The COVID pandemic has shifted e-commerce in 2020, maybe more than any other time in history. Traditional retail sales have declined but e-commerce has seen a 129% year-over-year growth in U.S. and Canadian orders as of April 21st, with an impressive 146% growth in all online retail orders. Most, if not all, brick and mortar stores have taken their businesses online to survive the pandemic. As a result, U.S. e-commerce sales will hit a projected $709.78 billion in 2020, or about 14.5% of total U.S. retail sales, up from $601.65 billion, or about 11% of total retail sales, since 2019. That is the biggest jump in the e-commerce share of retail sales in a single year, Andrew Lipsman, principal analyst with eMarketer, said inthe research.
Across the world, people are shifting buying habits and the lockdown has even hit boomers by forcing them to shop online – some for the first time. COVID has accelerated the e-commerce industry’s growth and more businesses are joining the e-commerce business revolution than ever before. Companies that previously embraced the e-commerce trend have already experienced expansion, in the midst of retail shrinking. By the end of 2020, global e-commerce sales are expected to reach $4.2 trillion, explained in a report by the e-commerce behemoth Shopify. But, creating a website and selling your products isn’t that easy. The cash won’t just flow in once you hit publish on that new Shopify site. The competition is getting steeper and online shopping behaviors are changing faster than ever before.
The changing economy calls for keeping up with emerging e-commerce trends to cut through the noise, get noticed, and attract customers. Here are three trends experts are paying attention to.
Personalized Commerce Is the Next Frontier
Successful e-commerce companies are leveraging personalization technology to give consumers a customized experience. Delivering personal experiences on e-commerce sites is achieved by dynamically showing content, product recommendations, and specific offers based on browsing behavior, previous actions, prior purchase history, customer demographics, and other enriched personal data. As compared to traditional retail, e-commerce doesn’t include a retail salesperson to recommend products based on interest, preferences, or taste. Human touch-points provide many opportunities to beat out the competition. And, that is the magic of personalization – mimicking what a consumer’s in-store experience would be, through a personalized customer journey online.
Data is at the forefront of this operation. Social media platforms and search engine tracking tools let you extract tons of personal data about your visitors and buyers, such as search queries, page visits, purchase history, and more. “Personalization is the missing ingredient to a successful online shopping experience and will be key to 2020 and the future of e-commerce,” says Juha Valvanne, Founder of Nosto, a tech platform that delivers personalized e-commerce experiences.
Customers spend 48% more when their shopping experience is personalized. Plus, 57% of online shoppers are comfortable with sharing their personal information with a brand if it benefits their shopping experience.
When personalized is done right, a customer will feel like you’re reading their mind. This emotional response generates a sense of loyalty. To achieve the highest ROI, retailers need to embrace and make personalized commerce a reality for their consumers’ shopping experience.
Social commerce is selling products directly through social media. It differs from social media marketing because you’re not redirecting users to an online shop, but giving them the ability to checkout directly within the network they’re using at that moment. Social commerce paired with influencer marketing is a recipe for increased sales. Many businesses are already focusing on influencer marketing through sponsored content partnerships with micro and macro-influencers. As much online gripe there is about influencer marketing, the trend isn’t slowing down as it is still a very effective tactic.
In 2020 and beyond, the trend will continue to grow and evolve as 65% of influencer marketing budgets will increase this year alone. And 7% of companies are planning to invest over a million dollars per year towards this strategy. Influencer marketing and celebrity endorsements have been around since the dawn of social media, but the key is to garner celebrities and people with massive followings to endorse products at a more affordable level, combined with social commerce to drive sales directly from social.
To stay ahead of the game, brands often partner with well-known celebrities for sponsored social media posts. We can expect this trend to continue and evolve through 2020 and beyond.
We all have been there – you like a product, but you’re not sure if what you’re seeing on the site is what you will get when you make a purchase. Long story short, you hesitate from hitting the purchase button and the shop loses a consumer.
In 2020 online reviews are not enough to convince a customer to buy a product. Modern consumers need to trust the company, product and experience before purchasing. That’s why high-resolution images matter in e-commerce sales. But static images are no longer enough, either. Consumers demand more, such as 360-degree viewing images that let potential buyers view all angles of the product.
Getting ahead of trends and harnessing the latest technologies can help e-commerce brands drive sales, attract new customers, and increase market share.