eCommerce has taken the retail world by storm. The growth of eCommerce throughout the world has been stupendous; it certainly seems here to stay. Surprisingly, eCommerce trends even appears to have a promising market in third-world countries. Of course, there are still a lot of untapped opportunities in online retail, which means there’s still huge potential for growth.

The world of eCommerce changes every year with new trends and growth milestones. As customers and businesses settle into the prevalence of online retail, their preferences and procedures change for the better. As a result, eCommerce trends are in a constant state of flux. Although the basic principles of eCommerce remain the same, trends such as web design, B2B sales, and marketing are changing with the expansion of the industry.

Statistics show that online sales across the world amounted to $3.3 trillion in 2019. Experts predict that this figure will grow to $4.5 trillion in 2020. The top five countries leading the online retail charge are:

  • China - $656.3 billion
  • U.S. - $ 500.47 billion
  • U.K. - $83.83 billion
  • Japan - $78.64 billion
  • Germany - $68.01 billion

Another important driver of eCommerce growth is what’s known as mobile commerce. Purchasing through mobile is becoming increasingly common in younger generations, and mobile sales are expected to total 42.9% of all US online retail in 2020.

2020 is gearing up to be a banner year for eCommerce. Buyers are becoming more knowledgeable about online retail and are demanding more from eCommerce merchants. They don’t just want to see a picture and buy a product anymore. They want to be able to experience it and they want personalized attention from retailers. As a result, 2020 is set to be a year where the user experience will drive eCommerce trends. Below are some of the trends you’ll want to take note of.

Voice search is all the rage

Browsers and web searches are no longer the sole drivers of online retail. Gone are the days when traffic on a platform was dependent on them. However, this doesn’t mean that their importance to eCommerce has diminished. Instead, the trends indicate changes in the way they’re used.

In 2020, at least 50% of all web searches will be done by voice. Voice searches are very common these days thanks to AI and home technology like Alexa and Siri, and Google Home. In 2016, it was predicted that 2020 would be the year that voice would be the main driver of web searches. The trend has slowly been taking hold over the last few years and users have been groomed to use it. It’s important to note that voice searches will change SEO techniques as they’ll need to be adapted to be more receptive to natural language and questions.

Mobile commerce is the way forward

Mobile commerce, or buying and selling through smartphones, is another trend that’s been on the horizon for a few years now. As the younger generation prefers to use mobile phones, it’s crucial for all eCommerce businesses to have mobile-ready websites. In 2020, this trend will go a step further.

Mobile apps are becoming a compulsory part of any good eCommerce strategy for retailers. They’re the magic touch businesses need if they want to stay competitive in coming years. This is because mobile apps are twice as fast as websites, and also work offline and encourage purchases with push notifications. They’re an easy way for buyers and sellers to reach each other.

Use Augmented reality for a futuristic approach

Augmented reality is slowly moving into different parts of our lives. Its impact on industry, manufacturing, and education shouldn’t be underestimated. However, eCommerce is also being revolutionized by this technology. Augmented reality has been used by many businesses to enhance the user experience. It’s one of the eCommerce US trends that’s set to be big in 2020. It makes shopping fun and visual for potential customers and can help decrease the number of product returns.

Business giants like Ikea and Sephora have been using AR with their apps for awhile now. With them, you can see what Ikea furniture would look like in your home before buying it. Similarly, Sephora allows customers to try on makeup before purchasing it. Tap Painter is another example - it lets you see what your walls will look like before buying paint for your home.                    

Customizable and personalizable products

Customers want unique products that no one else will have. That’s why another popular eCommerce UX trend for 2020 is customization and personalization. Offer your customers the ability to change the colors or patterns of the products they buy, or perhaps add a monogram. This way, the customer feels like the item has been exclusively designed for them.

Nike lets buyers create their own combination of colors and laces to make bespoke footwear. Another good example is car manufacturer Nissan, which lets customers elect the engine model, color, and accessories for their cars. The buyer feels like he’s assembling a car just for themselves - the impact on sales is massive.

Exclusive customers through subscriptions

The latest eCommerce trends focus on making the customer feel that they’re important. Exclusive products and discounts for subscription customers result in an increase in loyal customers. But this isn’t something totally new or out of the box. eCommerce trends in 2019 included a similar approach.

It’s not hard to understand why customers like to feel as though they’re exclusive members of a special club that gets better discounts and offers by subscribing to your brand or website. For example, they would love to have the chance to pre-order new products before other regular customers. Exclusive, subscription customers consider themselves privileged and this encourages brand loyalty.

