Entering not only a new year but a new decade, how will 2020 fair for those of us who run our own businesses, particularly within the ecommerce space. In this blog we’re going to be looking at the top 5 ecommerce trends for 2020.
The Power of Voice
We’re going to be starting off with voice assistants. Yes, the power of voice is becoming a more integrated part of our everyday lives. From voice assistants on our phones to smart home devices like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home and even in some newer cars.
In 2018 it was said that by 2020 50% of all search would be carried out via voice. With voice technology continuously improving the more it’s used we can imagine a world where only voice is used for search. So much so that businesses should be thinking about how they can fit in with voice search to take advantage of this emerging trend.
Voice search’s main benefit is convenience. It’s much easier to ask Alexa a question than pick up your phone to do a quick Google search and almost 60% of all searches are performed on a mobile device according to Hitwise.
Imagine you’ve just got home and you realise that you’ve run out of milk. Instead of taking another trip out to the shops, you can ask your Alexa or Google Home to order you some milk and have it delivered within a few hours, and we’ll talk about the future of delivery later on in this blog.
Voice search is a very likely direction that ecommerce is heading in the future so making sure your ecommerce shop is ready, helps to future-proof your business. Customers could even set shopping preferences for where they like to shop for items they need to order on a regular basis such as milk or toothpaste etc.
If you’re a business that sells clothing or home items, something that you wouldn’t need to buy on a regular basis, customers could ask their smart assistant to find them a black hoodie under £20 with free shipping and send the result to your phone as an example. Just like ranking on page 1 of Google you’re going to want to have your product in that voice search result.
AI & Machine Learning
From voice search to artificial intelligence and machine learning. Voice search is a part of AI and machine learning but we’re going to be looking at how AI can help aid customers to shop at your business.
In simple terms, for AI to begin learning and understanding any queries that we may ask it, it first needs to understand what it is you’re asking it. It does this through learning. You may not know it but we’re already using a form of AI within the ecommerce space but we believe that AI will dominate in 2020, becoming the year of artificial intelligence.
If you have search functionality on your ecommerce shop (a smart search functionality) then you’re already using AI. Smart searches take the queries that your customers are inputting and use this data to provide them with the most accurate results possible in this case.
But where could AI take us in the near future?
We believe that in the near future, AI might be able to order commonly bought household items just before you run out and have them delivered to your house, without you having to lift a finger. In a business owners case, AI might be able to help manage stock levels and reorder a set quantity for items that are close to being sold out – ensuring that your stock is always bumped up, especially if the item is in high demand, this would mean you wouldn’t miss out on those all-important sales and ultimately profit.
For your customers, AI could help them to not only find things they’re looking for on your ecommerce site as we mentioned earlier but also help customers find other items they might need. While there is already a form of this with ‘You might also like this’ and related items functions, AI could help people find items that they didn’t even know they needed.
We believe that AI will become ecommerce shop owners go-to for helping to manage their business and with AI technology becoming more and more intelligent every day, this is something that we might see in the very near future but it is already here.
Same Day Delivery
This might be something that you’ve heard of before with large companies like Amazon looking to offer this service but we believe that same-day delivery is going to be a hot topic in 2020.
While most consumers are now looking for companies to become more eco-friendly with their operations and delivery methods, same-day delivery as we know it now does have its impact on the environment. Multiple delivery runs per day to any one area will have an impact so companies are looking at alternative ways to combat this.
One way is by using delivery drones. They are zero-emission and can get to delivery addresses quicker than traditional delivery methods. But the main reason for looking into same-day delivery is that customers now care less about delivery costs vs getting their items faster.
Smaller companies may not be able to offer same-day delivery just yet but we think that in 2020, by offering same-day delivery where you can, you’ll have a huge advantage over your competitors, even if there is a charge for doing so.
If a competitor offers the same or a similar product to you and it’s priced the same, if you can offer same-day delivery and perhaps for free, this would almost guarantee an order on your shop rather than your competitors.
You could also look to increase your basket value by only offering free same-day delivery above a certain price point that covers your costs but it also means that a customer is more likely to add another item or two into their basket to qualify for the free same-day delivery rather than paying extra for it. This, however, is not a new concept but same-day delivery is most likely going to be the next step in its evolution.
Delivery companies such as Yodel, UPS etc will most likely look to offer this service for businesses in the near future in order to stay competitive in their market space.
AR (Augmented Reality)
AR or Augmented Reality is where you can have an interactive experience of a real-world environment but with an augmented item or image applied onto the real world. Some companies have adopted this technology already such as Smart Buy Glasses who offer a ‘virtual try-on’ of their products.
We believe that businesses, especially within the fashion industry will adopt this technology and heavily advertise this in 2020, in an attempt to draw in customers solely for being one of the first to adopt. A little gimmicky you might think but we decided to try it out for ourselves.
We ordered a tailored men’s shirt from MTailor and they have developed an app that measures you in real-time using the phone’s camera. It takes these measurements and sends you items that fit you perfectly.
This could be the perfect solution for shoppers, instead of ordering multiple sizes of a single item, one could be tailored for you, saving on delivery costs and initial purchase costs and postage and packaging for returning any items not wanted.
AR has already started helping companies within the furniture industry too. IKEA has already developed an app with a feature where you can place their furniture in your home with AR and have had this for a few years now. But with the higher adoption rate in larger companies, it’s becoming more commonplace for people to see how items might look in their home and thus the demand for AR increases.
Eco-Friendly and Morally Right Buying Decisions
The final trend on our list for 2020 is eco-friendly and morally right buying decisions. This is something that is a big concern for consumers, especially the younger generations. Larger companies are now starting to source their packaging from sustainable sources and are making strides to reduce their environmental impact.
They’re also considering any moral and ethical implications when it comes to their products, whether that’s cruelty-free, vegan or ethically sourced. These actions not only help businesses look better as they’re more aware and conscious of the effect they have but also in the eye of the consumer. Some may take extra time to look out for brands that perhaps are cruelty-free i.e. when shopping for make up, and it’s those brands that will get the sale over their competitors, even if they’re not the cheapest.
What matters to customers is changing and whether you’re a large company or a small business, you need to know what matters to your customers and try to find more eco-friendly alternatives for your products.
We believe although this has been a hot topic over the last few years, that in 2020 businesses all over the world will be making strides to improve their products. From packaging and delivery to sourcing sustainable raw materials, the businesses who adopt the change first will benefit and reap the benefits.