The world of online shopping is accelerating faster than ever before.
By the end of 2020 according to research giants Statista, the total value of e-commerce retail sales is expected to top $4 trillion and constitute 16% of total retail sales.
These figures are projected to climb even higher as we continue onwards into 2021.
let’s start by taking a look at why it’s important to keep abreast of these new ways of working and why it’s so crucial to understanding Ecommerce trends.
Why are eCommerce trends so critical to know?
In a highly competitive eCommerce sector, online businesses need to constantly be aware of ways to keep their brand and products not only in front of their customers but also their competitors.
If you are one of the many digital online retailers and eCommerce business who aspire to improve and expand your enterprise it’s crucial to find out emerging trends.
The number of digital buyers expected to exceed 2 billion by the end of 2020, which is staggeringly over a quarter of the 7.8 billion people in the world.
So as an eCommerce business you need to be one step ahead of your competitors and understand that one out of every four people you see around you is an online shopper.
The eCommerce market has evolved from the simple brick and mortar retail experience consumers have been brought up on, to a shopping ecosystem that involves multiple devices, store concepts, influencers, review sites, brand stories and more.
Ecommerce growth in 2020
So what factors are driving eCommerce growth in 2020? The answer to this question in the past would have been convenience.
However, most recently and in the year 2020 in particular, it is essentially safety –personal safety and no longer just convenience.
Although there are also people who enjoy walking through the aisles in the malls, for many people that is a waste of time.
They on the other hand prefer to order what they need from the comfort of their home and have them delivered to you stress free!
So one can then imagine what happened when there was restriction of movement in many parts of the world and people still needed basics like groceries.
The only option open to people became remote ordering or simply relying on eCommerce offerings from their retailers.
This new direction has positively and irreversibly impacted the industry and driving new trends.
The first half of 2020 has brought tremendous growth to eCommerce in general with some specific categories benefiting more than others.
In a recent McKinsey report, “by some estimates [in the US], we have vaulted ten years ahead in consumer and business digital penetration in less than three months”. See graph below
What this means is that within a three months period earlier this year, eCommerce experienced a level of growth and penetration so much that we achieved a level that should have taken ten years!
If indications are right, this is only just the beginning.
As we have already noted, many experts feel these changes are irreversible –in other words, they are here to stay.
Businesses must brace for and prepare for the impact of these developments, or be swept aside.
Ecommerce trends 2020 –GARTNER
Key industry researchers such as Gartner, share similar sentiments and have expressed same recently.
Commenting on the next phase of digital commerce trends, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner, forecasts that, digital commerce will get more intelligent and personal.
This particular ecommerce trend is almost being born out of necessity.
Just imagine regular brick and mortar shoppers who would normally need to touch a product, see it and flip around as they make their buying decisions, now having to make same decisions by looking at a still picture!
That must be scary many customers with the fear that they may not like what they eventually get when the online order arrives.
Don’t blame them.
A common known fact is that building trust is one of the most difficult thing to achieve by online shoppers.
Added to this, the fact that many of the people who are now forced to shop online are first timers (some of them are the baby boomers) who are now having their first online shopping experiences.
It now behooves the retailers to look for ways and means to give the same (or at least) close experiences to the way traditional shoppers who visited the shops did it.
When we are looking at the future eCommerce landscape, it’s a fairly mature market with established players such as Amazon and a tried and tested formula.
However, this impression of consumer giants heading the pack can be misleading.
The digital transformation is not over yet and is unlikely to ever come to a halt, driven in part by the ongoing flow of innovation coming from numerous start-ups.
Let’s take a look at some of the emerging trends that all eCommerce entrepreneurs need to focus on if they are looking to grow and remain relevant in 2021 and beyond.
The Info-graphics below shows a number of eCommerce growth trends to look out for in the very near future. In fact we are already seeing many of them shaping the eCommerce landscape. We will sure be witnessing many of these in the coming years.
Recommerce is flourishing as many retailers are tapping into second-hand partners to implement a for a more sustainable future.
Due to the seriousness of overextended landfill, the fashion industry and other eCommerce retailers are seeking more sustainable processes to continue the lifecycle of pre-worn garments and other products.
Also, many of the well-known luxury brands are strengthening their relationships with the second-hand market, giving a high-end product reach to a much wider audience than ever before.
Voice assistants are becoming ever more available in our daily lives and Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Assistant are growing more and more popular.
It’s predicted by experts that there will be a staggering 8 billion devices with voice assistants in them by 2023.
According to the above research, commerce centered around these smart voice applications is expected to grow to an astonishing 40 billion by 2022.
So those retailers with their finger on the pulse of this innovative way of consuming will ensure they are remaining competitive.
Right from cleaner more sleek website designs, the 2020 and beyond consumer is looking for simplicity.
