The beginning of 2020 not only saw the start of a new year but a new decade, too. From AR shopping to the digitalisation of brick and mortar stores, we’ve seen a massive transformation in the retail sector over the last decade, which seemed to show no sign of slowing down. However, a couple of months into 2020, something happened that we didn’t anticipate when looking into upcoming trends for the year.
With COVID-19 in mind, are the e-commerce trends we thought 2020 had in store still relevant? And, what should your business really be aware of this year? Here are our predictions for the top e-commerce trends in 2020 with consideration of current events.
1. Social Media shopping
Social media shopping was the first e-commerce trend we predicted to grow in 2020, and we still believe this to be the case. In fact, many consumers now have more free time and will likely use their social media accounts to stay connected. While social media was once purely a means for marketing and brand-to-consumer relationship building, it’s now so much more. Today, customers have the option to shop directly through social media channels, and according to a 2018 study by Avionos, 55% of consumers have done so. With channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest now providing in-app shopping functionalities and allowing brands to create ads that link directly to product pages, businesses can now reach a wider audience than ever, through multiple channels. And, with integrations like Hatch’s Campaign Tracking Tool, brands can track all digital assets in one place, provide instant purchase options for customers and get detailed insights into campaign performance.
2. Customer Experience
At Hatch, we see customer experience as more of a ‘must-have’ than a trend, and even more so in the current climate. The sooner brands understand the importance of a seamless customer experience, the sooner they will begin increasing their revenue and seeing happier customers. Consumers see it as a requirement, too – research from PWC found that 73% of shoppers believe customer experience plays an important role in their purchasing decisions. It’s time to start ticking those customer satisfaction boxes across your business.
3. Omni-Channel Organisations
Customers now shop across multiple channels and via a range of devices, making omni-channel organisations more important than ever in the e-commerce world. In 2020, we will see digital transformation become less of a buzzword and more of a necessity – something brands must undergo to stay relevant. In fact, many businesses no longer have a choice; if they do not transform their channel strategy, their business may not survive the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the biggest tasks for these organisations is ensuring all sales channels are aligned and working towards a single goal. For many, this means transforming old ways of thinking and opting for a more progressive online approach. Sales and marketing teams will need to align, allowing consumers to shop seamlessly via multiple platforms, receiving top-notch customer service and experience at each touchpoint. Online will remain the most dominant channel for the foreseeable future; however, even after this global crisis, we expect consumers to demand nothing less.
4. Online Marketplaces
Many brands now use online marketplace platforms like Amazon or eBay as a way of selling products to a wider audience. And, while these platforms are growing in popularity, they have their pros and cons.
In 2019, a strategic move by Nike saw the brand pull away from Amazon. Shopify also became anti-Amazon, and, brands like Adidas, Gap and Target said they believe Amazon creates a black market for counterfeit (Source: Absolunet). While it has become increasingly difficult to predict the future, online marketplaces currently play a dominant role in the e-commerce landscape and will likely continue to do so. The question is, what will happen to the key players in the D2C market that have reduced their online marketplace presence? Will they be forced back to offload their large stocks, or will they be able to offset their sales through their own e-commerce channels? Only time will tell.
5. Eco-Conscious Shoppers
In recent years, a real awareness around our eco-footprint has been raised. Many consumers are now becoming more eco-conscious, opting to shop from sustainable brands that produce eco-friendly products, give back to the environment, and create minimal waste. One survey revealed that 35% of consumers would buy a [more expensive] product that’s better for the environment over another that’s slightly cheaper.
While not every consumer will seek out eco-friendly brands, the zero-waste trend is growing, which means businesses will need to become more conscious of how they package their products and strive to minimise waste in 2020. Some of the changes brands can make to become more eco-friendly are: using recyclable or biodegradable packaging (e.g. cardboard boxes, biodegradable packaging potatoes and no plastic), sourcing sustainable materials for products, and shipping multiple orders from one buyer in a single package.
However, while the demand may be there, all this comes at a cost. And, at a time where many businesses are struggling to survive, these kind of changes are likely to be put on hold. While COVID-19 will continue to play a part in this year’s e-commerce trends, we think 2020 will remain the year of omni-channel retail, with consumers turning to social media, online marketplaces and e-commerce stores to shop.
More than anything this year, businesses will need to take a customer-led approach, tuning into customer experience, satisfaction and needs. While we’ve heard about the need for a customer-led approach for many years, perhaps this global crisis will speed up the rise of omni-channel retail and see 2020 as the year this trend finally flourishes.
Which e-commerce trends will your business be focusing on in light of COVID-19?
For more information about how Hatch can help your business digitally transform in 2020, get in touch!