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With 2020 having just begun, articles about e-commerce trends 2020 are popping up everywhere. But as an entrepreneur you probably don’t have the time to read all those articles one by one to keep up to date.

That’s why we’ve written this complete overview of the 15 essential, indispensable e-commerce trends for 2020. According to the latest research, the sector will undergo major changes, ranging from an increasingly personalised customer experience to augmented reality.

It’s time for the commercial era 3.0, so you need to prepare for 2020 as quickly as possible!

What are the essential e-commerce trends in 2020? 

ecommerce trends 2020
The e-commerce market has been growing for years. Research by Capterra shows that the average online shopper spent between €100 and €250 per three-month period in 2019.

But the e-commerce market is also changing rapidly, so it is very important to keep on top of developments so you can respond to them.

In this article, we will tell you more about the following 15 e-commerce trends for 2020:

  1. Augmented reality and virtual reality
  2. Machine learning and artificial intelligence
  3. Research online, purchase offline (ROPO)
  4. Voice search and the impact on SEO
  5. Mobile-first & the arrival of  5G
  6. Chatbots (conversational commerce)
  7. Ultra-personalisation (big data)
  8. Social commerce
  9. Marketplaces vs. unique small players
  10. Direct to consumer (D2C)
  11. Blockchain in e-commerce
  12. Payment methods (virtual currency)
  13. Changes in shipping options
  14. Robotisation in the logistics sector
  15. Steps toward more sustainability
  16. E-commerce trends for 2020

1. Augmented reality and virtual reality

According to the latest research from Gartner, by 2020 some 100 million consumers will shop in stores and online using augmented reality (AR).

This technology allows you to scan a familiar environment where new products are integrated and almost physically presented. That makes it much easier for consumers to judge whether products will be to their liking.

Here are some examples of major brands that are already working with this:

  • Sephora lets customers try make-up looks and take photos with the outfit they are wearing.
  • Lenskart, an Indian eyewear platform, allows users to view hundreds of 3D images.
  • Amazon lets visitors try multiple products or devices with an app.
  • IKEA offers the Place app to scan items directly, so you can ‘try out’ furnishings in your home.

sephora ar shopping
Augmented reality & virtual reality (VR) have a bright future ahead of them and are certainly among the e-commerce trends for 2020!

2. Machine learning and artificial intelligence

In addition to AR and VR, the influence of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) will also increase. Machine learning has already become part of e-commerce, but it is expected to be used more widely to provide a better user experience.

Data about previously consulted or ordered products and product combinations purchased by previous customers is used to show the user other products. That means every online visit is personalised.

This, of course, only has positive effects on the conversion rate of online shops.

3. Research online, purchase offline (ROPO)

Research shows that 88% of consumers conduct research online – through content like reviews and social posts – before buying from a physical store. The fact that online searches regularly lead to offline purchases (Research Online, Purchase Offline, also known as ROPO) is a trend to keep an eye on.

With many contact moments – such as mobile devices, social networks, CRM and payment modules – digital campaigns will be an important factor in refining a ROPO strategy in 2020.

4. Voice search and the impact on SEO

Several studies, including one by ComsCore, show that more than 50% of searches in 2020 will be based on voice search technology. As an online shop, you will have to adapt to this development in e-commerce since search engines are announcing radical changes.

Google wants to guarantee that users will get optimal results based on voice search, which will lead to drastic changes in SEO and website design. Dominos, Lyft, and Walmart have taken this seriously and are already offering voice search to their customers. So this is a trend to anticipate this year!
eccomerce search trends 2020

5. Mobile-first & the arrival of 5G

Consumers are increasingly buying via their mobile phone instead of a desktop. BI Intelligence forecasts that m-commerce will reach $284 billion – or 45% – of the total U.S. e-commerce market by 2020

Mobile traffic can make up over half of a webstore’s total visitors. The arrival of 5G will only strengthen this trend, so it is now more important than ever that websites are mobile responsive and enable an easy checkout.

6. Chatbots (conversational commerce)

Conversational commerce (the interaction between customer and company via chat messages or voice) is gaining ground. According to Usabilla, 60% of consumers are comfortable to use a chatbot. A chatbot can chat thanks to automatic suggestions, without you having to be present.

Research by Hubspot even shows that 47% of consumers would buy a product through a chatbot, so it’s an efficient and conversion-enhancing way to discover what your customers are looking for or want to know.

Sephora, Ebay, SnapTravel, and H&M are some companies that already use chatbots.

7. Ultra-personalisation (big data)

45% of customers prefer to buy from an online shop that offers personalised recommendations, and 56% of online shoppers would like to return to such a site.

