If the first few months of 2020 have taught us anything, it’s that uncertain times can call for quick pivots to sales and marketing plans.
Businesses have had to evolve quickly with trade shows, events, and in-person sales meetings being canceled for the foreseeable future, likely throwing a wrench in many 2020 sales and marketing strategies.
But even as we are navigating our new normal, there is one place that is experiencing an incredible boom in traffic: eCommerce websites. Consumers are turning to online shopping to gather the essentials as well as other items they can’t get from temporarily closed stores.
In other words, if you don’t have an eCommerce store, now is probably the perfect time to make the investment. And if you do have an eCommerce presence, you need to make sure you’re equipped to keep up with the influx of shoppers and incredible amount of competition.
Let’s review the latest eCommerce technology trends to focus on as we move through 2020.
1. Mobile dominates online sales.
U.S. mobile retail revenue is expected to be $339 billion in 2020, up from $207 billion in 2018. This comes as no surprise considering that 125 million Americans own and use smartphones. It’s interesting to note that consumers use mobile to research products they are considering buying and not just to make purchases.
In fact, a third of consumers’ decision to purchase a product is impacted by research done conducted on a mobile device. However, just because websites are accessible from mobile devices, doesn’t mean businesses are prepared to succeed at mobile commerce. For example, only 12% of consumers find mobile commerce convenient, which means there is significant room for improvement.
2. eWallet technology is a must.
Enabling your customers to use eWallet functionality, commonly known as mobile wallet, is no longer optional. While mobile wallet payments only accounted for $75 billion in 2016, they are projected to reach $500 billion by 2020.
In addition to boosting sales and conversion rates for merchants, eWallet usage provides customers with ease of use and increased security. They no longer need to enter credit card information on websites or give their credit cards to cashiers; plus many eWallets offer or require dual authentication prior to use.
3. eCommerce subscription services gain traction.
Subscriptions are an increasingly common way to buy products and services online. Over the past year alone, 15% of online shoppers have subscribed to an eCommerce service to receive products on a recurring basis.
There are three types of eCommerce subscription services: replenishment (automates purchases), curation (provides personalized experiences), and access (provides lower prices or members-only perks).
Curation services account for 55% of total subscriptions, replenishment accounts for 32% and access subscriptions for 13%. These figures reflect the high demand for personalized services.
4. Customization makes products highly personal.
Consumers increasingly expect customized products and, thanks to advances in digital and manufacturing technology, brands can enable them to personalize or customize products they want online. By empowering customers to become partners in the product creation process, brands strengthen the user experience, which increases customer satisfaction and loyalty and leads to higher profits.
5. Upselling and cross-selling fueled by personalized product recommendations.
Through personalizing product recommendations to the tastes and interests of customers already on your site, the likelihood of their making a purchase is greatly increased. In fact, 45% of consumers are more likely to shop on a site that offers personalized recommendations, and 56% of online shoppers are more likely to return to a site that offers product recommendations.
In order to make personalized product recommendations, you must leverage the details of users’ previous purchases and on-site searches to help recommend relevant products.
6. Augmented and virtual reality are making online shopping interactive.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are helping eCommerce retailers overcome one of their biggest challenges – the fact that their customers cannot try on or experience products before buying them. With AR and VR, customers can virtually try on products, place furniture within rooms of their homes and more.
This personalized and interactive online shopping experience has led to the augmented reality market being projected to generate $70 to $75 billion in revenue worldwide by 2023.
7. Customer experiences improve thanks to better CRM integration.
Online retailers connect with customers through a variety of channels including online marketplaces, eCommerce websites, chatbots, emailing, and social media, all of which must be carefully managed to ensure the best customer experience.
To keep up, online retailers are implementing integrated eCommerce CRM (customer relationship management) systems. In addition to resulting in a better customer experience, CRM eCommerce integration provides a central location for customer data that can be used to make marketing more effective. Sales data can also be used for improved inventory planning and forecasting. Automated, synchronized data increases overall business efficiency by improving order fulfillment and timely communication.
