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In its early years, eCommerce was more of a novelty than anything.
As younger generations reached adulthood and their spending power increased, online shopping became commonplace and even preferred. There's little doubt that eCommerce will keep growing.
The only question is — how big will it get?
Across the world, eCommerce sales accounted for 14.1%. This figure is expected to reach 22% in 2023. If you’re a B2C business and sell directly to your customers, you must consider eCommerce to be a part of your strategy. The new eCommerce trends show the scale at which this industry has grown and continues to grow.
Mentioned below are five of the most important eCommerce trends for 2020.
Mobile shopping, or eCommerce, accounted for more than 25% of all US eCommerce transactions in 2019. This number is forecast to go up to 45% in 2020, amounting to almost $284 billion.
The number of smartphone users continues to grow and for many, it has replaced the desktop as their primary device when it comes to shopping online. Today, more than ever, it is important to develop a mobile-first strategy especially when it comes to eCommerce. From your website to your marketing, everything needs to be optimized for mobile consumption.
One of the key aspects of your website and your online identity is your domain name.
Brands today are optimizing the tiniest of details to ensure that it helps them with their brand building. For example, a significant chunk of eCommerce businesses today is opting for the .store domain extension.
With .store, they have the term ‘store’ (a term associated with purchasing) in their domain name making their web address become their brand message and identity. For example, between www.husk.com and www.husk.store -- the latter best gives the first impression as an eCommerce store.
Unlike some of the commonly used domain extensions, .store is relatively new giving you a higher chance of getting your first domain of choice.
Voice-controlled technology such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Home is moving beyond answering simple questions into the ability to make purchases. Alexa is one of the most advanced voice platforms for eCommerce, with the ability to make product choices for buyers in some cases.
Voice purchases are usually made when the user has already decided on what they want to buy. It's not as effective for browsing a range of products. However, voice-search can be especially effective for products your customers buy regularly.
When your customers have already bought a product and want to re-purchase it, voice assistants can easily identify the product from their buying history, reducing the chance of a mismatch.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are both major emerging trends in the eCommerce industry. They can be helpful in both customer-facing and backend applications.
On the customer side, one of the most effective ways they're used is in chatbots. These bots can be programmed to answer your customer’s queries and provide relevant product information without the need of having a human present.
On the backend, AI and ML can help you better personalize your website for enhanced customer experience. You can use this to customize the content they see, the offers they get, or special discounts based on their buying history.
Augmented reality (AR) is another powerful technology that’s coming up in the eCommerce industry. AR works with the camera in your smartphone to let you visualize a specific product in use. If you sell physical products, it gives your customers a way to see and experience the product without having to buy it and return it if it isn't suitable.
For example, Ikea uses AR to let customers place an item from their eCommerce store into the room they're standing in. The app uses their smartphone camera to capture the room and then places a piece of furniture or other product in the image so they can see what it will look like in their home.
If you sell physical goods, consider a custom app that will let your customers visualize your products in use.
If it makes sense for your target audience, creating custom Instagram filters is another way to create an AR-like experience.
Some of these trends, such as mobile shopping, have been in trend for several years but their growth is accelerating in 2020. Others, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, have been more theoretical but they’re swiftly taking over customer experience.
Advances in the eCommerce industry are bringing about major changes over a relatively short time. If you're not staying on top of those changes, your customers will look for someone who is and most likely end up buying from your competition. The cost of keeping up to date with new trends in eCommerce isn't an expense - it's an investment in the future of your business.
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