2020 is already speeding by, and the eCommerce industry is emerging at a rapid pace to match its progress. Here are just a few of the trends that will shape online retail over the course of the year which no site worth it’s salt can afford to overlook.
Social shopping is gaining traction
Various social media platforms have integrated eCommerce features, with a third of consumers already opting to make purchases through the likes of Instagram and Facebook.
This is good news for retailers and brands alike, as it means that there is even more reason to focus on creating compelling content for social media since this could encourage clicks and conversions without having to worry about perfecting separate landing pages.
AI is on the rise
The era of artificial intelligence-enhanced customer service is upon us, with a growing number of eCommerce sites adding chatbots to answer customer questions quickly and accurately.
This will take off further in 2020 since studies suggest that the majority of consumers are now more willing to trust automated support solutions, whereas there was previously widespread skepticism surrounding their effectiveness. For retailers that have yet to adopt them, taking online courses on machine learning to understand how AI is influencing this sector and why it is getting better with time is sensible.
Personalization is a paramount concern
Whether you are catering to site visitors, targeting existing customers with email campaigns, leveraging SMS marketing to attract new users or responding to queries sent via social media, making people feel like they are getting a bespoke experience when engaging with your brand is more important than ever this year. Some reports have found that almost three-quarters of consumers will not be won over by marketing messages unless they are conspicuously personalized, even if there is also a growing call for tighter controls over how user data is deployed by the sites they visit and the brands they engage with.
Ecommerce firms will need to tread a fine line between optimal personalization and making sure users feel like their information is properly protected.
Sustainability is a selling point
Eco-friendliness used to be a fringe issue in the world of eCommerce, but with growing awareness surrounding climate change and the carbon footprint of the retail sector has made sustainability a mainstream matter.
Consumers are clamoring for the companies they shop with to address potentially problematic practices across the board, from the sourcing of the materials used to make products to the recyclability of the packaging they are contained within.
The sustainability of home delivery services is also under increased scrutiny, not just from an emissions point of view but also because of the way that this can impact congestion. The firms that prove they are making changes to processes and going green will be best placed to appeal to shoppers in 2020.
AR is a viable option
Augmented reality has been around for years now, but it is only just starting to be adopted in any meaningful way in the retail space. High profile examples of AR deployment in consumer-facing services including the recent launch of a new in-app feature by flat-pack furniture giant IKEA. Customers can now use their smartphones to get a preview of what products will look like in their own homes, using 3D modeling and built-in cameras to help them make a decision without actually having to visit a bricks and mortar store.
AR is also being embraced in the fashion retail market, with apps allowing customers to get a fitting room experience on the move. This could save eCommerce sites a lot of cash as well since it means that users will not have to order several different versions of the same garment to see which is the best fit since they can work this out in an instant with AR.
An omnichannel approach will work wonders
Pure play online retailers may have changed the retail market forever and caused problems for their bricks and mortar competitors, but there are signs that even the biggest brands may be coming round to the idea that omnichannel is the way to go.
The fact that Amazon is planning to open even more real-world outlets is the main indicator that being able to serve customers effectively online and in-store delivers the best results.