5 Ecommerce Trends to Implement for Your Business in 2020

We’re nicely into 2020 and it’s time for a little bit of reflection on last year. What follows are 19 things that changed ecommerce forever in 2019.

As a general rule, customers always go for the easier fix in life. And since online shopping is becoming easier than ever, we’ve seen a growth in ecommerce. For instance, in 2019 just over a quarter of the world’s population shopped on the Internet. That amounts to more than 2.05 billion buyers. By 2021, that number is estimated to reach over 2.14 billion.

With these numbers growing rapidly, and with new technology developing just as fast, companies are constantly working to stay on top of every emerging trend. And if they don’t, they could be in for a nasty surprise come the next financial year. 

So taking this into consideration, we’ve pulled together five ecommerce trends for 2020 that you won’t want to miss out on. Indeed, take note and you might just make it. 

One: Mobile Shopping & Mobile Payments

Mobile commerce has been around for a while, and for good reason. According to GrowCode, between 50% and 55% of e-commerce traffic now comes from mobile consumers. In the US alone, an average user spends more than four hours per day on their smartphone. Four out of five of them shop online, and more than 50% of them do it using a mobile device. 

Because of this rise in smartphone usage over the years, businesses have been optimizing their websites to be more mobile-friendly, as well as creating customer-focused apps to give their users the best service possible. One such service is simplifying payment procedures. You see, the one-click-buying system has been one of the latest trends in eCommerce, combined with e-wallets quickly gaining popularity.

By collecting and storing customer data like purchasing habits and payment information, e-wallets allow users to pay with a single click. This reduces wait time by removing the need for customers to key in the same information every time they purchase, while also keeping their personal information safe.  In China, third party online service provider Alipay boasts over 100 million daily transactions and over 520 million active users. Its e-wallet, Alipay Wallet, which includes a mobile app that Chinese shoppers can use both at home and abroad, is now being used in over 80,000 retail stores worldwide.  

Larger companies like Amazon have also used this technology to prioritize regular customers. By launching its own online payment option (Amazon Pay), the company offers a quicker service and encourages customer loyalty. In fact, Amazon takes this one step further with Amazon Prime, a loyalty program that reduces delivery to 1 day without a minimum purchase. 

With mobile shopping and mobile payment to reach 54% of all sales by 2021, this eCommerce trend will give buyers a simpler, more efficient shopping experience, while building customer loyalty.

Two: Social Commerce Through Instagram

With more than half a billion monthly active users and over half a million advertisers, Instagram is quickly becoming one of the most relevant platforms for social commerce. You see, Instagram has been introducing numerous features that have been improving customer service, alongside its visual content. With its recent addition of shoppable posts, users who see products they like can now shop directly within the Instagram app. 

Yes, customers can finish the entire buying process on one platform all the way to checkout. This reduces the risk of cart abandonment due to needing to switch apps or sign in to a different website. And with 90% of Instagram users already following a business account, it’s easier for customers to come across products and companies they like on a regular basis, increasing the chances of sales. 

The platform has also been using this feature to utilize some of their biggest advertisers: social media influencers. A survey shows that 80% of marketers claim influencer-generated posts performed the same or even better than brand-generated posts. Influencers drive many customers to visit business accounts, but used to only be able to link them in their bios. But now high profile influencers can also use the shoppable tags on their personal pages and send customers straight to the store’s Instagram checkout. 

Not only have 41% of marketers saved budget on content creation by tapping influencers, customers also find the experience more relatable. And with customers being able to shop directly from influencers’ accounts, businesses are able to reach different demographics more often. 

Another advertising tool that Instagram offers for businesses is Stories. You see, Instagram Stories have risen quickly in popularity, with half a billion accounts – including some of the world’s biggest brands – using it everyday. Tools on Stories, like polls and questions, allow customers to have direct participation and engagement with brands, encouraging brand awareness and loyalty. 

This would, for example, come between two posts for a story, interrupting the user as they swipe through a video or photo stream. Due to such updates, a lot more companies are placing Instagram high on their priority list of trends to invest in for the coming years.

Three: AR Experiences

Augmented Reality (AR), unlike Virtual Reality (VR) does not change our surroundings but rather augments them. It adds images, videos, and graphics to the real world, which has made it a growing trend in eCommerce. 

