10 Ecommerce Trends to Drive Growth in 2020 (for Both B2B & B2C)

Ecommerce Trends 2020

With global retail ecommerce sales projected to hit $4.2 trillion by 2020, there’s more potential than ever for businesses to profit. However, with greater opportunity comes great competition, making it crucial for businesses to keep their edge.

One way to increase growth in your industry is to capitalize on the latest ecommerce trends. Investing in the right developments can go a long way toward improving your website and winning long-term customer loyalty. In 2020, buyers are engaging with more personalized, convenient, and futuristic shopping experiences. 

Here are 10 ecommerce trends to watch for in 2020—trends that online merchants can take advantage of to take their ecommerce website up a notch and meet evolving buyer expectations.

1. Social Commerce

While social media used to be all about the likes and shares, more brands will use social platforms as product search engines and profitable selling channels in 2020. Forty percent of online merchants use their social media to generate sales. As platforms like Instagram and Snapchat launch built-in ecommerce features, businesses will have an easier time selling directly on their social pages and capturing impulse purchases.

This year, brands will also continue to leverage user-generated content, influencer media, and interactive features to increase conversions.

2. Voice Commerce

Seventy-five percent of US households are expected to own smart speakers by 2025. Voice assistants continue to gain popularity, giving businesses new opportunities to drive interest through voice search. 

Consumers aren’t the only ones interested in the ease of voice search—14 percent of B2B buyers want to see voice ordering incorporated into their buying experience. Voice commerce lends itself well to repetitive ordering, which would allow business buyers to place recurring orders more quickly and easily.

3. Subscription Services

The subscription economy continues to boom, giving consumers access to a product for a periodic fee as opposed to a one-time purchase. If you don’t currently offer any subscription-based products, it may be time to brainstorm ways to fit your offerings into this sales model.

The subscription format provides consumers with a consistent, curated product experience coupled with convenience and cost savings. On the business side, subscription-based products help businesses to better manage inventory, increase the lifetime value of their customers, and forecast sales with a recurring stream of revenue.

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4. Interactive Email

In 2020, your emails can become interactive versions of your ecommerce website. Instead of just using fancy GIFs, you can channel AMP technology to include advanced features like opening menus, browsing product categories, and completing checkouts—all within your customer’s inbox. Rich media formats like video will help make email marketing more engaging, actionable, and sales-driven.

As email marketing becomes smarter and more advanced in 2020, businesses have the potential to obtain great ROI. For more email strategies, check out our whitepaper on revolutionary ecommerce email marketing tactics.

5. Mobile Marketing and Mobile Payments

Mobile continues to find itself in the spotlight. In 2020, online merchants will make use of SMS messaging to send tailored content and exclusive promotions to consumers. Incorporating mobile payments and optimizing your site experience for mobile users can effectively capture sales from these on-the-go, ready-to-buy shoppers.

6. Interactive Product Experiences (Powered by AR and VR)

In this day and age, having high-quality images and punchy product descriptions is an absolute must…but consumers are starting to expect even more. It’s time to go further with interactive 360 views, zooms, and product visualizers that allow shoppers to “try out” and visualize the product in their own space. If you can provide an engaging and interactive experience, your business is more likely to win over more customers. 

This is just as important in B2B as it is in B2C. Eighty percent of customers say a company’s buying experience is just as important as its products or services—over 50 percent said they stopped buying from a company because a competitor offered a superior experience. Consider incorporating features like video, intelligent product searches, and detailed product comparisons to improve your customer experience.

7. Personalized Shopping

The numbers don’t lie: studies show that 72 percent of consumers will engage only with personalized marketing messages. By providing a deeper level of personalization, businesses will be able to cater to shoppers based on where they are in the customer journey, giving each visitor individual attention.

Technological developments such as AI and machine learning will make it easier to personalize features. For B2B buyers, this means providing loyalty programs, different prices for products, order histories, self-service solutions, and custom catalogs to increase conversion rates.

On top of a personalized shopping experience, shoppers are also gravitating toward entirely customized products. Consider leveraging interactive features like quizzes and kit builders for shoppers to create customized products.

8. (Faster) Free Shipping

Shoppers want products and they want them now. In 2020, shoppers will be expecting fast, free shipping, with 39 percent expecting two-day shipping to be provided for free. A number of retailers are even turning to new robotic technology in 2020 to more efficiently manage their ecommerce orders.

If you don’t currently offer free shipping, you should brainstorm ways to fit this service into your ecommerce strategy, as it may be impacting your sales. Offering multiple shipping options and speeds might be the best way to make free shipping work for you. 

9. Buy Online, Pick Up in Store

There’s no need to fear the retail apocalypse. In 2020, some retailers may start to see a brick-and-mortar retail revival. This movement is in large part fueled by desire from generation Z to see and pick up products in store while having a hybrid online shopping experience.

This service, known as “buy online, pick up in store”, offers retailers an opportunity to increase fulfillment options while boosting customer loyalty. To offer this service, your business must ensure a seamless, consistent connection between your online and offline channels.

While not all businesses are able to leverage this large retail footprint, many online-only brands are planning to experiment with pop-up stores and special retail partnerships to offer a localized shopping experience.

10. B2B Ecommerce Trends

B2C ecommerce may get most of the limelight, but U.S. B2B ecommerce is expected to reach over $6.6 trillion by the end of 2020, surpassing even B2C sales. B2B shoppers are more likely to buy items in bulk on a repeat basis, which provides businesses with a source of recurring and reliable revenue.

In addition to the trends mentioned above, B2B businesses will be shaping their user experience to meet the demands of buyers. 

Digital-First Ecommerce

B2B businesses are incorporating new technology to cater to millennials, who influence the majority of B2B buying decisions and impact changes in the industry.

Environmental Benefits

With 68 percent of US consumers considering sustainability when making purchases, B2B buyers will be shifting to green practices in 2020, from reducing their shipping waste to opting for biodegradable materials.

Buyer Engagement

B2B buyers are increasingly responding to video, email marketing, and content marketing on their path to purchase, making it critical for businesses to leverage these media to inspire buying behavior. A mobile website is also necessary, as 90 percent of B2B buyers will make a return purchase from a vendor with a superior mobile experience.

Easier Buying Processes

With 3 out of 4 business buyers feeling that their current buying process is complex, businesses should move toward streamlining the online purchase experience and making things as easy as possible for their buyers.

Leveraging Ecommerce Trends in 2020

Although some trends come and go, the right developments can enhance your ecommerce site, build relationships with customers, and ultimately drive conversions. Both consumers and business buyers have come to expect a mobile, interactive, and convenient buying experience. Any trend that helps your website provide that experience will generate profitable returns and help grow your brand for the long run.

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