Customers want to see great simple designs right from the product, through to the packaging as more emphasis is placed on functionality and longevity than throwaway.
The evolving role of social media
The influence of social media in our everyday lives is increasing daily and continues to influence eCommerce.
Facebook’s ‘Buy’ button and Instagram’s checkout, for example, give customers far more purchase options than ever before.
Social media is a powerful tool for eCommerce websites and is ever more relevant as more and more people are running much of their lives through social media.
Many of the well known social media sites have all the backend tools in place to let customers share products and recent purchases with friends and followers through just a single click.
Many of the digital giants such as Twitter and Gmail have been harnessing the power of PWA technology for some considerable time.
Alongside the functionality, PWA also allows a wealth of other important and useful features for E-commerce business such as notifications, offline support, and much more.
Environmental awareness and CSR
The new upcoming consumer that all brands want a piece of is Gen z. They not only have a huge influence on eCommerce as a whole but also crucially influence the shopping habits of the older generations around them.
They expect brands to not only deliver on quality but also expect their favourite brands to actively add to society as a whole.
This no-nonsense cohort is far more likely to buy goods where the brands are socially or environmentally aware.
According to Forbes, millennials the older brothers and sisters of Gen Z’s want ‘stories, not things’.
The outdoor gear brand Cotopaxi, who offer ethical outdoor clothing, donates 1% of its annual revenue to charity.
This philanthropic move has seen them fast-tracked to a million-dollar company within the first 2 years of inception.
There is also a growing demand about social accountability where corporations are strongly now expected to take a stand on may social issues that their employees have now found important to them.
Very significantly, there is a growing demand by employees for merchants to stand for inclusion, equality and empathy for other social causes.
This was evident in a recent survey where McKinsey found that overall, employers are missing out on about 39% of employees because these would-be employees felt their workplaces were not inclusive.
See graph below
In fact, in another recent McKinsey report. CEOs are now being asked that if they are to survive going forward, they must reimagine the new normal not just as “a return to what we had before” but as a reset.
Dynamic pricing environment
To keep relevant in the eCommerce incredibly competitive playing field, businesses hoping to see growth will need to make sure they:
- Adopt robust dynamic pricing technology and strategies.
- Regularly track their competitors’ prices
- Effectively analyze seasonal and historical product demand
- React to this data swiftly
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With eCommerce businesses under constant pressure to create outstanding high-quality content with less and less available budget, many are discovering the true value of repurposed content.
By either changing the format or the target audience, retailers and other eCommerce entrepreneurs can get a double whammy out of time-consuming and budget draining content.
By repurposing existing content and identifying any soundbites still relevant to share on social media, for example, it’s possible to get more value from previous content.
Chatbots improving shipping experiences
A chatbot is a computer program that simulates a conversation with human users and fulfills some or all of the following services:
- Completes cart transactions
- Recommend products
- Provide customer support
With chatbots able to cut production costs by a huge 30% it’s easy to see why they are an emerging trend that those involved in any kind of online sales would be wise to consider.
Chatbots also help drive sales. For instance, the clothing retail giant H&M created a chatbot on Kik that asks users questions about their style and offers photo options for users to select.
With this information, the bot creates a fashion profile of each user to make outfit suggestions and direct the user to purchase the clothing.
So now we’ve seen the brief takeaway as to some of the emerging e-commerce trends retailers of all kinds need to be aware of as we approach the future. Let’s finish on why it’s crucial to embrace new technologies and innovations in the world of ECommerce.
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eCommerce is the driving factor behind the shopping evolution.
eCommerce has brought the shopping experience to customers’ fingertips via computers and mobile devices, completely changing the way consumers shop.
To remain a player in this highly competitive market, it will be those businesses who initiate significant changes to marketing strategies and embrace these emerging eCommerce trends for 2021 and beyond who will be leading the way forwards in this highly competitive market place.
So what do you think?
Are there eCommerce trends not mentioned here you have observed and would like to discuss?
You can share in the comments below.
Ecommerce Trends FAQ
- Are there only 9 eCommerce trends in 2020?
No there are many more eCommerce growth trends but we have selected 9 of the most prominent
- Which of these 9 eCommerce trends will have the most impact in 2020 and beyond?
Although it is difficult to point to any one particular trend as being the most impactful, one can argue that the impact of Social media evolution which is driving environmental awareness and CSR in unprecedented manners are high up the list of the most impactful
- Will Voice Search replace regular text search?
Voice search and by extension voice commerce is going to become more and more the preferred shopping method by customers. Google’s mobile-first approach is also one of the major drivers of this trend
- Are we going to see a decline in the tremendous growth of commerce that we have noticed in 2020?
If indications are anything to go by, the trend is expected to continue in the near future. The fact that many brick and mortar retail shops are closing for good means are driving customers to eCommerce alternatives to meet their shopping needs