Next to built-in integrations and integrated eCommerce CRM systems, top online retailers often use third-party integrations to connect their eCommerce tool not only to CRMs, but to all the channels and systems that gather customer data. That way, they ensure a smooth customer experience across communications.
8. Magento emerges as the top global eCommerce platform.
The reliability and scalability of Magento has made it the most popular eCommerce platform in the world, powering over 250,000 businesses. Its customers are typically enterprise level online stores with a high volume of products and the budget to invest in certified third-party design, development and programming services.
Magento’s main competitors include Shopify, Yo!Kart, BigCommerce, VTEX, WooCommerce and Tictail, some of which better meet the needs of smaller eCommerce retailers.
9. Actionable content is driving business.
Relevant and helpful content helps drive business by attracting potential shoppers, guiding them to purchasing opportunities and boosting conversions. There are several forms of content that can be effectively mixed and matched. They include interactive, lifestyle storytelling, stance-taking and email.
Typically the most effective content involves storytelling and creating memorable experiences. It’s also crucial whenever possible to ensure that any offers, ads and promotions are tailored and unique to each customer’s interests. Over 74% of online consumers get frustrated with website content when this does not happen.
10. PWAs help shoppers quickly complete tasks.
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are websites accessed directly in a browser that provide the high-converting features of a native app. These apps are not downloaded from an app store platform.
While websites are optimized for users to get informational content, PWAs are designed to help shoppers accomplish tasks quickly. They have fast and reliable features and functionalities that create a highly engaging shopping experience.
11. Social media is a driving force behind mobile sales.
Platforms enabling eCommerce stores to sell directly through their social pages are increasingly driving sales. In fact, brands’ social posts have led 55% of online shoppers to purchase products. With a simple click on a product link within a social post, consumers are immediately taken to a product page where they can make a purchase.
12. Cognitive supply chain management gains momentum.
eCommerce companies are increasingly seeking distribution and inventory management systems that are self-learning, predictive, adaptive and intelligent, which are known as cognitive supply chains. They result in improved, personalized customer service and decreased inventory. These systems can also help to mitigate risk, improve insight and performance and increase transparency.
13. Video continues capturing consumer attention.
Using product videos on eCommerce sites improves conversions by 85%, boosts SEO, increases email click-through rates by 96% and decreases product returns.
This is because customers have more confidence in products when they see a video about them. When done right, product videos are educational, encourage consumers to make a purchase, popular with mobile users and shared via social media.
14. Gamification is making online shopping more fun.
For some, shopping online can lack the interactive experience of shopping at brick-and-mortar locations. Gamification injects fun into online shopping by motivating customers to behave in a certain manner in exchange for additional benefits. Three common gamification platforms include promotional contests, spin-to-win opportunities and tiered VIP loyalty programs.
15. Chatbots are personalizing eCommerce.
Currently 47% of consumers are open to purchasing items through a chatbot and this number is projected to grow. A chatbot is a computer program that simulates a human conversation. It instantly communicates with customers and can resolve their challenges among multiple platforms 24/7. Chatbots use artificial intelligence to infer customers’ preferences and create a personalized online shopping experience.
16. Voice search is growing in popularity.
Mobile users and owners of devices such as the Amazon Echo or similar technology are increasingly comfortable with speaking their queries. In 2020, 50 percent of all internet searches will be done using voice search and voice shopping is predicted to grow to $40 billion in 2022.
Successful voice search strategies for eCommerce retailers include solid SEO, building brand affinity with informational skills and actions, product-feature and review videos, and staying focused on delivering a superior customer experience.
Your toughest competitors are inevitably planning to implement some of these eCommerce trends to gain an advantage in 2020 and beyond. Which ones do you intend to act upon in order to become a dominant eCommerce player?