainable brand, and talking about this on your website, will be more important than ever.
Sixty-eight of US internet users said product sustainability was an important factor in their purchasing decision. Companies that focus on building a sustainable brand and selling sustainable products outperform their counterparts that don’t focus on sustainability, according to Nielsen study.
Have a mission and take a stance on the environment, consider how your business operates, the packaging you use, and talk about your environmental footprint and sustainability initiatives on your website.
21 | Acquisitions of smaller ecommerce brands will continue
As the economy continues to boom, acquisitions of smaller ecommerce brands by big brands like Walmart, Amazon, and others, will continue well into 2020. 2019 was a big year for ecommerce acquisitions, such as the acquisition of Harry’s by Edgewell Personal Care (the company that owns Schick). As brands continue to be acquired, smaller brands will need to remain innovative to compete and continue offering outstanding customer support.
22 | Side hustles and new businesses will continue to grow
Starting an ecommerce business has never been cheaper or easier. If you have an idea for a business or something to sell online, 2020 will be a great year to start.
Forty-five percent of working Americans report having a side gig outside of their primary job, and this number is only expected to increase, according to Bankrate.
Building a side hustle business can be tough, but it can also be incredibly rewarding.
23 | Black Friday and Cyber Monday will continue to change
As the biggest shopping weekend of the year, Cyber Weekend will continue to evolve as it did in 2019 with more retailers choosing to offer some of their best deals earlier in November. In 2020, Thanksgiving will once again come late in the month and Black Friday 2020 will be on November 27th.
Many people will also opt to skip retail stores entirely over Black Friday weekend, instead choosing to shop online from the comfort of their homes, where they can get many of the same deals they’d be able to get if they went to a physical store. This year, more than 142 million people shopped online vs. 124 million people who shopped in-store, according to the National Retail Federation, which will likely continue in 2020.
What to expect in 2020 ecommerce
2020 will be another year of extraordinary growth in the ecommerce space and staying on top of the latest trends will be important as your business grows. By understanding how consumers are choosing to shop, what they’re looking for from brands, and figuring out how you can create more personalized experiences to meet their needs, you’ll be able to set your brand up to grow and have a great year ahead.