It’s safe to say that ecommerce is on the rise.
According to Statista, online sales are expected to hit a staggering 4.5 trillion next year, and that prediction was made before the COVID-19 crisis pushed buying trends in the favour of ecommerce.
From this prediction, it’s clear that now is the perfect time for brands to make sure that their websites attract consumers to their offering and, more importantly, keep them satisfied.
If you lack ecommerce experience, you’re probably feeling a little apprehensive about how you do this, but the answer is simple. To run a successful ecommerce business in 2020, you’ve got to keep up with the latest industry developments in order to stay ahead of the curve and your competitors.
In this blog, we will dissect 10 of the hottest ecommerce trends that will define the world of retail in 2020.
So, if you want to boost your sales and compete with ecommerce giants such as the likes of Glossier and Gymshark this year, you should read on.
Personalisation is Key
It’s difficult to put a price on the power of personalisation in ecommerce practices. But, imagine that you’re in a shoe store and are struggling to find your size in a pair of trainers you like.
You wander around searching for assistance, but when you eventually find somebody they’re unfriendly and unhelpful. This not only makes you feel lost, but it also leaves you feeling disappointed with your shopping experience and the brand as a whole.
An ecommerce site that fails to prioritise personalisation has a similar effect. If a consumer feels let down by your service, they will leave your website and resort to the next best option.
To ensure this isn’t the case with your brand, you must offer your customers a unique buying experience that makes them feel special. Say hello, create personalised best-seller lists and adapt your product reviews to include more filters.
Optimise Your Website for Voice Search
It’s no secret that voice search technology has become extremely popular over the last few years, as most households are now regularly using smart speakers and virtual assistants.
As it stands, this technology is predominantly used for browsing purposes, but over the next couple of years, it’s predicted that a large number of shoppers will be using their voices to purchase products from ecommerce websites.
To make successful voice transactions, consumers will need to describe key details of the products they wish to buy without actually seeing any pictures of them. As a result of this, brands will need to optimise their websites for voice search to give customers what they want.
Keep product descriptions simple, and put yourself in the shoes of the customer when crafting them. If you were ordering a product from your website today, what would you tell Siri to search for?
Increase Retention with Subscription Models
In an attempt to drive repeat sales, more and more brands are now offering their customers bespoke subscription plans.
As with all ecommerce trends and practices, personalisation is incredibly important in subscription-based models. A universal subscription for your entire customer base just isn’t enough.
To establish more meaningful connections with consumers, you should look to offer tailored subscription plans for a wide range of customer types. Instead of offering bolt-on subscription services, you should deliver perks such as free shipping, exclusive product launches and useful reminders to ensure your members never miss a beat.
First, understand what your customers want from a subscription and then execute on your research. This will help you to gain both loyalty and repeat custom, which are equal driving forces behind all successful brands.
Try-Before-You-Buy With AR
Innovations in augmented reality (AR) have been a prominent feature in the world of social media over the last few years, particularly on platforms such as Snapchat, Pinterest and Instagram, which allow users to interact with a variety of face ‘filters’.
Until now, one of the biggest drawbacks of shopping online has been the unknown of ordering a product without knowing what it will truly look like. Thanks to AR, though, consumers can now “try-before-they-buy”.
Brands like ASOS, who are utilising tools to allow customers to virtually try on their clothes, are reducing their return rate and helping website users to make better-informed choices.
Save Time & Resources With AI
Unlike AR, artificial intelligence (AI) is a technology that has been around for some time, although you wouldn’t really know it when looking at many ecommerce sites.
The power of AI can be used for several areas of ecommerce, from marketing to pricing, but it’s greatest assets lie within customer service.
In recent times, AI has proven that there is no longer a need for brands to waste time and resources on hiring customer service personnel, as chatbots are now in place to answer consumer queries within the blink of an eye.
To ensure you are providing users with the highest level of customer service, you need to be investing in AI services now, especially chatbot technology.
Bridge the Gap Between Online & Offline
Having a well-rounded marketing strategy is vital in today’s digitally-driven climate and brands must now be communicating with customers via an array of channels to make a real impact.
Whilst most ecommerce brands are providing several touchpoints for their consumers, which can range from social media ads to email newsletters, the majority are failing to see past digital channels.
In 2020, ecommerce brands should be looking to bridge the gap between online and offline experiences, where and when they possibly can.
A brand that has done this extremely well through the launch of pop-up stores and events across the world is Gymshark. By creating an omnichannel strategy that explores physical forms of communication, they have been able to connect with their followers on a much deeper level, which is what all brands strive for.
Look Beyond Standard Product Imagery
Have you ever ordered something that looked great on a model, but the opposite on you? Frustrating, huh?
To tackle this problem, you should look beyond standard product imagery and aim to explore other ways of presenting your products, such as user-generated-content (UGC) and influencer marketing.
UGC and influencer posts have become a common feature of social media accounts in recent years, but this style of content is yet to make its mark on ecommerce sites.
Shoppers are creatures of habit, who are constantly looking for social proofing before making purchases. People want to know what products look like on ‘real’ people in real situations, so when partnered with authentic reviews, UGC and influencer photos make the ultimate trust-building weapon.
Create a Memorable User Experience
One of the most important parts of ecommerce and one of our key ecommerce trends is creating a memorable user experience for your consumers, but for the right reasons. Through clever filtering and great design, the journey from landing page to checkout should be seamless.
Some of the latest trends to look out for when improving your user experience (UX) are allowing customers to use guest checkout and “buy now, pay later” systems, like Klarna.
Besides this, you should also remove surprise costs and look to provide users with the opportunity to sign into their social media accounts, as this will make the checkout process easier and will limit barriers to purchase.
Keep Up With the Latest Developments in Social Commerce
For many years now, social media has played a huge role in ecommerce and, thanks to the emergence of Shopify, brands have been able to access shoppers on the biggest social platforms via targeted ads.
Using social commerce as a way of boosting sales isn’t a new trend, but using TikTok, the video platform that has now been downloaded 2 billion times globally, is certainly something to make note of.
Although TikTok’s ecommerce services are currently in the test phase, it’s safe to say that this is an advertising platform which brands should keep their eye on in the months to come.
Build Your Brand Through Storytelling
Finally, to ensure that customers keep coming back for more, you should be aiming to build empathy for your brand through the use of emotive storytelling.
Similar to AR, telling stories through engaging visual content has become a stalwart feature of social media accounts over time, but this art form appears to be underused by brands when it comes to ecommerce.
Going forward, don’t just view your website as a place for shoppers to buy your products. See it as a window for you to let consumers know all about what your brand stands for and the journey you have been on.
With new ecommerce trends emerging every day, the playing field is forever changing. Therefore, it’s easy to miss the mark if you fail to do your research and don’t pay attention to upcoming developments.
Additionally, like with all marketing practices, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula to running a successful ecommerce brand, so you should take a trial and error approach to exploring new trends.
Above all, though, the most important thing to remember is that your ecommerce model should always be consumer-centric, meaning that your audience should be the top priority at all times. As the saying goes, the customer is number one.
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