Amazon understands this very well: customers get recommendations based on their purchase history. Amazon offers personalisation based on ‘your wishlist’ and ‘your collection’. That’s nothing new, of course. Thanks to big data that analyses your buying behaviour, Amazon sends multiple emails with offers customised product suggestions to your profile.

Although GDPR must not be forgotten, the influence of big data is increasing enormously for more and more shops. Take your personal offers and smart marketing a step further in 2020.

8. Social commerce

instagram shopping
As we spend hours a day on social media, social commerce is becoming increasingly common. More and more sales take place via Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. Of course, the most suitable channel depends on the products you sell.

Social commerce shortens the customer journey (from inspiration to purchase). The number of consumers who value the ability to discover and purchase directly through social media has risen by 38%. Visual content is a more engaging shopping experience, and social commerce allows the customer to go from inspiration to check out all in one place.  

9. Marketplaces vs. unique small players

Despite the growth of social commerce, we cannot ignore online marketplaces: 40% of online purchases are made through marketplaces.

Amazon is about to capture 50% of the U.S. retail e-commerce sales, and it has expanded successfully across the globe with a great presence in the UK, FR, and DE, and looking to expand further. As a market place, Amazon opens the opportunity for anyone to sell through it. This can be a great opportunity for brands of all sizes.

If you want to learn more about selling on Amazon, make sure to check out our complete guide to selling on the marketplace.

10. Direct to consumer (D2C)

Online marketplaces are booming businesses. At the same time, the share of ‘direct to consumer’ (from supplier to customer) is increasing.

Transparency is becoming increasingly important and customers prefer to order as easily as possible. The D2C model can be a solution.

Direct to consumer affects customers, suppliers and the logistics sector, so it’s another trend to follow.

11. Blockchain in e-commerce

Blockchain is a modern technology for the transparent, secure storage and transfer of information that works without a central supervisory authority.

The food industry was one of the first sectors to use blockchain: in their case, to combat food scandals. It is expected that other sectors (such as fashion) will also start using it.

That’s smart because consumers are increasingly concerned about transparency with regard to where products come from. So think about it: how can you apply blockchain in your online shop?

12. Payment methods (virtual currency)

ecommerce trends 2020
According to research by Salesforce, the total number of worldwide mobile purchases was equal to the number of desktop purchases in the first quarter of 2019. It’s important not to discount mobile traffic on your site. Mobile payments are a key component to creating a mobile shopping experience with a clear path to purchase.

The use of payment services such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay is showing strong growth. The global mobile wallet market is set to continue growing exponentially up to 2022. These digital ‘wallets’ make transactions easy, fast and secure. The streamlined mobile payment options remove the need to spend time manually inputting details, boosting conversions by making it super easy for customers to checkout. 

13. Changes in shipping options

Not only are distribution centres facing increasing difficulties, but transporters are also under pressure (even outside peak times). The large quantity of parcels that need to be transported is forcing logistics companies to take measures.

PostNL in the Netherlands has now decided to stop making second delivery attempts, freeing this time for them to deliver other packages. And Pick-up points are becoming increasingly popular, helping transporters to be more efficient as well.

To persuade customers to order, your online shop should offer multiple shipping options. With Sendcloud, you can easily offer multiple carriers and shipping options at the checkout. Want to know how exactly this works? Then request a free demo, no strings attached!

14. Robotisation in the logistics sector

ecommerce trends 2020
The growth of the e-commerce sector means that various parties need to take action. Online retailers and fulfilment parties have to work even harder to make orders ready for shipment.

It is also difficult to find employees, so robotisation offers a solution. A lot of research is already being done and investments are being made in it.

With regard to the delivery of parcels, a lot of experimentation with drones is taking place. UPS already has permission to use them for some ‘shipments’ in the U.S. Who knows what kind of developments will take place?

15. Steps towards more sustainability

According to Doddle, over 43% of Brits say they are now more likely to shop with a rival retailer if they offer a greater range of sustainable delivery options. 

Convenience may remain important to customers, but sustainable delivery can set a brand apart from competitors and attract a very loyal audience at this time.

Many brands are already making moves towards offering sustainable options. H&M has started delivering orders in the Netherlands by bike. H&M has teamed up with Dutch bicycle courier company to offer next-day delivery that is the same price as their regular next-day delivery service.  

A final word about e-commerce trends for 2020

Overall, there are a lot of trends for online shops to consider in the coming year.

They will probably not all be equally relevant or applicable to your online shop. That, of course, depends on its size and the type of products you offer.

We hope that this article has inspired you to prepare well for the e-commerce trends of 2020.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. And would you like to share another trend? Just let us know!


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