Ecommerce has been growing at an exponential rate over the past few years. With global sales amounting to $2.8 trillion in 2018, Statista.com projects that it will rise to $4.8 trillion by 2021. As it grows, the ecommerce industry is also experiencing major changes that are both exciting and unnerving. Online retailers must keep up with these trends so as to remain competitive in their respective industries.
Here are 5 major ecommerce trends to look out for in 2020:
1. Increase in social shopping
Social media is no longer a platform where online retailers simply advertise their products. People can now quickly and conveniently buy products directly on their preferred social media platform. YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram are some of the platforms that have included social selling features such as discount codes and ‘buy’ buttons.
This trend will significantly reduce the effort and time shoppers use to buy online, thus improving their ecommerce experience. Online retailers will need to get more creative when using social media platforms in order to leverage the social selling trend.
2. Headless ecommerce
Headless ecommerce is a situation where the front-end and back-end systems of an ecommerce platform are decoupled from each other. This means that online retailers can make changes without having to undertake a full platform update. For example, companies can change messaging to end-users, add fields to customer accounts or create different checkout systems without overhauling the whole system. In 2020, more companies are expected to adopt headless ecommerce in order to enhance their flexibility and speed in scaling.
3. Interactive product visualization
When shopping online, many people hesitate before hitting the ‘Buy’ button because they are not sure if the product is exactly what they need. Well written product descriptions, high-quality images, and online reviews are not enough. Buyers want to see the product, hold it in their hands, feel it and eliminate all doubts before committing to a purchase. In the near future, buyers will be able to use augmented reality, 3D imaging, and virtual reality to interact with a product on their smartphones or laptops. ecommerce product videos will give customers a tangible in-store experience, thus alleviating their doubts before making a purchase.
4. Chatbots and AI Assistants
In 2020, robots will become increasingly common in ecommerce stores. Robots such as artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots are used to improve the customer’s overall shopping experience. They can handle several tasks that are usually assigned to humans such as answering product related questions and managing inventory. By using chatbots and AI, online retailers can offer customers a more personalized ecommerce experience, while avoiding the costs of hiring human customer service staff. According to a recent survey by Statista, 34% of respondents said that they wouldn’t mind receiving customer service from artificial intelligence.
5. Emergence of new payment options
One of the things that push a customer to make a purchase is the payment options available. If they cannot find their preferred payment channel, they are not likely to buy anything. Currently, most ecommerce businesses are using digital wallets such as Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, and Google Pay. As a result, digital payments are quickly overtaking cash and cards as the preferred method of payment.
However, the payment method that is expected to cause a major disruption is cryptocurrency. Major retailers such as Overstock, Newegg, Gyft and eGifter are already accepting payment in the form of bitcoins. This trend is expected to continue in 2020 and beyond.
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