Visual 3D modelling

This trend is another way of enhancing the user experience. By offering the customer a 3D visual of the product, they’ll get a better sense of what they’re buying. The result? A better shopping produce and increased sales conversions. Online shopping is challenging for customers because in traditional, brick-and-mortar retail, they can see the product, touch it, and then decide to buy it. Since that can’t be done in eCommerce retail, returns are a hazard of the industry. 3D modelling is one of the eCommerce UX trends that retailers can capitalize on to encourage fewer returns.

Porsche is a fine example of this visual approach. With their 3D modelling technology, you can see the car from all sides, as if you’re walking about the car yourself. Another example is Walmart. You can select any product on their website and enlarge it to see the details of the item. This feature is actually more common than the more innovative 3D visual modelling.

This approach is another way of enhancing the user experience. Offering the customer a 3D visual of the product will facilitate the shopping process. Online shopping is difficult for the customer as in brick and mortar retail, they can see the product with their eyes, touch it and then buy it. Since that cannot be done in eCommerce retail, returns are in large numbers. The 3D model is one of the eCommerce UX trends that is a step towards fewer returns.

Pre-sale marketing complemented by long sales

If you don’t get a good response to your sales, then you need to take a step back and figure out what went wrong. The usual reasons are that you didn’t have effective pre-sale marketing or the timeline was too short for a good response. Start your pre-sale marketing well ahead of the sale season and use an omni-channel approach. For example, you could begin your Christmas sale marketing just after Halloween.

With regards to the timeframe of your sale, you should offer the discounts for at least a month. It’s also important to keep in mind when most people get their salaries and bonuses for the holiday season - that’s when they’ll have the money to spend on your sale.

Content-based Promotion

Content is a very important factor in your promotions. The eCommerce trends for the coming year puts more emphasis on using content to promote your business. Blogs and reviews are considered very important for online businesses. B2B eCommerce trends are also moving in this direction.

Customers are more interested in your products if their reviews are good or if they’ve been recommended by people who have already used it. Similarly, a blog about the product is considered more reliable by the customer than traditional advertising. So, the latest eCommerce trends include using content as a powerful marketing tool.

Identify your target audience through Big Data

The most important part of any business is identifying your target audience. You need to know who you’re selling to before deciding how to sell to them. The audience will shape your whole business approach.

Many large and small businesses using big data to identify the buying behavior of the target market. Big data processes huge amounts of random information (or data) through tools and different methods to derive structured, actionable results. It can help you identify not only your target audience, but also their behaviors and attributes. And this can help you make better business decisions.

Use AI for customer support

AI is already taking over a lot of jobs that were previously done by humans. Customer support is one example. Using AI for customer service not only helps streamline the process for businesses but also provides a better experience for the customer. With AI, businesses can offer 24/7 customer support. Responses are faster as all the systems are interlinked so it’s easier for the right information to be found quickly.

In fact, AI has become so advanced that most of the time customers don’t even realize they’re not talking to a human. AI works better with big data and website building, too.

Social media for sales

The latest eCommerce trends include selling through social media. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook now support eCommerce transactions by helping customers decide whether to buy a product. Some 25 percent of business owners already use Facebook to facilitate sales. Many are doing the same on Instagram. In fact, the impact of social media on retail is so huge that 87 percent of consumers look to social media for reviews about the product as they think they’ll get the best information that way. Additionally, 30 percent of customers want to be able to buy directly from social media. This is the reason why selling directly through Facebook and Instagram is becoming very common.

B2B should have service features like B2C

B2B eCommerce trends are changing, too. In 2020, B2B retailers will start to shape their services so that they’re more in line with the B2C model. B2B businesses will focus on network technologies and understanding the customers and businesses they sell to. This way, they can better cater to their customers.

Businesses purchasing from you will want a simple shipping and shipping procedure without lots of paperwork. So, you need to streamline your systems into a few easy, understandable steps so that you can facilitate quick purchases.

Stay Ahead of the Curve in 2020!

eCommerce is growing by leaps and bounds every year. New trends are inevitable and staying ahead of the curve is the key to success. The eCommerce trends for 2020 mainly revolve around the enhancement of the user experience. How can you make shopping an easy, enjoyable experience for your customers? How can you help your customers see and feel your products as they would in real life? These are some of the questions any smart online retailer should be asking in 2020.
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