Japanese-based retail chain Uniqlo introduced AR in-store to help improve customer experience in 2012. They launched a fitting room with a mirror and LCD screen that let customers virtually fit items by overlaying different colors on clothing pieces. This removed the stress of physically trying on several items, and allowed customers to make the best choice with the least effort. 

Eventually other companies like Gap and Adidas followed suit, placing trial rooms in their own stores. But it was Swedish multinational, Ikea, that recently took this trend to eCommerce with the launch of its AR catalog app. Ikea built the app with Apple’s ARKit to be able to function on any iOS device. 

The app allows users to digitally place furniture in their homes to scale, removing the need to physically measure the area or the item before purchase. It also makes it easier for customers to visualize how the item will look within the space. This eliminates both customer and merchant stress by reducing the chances of product exchanges or returns. And it also improves the overall furniture buying experience.

Furthermore augmented reality has recently been expanded to be utilized in a warehouse management system. The technology has become so advanced that it is now being used to help with warehouse planning, inventory management and order picking. Thus allowing warehouse operatives to operate much more efficiently.

So by using AR, businesses can provide high level interaction with their customers by giving them a more personalised and immersive shopping experience.

Four: Chatbots

Chatbots have been one of the biggest Artificial Intelligence (AI) trends to hit eCommerce in the past year. In fact, Business Insider estimates that 80% of businesses will be using the software on their platforms this year. 

With 45% of customers making messaging apps their primary choice for customer service inquiries, chatbots can do so much more now than just help consumers find products. 

For its client-focused functions, chatbots can now handle everything from product FAQs, to personalized product recommendation, to delivery booking, to shipment following. Customers can communicate using messaging apps through the entire purchasing process, making each step faster and simpler. 

Businesses can even use chatbots in their internal operations. For example, a supply chain chatbot within an inventory management system can handle both multichannel and warehouse inventory management, reducing human error and increasing productivity.

As previously mentioned above, a high percentage of online purchases are made with mobile devices. It only follows that the vast majority of these users will use mobile apps to communicate with the businesses they follow as well. By implementing chatbots in business, it places companies where consumers are most frequently found, increasing both brand visibility and purchase rates. 

Furthermore, chatbots and other automated answering systems are commonplace in cloud PBX systems. Systems such as these are now being implemented across many businesses in order for automated software to take the brunt of customer service calls. Therefore taking strain off customer service teams and operators and allowing queries to be delegated to the correct departments.

Five: Voice Commerce

With the growing popularity of personal assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, users of voice-controlled devices are predicted to reach 8 billion by 2023. 

Indeed, voice-enabled technology has become so in demand, that companies are working to implement this trend into voice-commerce as well. 

According to Consumer Intelligence Rewrite Partners, Amazon and Google sold 27 million voice devices in the U.S. This study found that 29 percent of Echo and Google Home owners tended to shop through voice, and 41 percent more are planning to do the same in the future.

To illustrate what voice commerce looks like today, Amazon currently has over 60,000 smart home devices running about 90,000 different applications on Alexa. These applications are now capable of the following: 

  • Reordering – By simply using the voice command “Alexa, reorder the product”, Alexa can use your request history on Amazon to find the item you would like to purchase again. 
  • New items and deals – based on your stored data, Alexa can also recommend something new on “Amazon Choice”, as well as invite you to consider your deals for the day
  • Add to cart – Alexa can add items to your shopping cart if you have not yet decided to purchase something
  • Cancel or track order – With voice commands like “Alexa, cancel my order”, or “Alexa, where’s my stuff?” you can track your package without even typing in a tracking number

Voice enabled technology is designed to make shopping as simple and frictionless as possible. Although it is still in development,it is expected to grow in sales to $3.5 billion by 2022.

In Conclusion

The online retail industry continues to evolve. As a business owner, it’s essential to recognize these trends and where necessary put strategies in place to leverage the opportunities that they present. In this guide, we looked at five of the most important ecommerce trends this year.

The trends we looked at include mobile shopping and payments, social commerce, AR, chatbots, and voice commerce. Out of the trends listed in this article, AR offers the most potential for forward-thinking brands looking to take advantage of new markets. However, developing AR apps or tools will require significant investment. The other trends are things you can act on right now.

About the Author

Nick has been Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of BrightPearl since July 2019 and is responsible for EMEA Sales, Global Marketing and Alliances. Before joining Brightpearl, Nick was GM and Vice President of the EMEA Consumer business at Symantec and was responsible for a $500m revenue business.

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