We’ve already taken a look at the trends which had a huge impact on the ecommerce landscape in 2019. It’s important to understand them and get them working for you, but what’s even more crucial is identifying the trends that will drive purchases and profits in 2020. So let’s put down the eggnog and dive into the trends likely to shake up your industry next year. If a glimpse of the future could save a hopeless scoundrel like Scrooge, imagine what it can do for you!
1) Customer Experience At The Forefront
Of course, this is #1, as it should be for every business. We’ve all experienced a snooty barista or a cold soup which pushed us to take our business elsewhere. But we rarely connect real-world experiences like these to our online sales platforms. Our new reality is that customers expect more from brands than they ever have before, while the internet has offered them a seemingly endless variety of options for any product they’re interested in.
One of your primary focuses in this area should be creating a frictionless path to purchase that allows customers to easily buy whatever they want from wherever they are, and either pick it up or have it delivered to their homes and offices. You want to eliminate unnecessary steps from the process of buying your products, and ensure that your standard for service, from customer care to delivery and returns, is as good as anyone in your industry.
Another area to focus on here is finding the right balance in customer interactions. Chatbots and AI can instantly give you a leg up in customer service, but finding the right blend of personalization, human contact, and warmth in these interactions will be a key differentiator between success and failure. Talking to robots will help your clients get what they need promptly, but they don’t want the interactions to feel robotic.
2) The User Experience Disruption Paradox
If there’s anyone out there who doesn’t hate internet advertising, we’ve yet to meet them. Pop-ups have always been met with groans, and videos are even less popular, if such a thing is possible. But some companies are trying to find ways to make internet advertising palatable to today’s consumer. Good-Loop is one such example. Rather than using the stick of not seeing what you’re looking for until you take your marketing medicine, they incentivize the consumer to watch by allowing them to direct 50% of the advertising revenue to a worthy cause. So far Good-Loop has experienced success, with higher viewing rates than regular ads, and rave reviews from brands and the public!
Another way to work around consumer distaste is to gamify your campaigns. According to one study, gamified ads raised engagement by over 7x compared to regular advertising, producing much higher click-through rates. Even if you’re not up to producing games, offering quizzes, surveys, and other forms of content that can offer entertainment in exchange for attention are another way to keep your marketing from drawing the ire of consumers.
3) New Ways To Search
Google Lens has the power to change the way we find and engage with content on the internet. It can be accessed in your photos, it’s an icon on your Google Assistant, and it can be downloaded as an app for any smartphone. Lens’ visual search capabilities can allow you to instantly translate text from another language by fixing your camera on it. It can show you actual pictures of the dishes on a menu, or the species of the bird in your backyard. It will also allow you to find furniture or clothes that you bring into focus on your smartphone. This has the potential to give consumers vastly more information in a much shorter window of time, information that will drive eCommerce purchases.
Voice search might seem like old news, but it’s poised to surge forward in 2020. Experts estimate that 30% of all internet searches will be conducted via voice this year, and 55% of American teens report that they use the feature every day. As the public grows more comfortable with accessing the internet in this manner, ecommerce through voice will likely follow suit. 2020 is the year to optimize your platform for a new way of doing business.
4) Leveraging Data
Hyper-personalization was added to the marketing lexicon in 2019, and in 2020 it will be on everyone’s lips. What makes this type of personalized marketing new is that it harnesses AI and real-time data to provide content, product information, deals, and services that are tailored to seamlessly fit the consumer’s life. This extra information allows brands to offer things that are actually useful and helpful to you. If you’re up early and walking past a Starbucks, you might get offered a coupon, or a free size upgrade. A snack brand you like might send you a free sample of a new treat that speaks directly to your palate. Hyper-personalization is different from personalization in that it analyzes purchase history, tastes, preferences, and recent searches to offer customized rewards, send push notifications at a time you’re likely to purchase, and create an individualized homepage for you just like Netflix and Spotify do.
5) Shoppable Social Commerce
The past year saw a number of interesting startups attempt to merge eCommerce and social media within the fashion industry. Storr and Mespoke are two examples of sites that connect influencers and brands to offer shoppable social “stores” that allow users to buy products endorsed by their favorite fashionistas (who earn a commission from brands or retailers). This trend is primed to spread to other industries, with parent bloggers, chefs, and pet experts poised to reap the profits of shoppable Instagram and new sites focused on specific industries.
6) Experiential Marketing
We often get caught up in technological innovation and forget that most people spend the majority of their time off-line. One of the best ways to differentiate your brand in 2020 will be to offer unique experiences to users who are out and about in the real world. Companies like Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Busch have launched immersive pop-up bars in unique environments. Sears put gigantic versions of their holiday wish book on the streets of major cities. Ariana Grande won rave reviews for her perfume pop-up shop in London this year. Or you could create an immersive, augmented reality fueled experience like SK-II did in the streets of Tokyo’s trendy Shibuya district. If you can design a unique experience for consumers (and one that will make them want to post pictures on social), you can set yourself apart from the barrage of online advertising consumers see every day, and find a place in their hearts.
How To Have A Happy New Year
No one can say definitively what the coming year will bring, but you can be confident that these 6 trends will have a serious impact on the ecommerce landscape in 2020. If you’re curious about how your brand can ride these waves, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Adimo!