ECommerce technology is always changing, eCommerce is always changing, the world is always changing—your business needs to keep up!
Before you know it, we’ll be in 2020 and with it will come new best-practices and eCommerce trends. In this blog, we’ll go through what eCommerce trends you can expect in 2020 so you can adapt your business accordingly.
Mobile Sales Will Continue to Increase
This has been a trend since mobile sales existed. Every year the importance of having a mobile-optimized site increases. More people are using smartphones to search for products, as mobile traffic rises so do mobile sales.
One important factor here is trust. Mobile payments are now more secure and many devices now support a range of payment methods. As a business it’s important you know what payment methods your consumers prefer; payment gateway incompatibility is no longer an excuse.
There are multiple different statistics claiming mobile makes up differing percentages of eCommerce sales. Different studies yield different results, the recurring statistic is that mobile sales account for at least half of all eCommerce sales. Ensuring mobile optimization is crucial and is a long-term investment.
Homepages Are No Longer in the Limelight
Don’t get me wrong, having a succinct, well designed, and easily understandable homepage is important. Homepages should be optimized so that new customers quickly feel at ease.
The fact is, modern eCommerce usually directs new leads to other internal pages- predominantly product or service pages. Why? Because being led straight to a product, article, or video provides a solution quicker. Internal pages now require more attention; they need to act as a positive representation of your entire website. Content on these pages need to be meaningful: customer queries should be answered and alternative solutions should be easy to navigate towards.
Your homepage is no longer the first impression of your site. Homepages are usually accessed by return customers who have typed in your website URL. These people are already familiar with your site and will quickly navigate towards internal pages you’re likely already promoting.
More Video Descriptions
Text is boring and seeing is believing. Modern consumers want to make a well informed purchase and video descriptions give a greater sensory insight into a product, even if the information is the same as what could be provided through text.
A good example are video descriptions in popular fashion sites. These sites now include videos of models wearing clothes. The model is purposely wearing the most common sizes of clothes so consumers gain a greater idea of how things will fit. The trend extends to a lot more than fashion, consumers want video descriptions for household appliances, personal electronics, tools, software, and personal care products.
Video descriptions encourage purchases and set you apart from your competitors. The quality of the video itself is another question. Is it another recycled generalised video that may as well be text or is it unique to your business and offering greater insight that others aren’t.
Offline Sales Are Making a Comeback
At the dawn of eCommerce we saw offline businesses switch to online. Now we are seeing online businesses open physical branches.
Why? Because it’s another avenue, it also reinforces that modern consumers want to make a well informed choice. Holding or seeing a product up close is the best information.
Physical stores are also attractive to environmentally concerned consumers who want to lower the carbon footprint that comes with shipping. Of course, this is only possible for stores that are located nearby.
Generic ads are the same as text descriptions, boring! Everyone does generic content, which means everyone looks the same. Consumers want authentic content, as it is more convincing.
When content is created external to your brand, it becomes so much more impactful. User-generated opinion comes with a layer of a trust. It’s also why it’s important to feature your business on any third-party review sites and give your customers plenty of opportunity to leave product or service reviews on-site.
Augmented Reality Products
This is going one step further than providing video descriptions. Augmented reality is an interactive experience that lets you see how a computer generated version of a product would look or fit in the real world. This is really useful when shopping online for furniture. You get to see what that couch looks like in your home as well as see if you’ll run into any measurement problems.
Voice search is beginning to be used more and more. Voice commerce is important to keep up with as it will likely have a huge impact on SEO. You can imagine how an increased use for voice search would affect how eCommerce sites optimize keywords, which will now have to be typical of voice search.
Compared to the past, where Siri was susceptible to mispronunciation jokes or limited to ironically being asked “what is the meaning of life?” voice search has now become very fast and is incredibly accurate. Voice search has extended beyond mobile phones, technology such as Google Home and Amazon Echo means that any searches can be done completely with voice commands. As eCommerce moves closer to a reality where PC users prefer voice search, businesses need to begin preparing now.
Chatbots need to cover all frequently answered questions. They should also be able to provide any general information about your eStore, i.e working hours, delivery, or payment methods. Chatbots are there 24/7 and are simply better than having customer questions go unanswered after business hours, and have become an expectation by consumers. Chatbots are a unique way of finding new customer information. Mostly, you get to see unique requests your customers are making, as well as any recurring queries need to be addressed.
Broader Social Media Presence
Some businesses still only have a Facebook page, others will stick to Instagram and Snapchat. The standard now is to have a larger social media presence that reflects the average amount of accounts that your customers will have. Other than your parents, how many people do you know that only have a Facebook account? Other channels are another opportunity to find leads, grow organic traffic, and venture into new, potentially more cost-effective advertisement.
Subscription models have become super popular recently. The trend reflects the tendency for younger customers who prefer to spend smaller amounts at a time, rather than making one large purchase—hence the success of payment services such as Afterpay or layby.
Furthermore, people enjoy the experience of subscription services, it’s something to look forward to and has added convenience. In 2020 we will see plenty of subscription services develop and best-practice for subscription models will change. Innovation that makes a subscription more valuable for a customer is what will set competitors apart.
Shopping cart abandonment continues to cost businesses huge amounts of revenue each year. There are times where abandonment cannot be avoided, some users simply wanted to plan out a purchase for later or envision their Christmas shopping six months in advance.
However, there are still many reasons within a business’s control that are encouraging cart abandonment. The first reason people bounce is due to eStores leaving out some costs until the final total is displayed, usually in the form of tax or shipping fees. In this case the user feels deceived, even if the new value wasn’t a problem, broken trust is. The second reason is being required to making a site account to make the purchase.
Pricing transparency and providing guest checkouts are two simple solutions to cart abandonment, but there are many different intricacies to consider, including abandoned cart followup emails. If you’d like more help dealing with abandoned carts, read this blog post about dealing with shopping cart abandonment from a development company called CodeClouds.
All of these trends have come about due to advancements in technology. Technology will continue to provide new ways of serving users. It’s up to you to figure out how you can take these trends, make them your own, and stand out amongst your competitors. With these technological developments we also see customer expectations change around trust and credibility. A business with a trustworthy foundation will find the most value from any of these trends.
It’s clear that there’s a lot of work and preparation to be done heading into the new year. But, don’t forget to take a break! Every now and then it’s important we remove ourselves from the internet and business. With so many new trends, it’s important you start the year refreshed rather than burnt out.