In the advent of the pandemic, governments from all over the world imposed shutdowns and stay-at-home orders for the general population to control the outbreak. As a result, new patterns in buyer behavior and eCommerce trends have emerged, with consumers now favoring online shopping over traditional retailers to minimize physical contact.
While eCommerce was already on the rise, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic accelerated the shift toward eCommerce shopping by five years, according to data from IBM’s U.S. Retail Index.
An online survey conducted by Qubit revealed that 50 percent of consumers now do more than 75 percent of their shopping through an online store, while another 25 percent do more than 90 percent of their shopping online.
Moreover, according to Adobe Analytics, online sales in the U.S. increased by 43 percent year-over-year in September, valued at $60.4 billion, amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The year 2020 has been a trendsetting one for eCommerce shopping, to say the least. Let’s take a closer look at more eCommerce trends that emerged this year.
1. Delivering a Personalized Online Shopping Experience
Customer loyalty dwindled as a constant issue of undersupply hounded eCommerce stores when the lockdowns took effect. Savvy business owners brought back customer trust by employing shopping personalization strategies, which quickly became one of the biggest retail ecommerce trends in 2020.
Fifty-eight percent of eCommerce companies surveyed by Yieldify revealed their primary purpose for shopping personalization was customer retention. They used data gathered from search queries, page visits and purchase history to display dynamic content, product recommendations, similar items and specific offers. Some companies even incorporated eCommerce chatbots to serve as personal shopping assistants for each visitor.
With a personalized online shopping experience, any eCommerce store wins big because it tells consumers that their wants and needs are heard and are given proper attention. Fifty-nine percent of customers say personalization influences their shopping decision, while 80 percent of customers say they are more likely to buy from a company that offers a personalized online shopping experience. In this case, eCommerce chatbots providing assistance are sure to win over many new customers.
2. Contactless Pickup and Delivery and More Flexible Payment Options
Going contactless is definitely one of the biggest retail eCommerce trends this year. Brick-and-mortar stores embraced going contactless as the new normal to stay operational during this crisis. Even online stores employed contactless pickup or delivery to keep customers safe.
In a Visa study, 78 percent of consumers surveyed said they’d changed their shopping habits, which included online shopping at an eCommerce store, using contactless payments and less cash. In response, businesses introduced contactless touchpoints such as curbside pickup, curbside delivery and flexible payment options to attract more customers while keeping contact to a minimum.
The introduction of curbside pickup and curbside delivery received overwhelming response and are now a standard feature in most retail establishments, including eCommerce shopping. In a survey conducted by Medallia Zingle, 87 percent of respondents said they want their favorite brands to continue offering curbside pickup and curbside delivery to minimize the need for in-person interactions.
3. Influencer Marketing Became Even More Popular
Influencer marketing has been on the rise for years, with the influencer industry valued at $1.7 billion in 2019. It was initially expected to hit $15 billion by 2022. But then, COVID-19 happened, disrupting the influencer marketing industry.
However, one of the more shocking retail eCommerce trends in 2020 showed that influencer marketing hasn’t slowed down but has shifted towards micro- and nano-influencers. In a bid to introduce more authenticity to their brands, companies started working with smaller influencers and focused on unfiltered or unscripted content. Some companies have even worked with an influencer marketing agency to create strategies centered around influencers to drive brand awareness.
4. Accelerated Digitalization of the Shopping Experience
Inconveniences exist, even in something so convenient as eCommerce shopping. If you work in eCommerce marketing, you don’t need an eCommerce marketing agency telling you that static images won’t cut it in online shopping. Static images lack the capacity for product visualization, which is something that consumers need and want.
Online companies solved the visualization problem by incorporating dynamic digital media that made it easier to visualize different products without needing physical touch: review videos and explainers for tech products and toys, angled and 360-degree images for clothing and even augmented reality (AR) for furniture.
Some gained even more success by employing eCommerce chatbots as assistants who responded to inquiries about a product. Having online chatbots improved customer retention because they were present when customers needed more information.
5. Omnichannel Marketing Opening Growth Channels for eCommerce Businesses
With an extended lockdown on their hands, consumers found themselves having more free time to spend online – and they’re spending it on social media. With this came the rise of social commerce, the exchange of goods and services on social media. So, what eCommerce marketing strategy did businesses adopt? They diversified their methods and adopted an omnichannel marketing strategy.
Social commerce was already on the rise even before the pandemic. However, it grew even more popular as people stayed home. In general, social media saw a 51 percent bump in usage in the U.S. as lockdowns were put into place. Meanwhile, 55 percent of all shoppers have said they’ve purchased at least one item from their favorite brand on social media.
Platforms today make it easier for brands to sell their products using their brand page through embedded links. Brands can also see success using platform selling features such as the Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Shopping and Checkout.
6. Grocery eCommerce and Delivery
In 2019, the top three most popular product categories in eCommerce marketing were electronics, clothing and home and kitchen. During the pandemic, buyer priorities shifted to more essential items to prepare for life in extended quarantine. These items included personal protective equipment, toys for kids and grocery items.
Buyers turned to grocery shopping online out of a fear of catching the virus during a personal visit. A BMC survey revealed that 44 percent of households were concerned about someone in their households contracting COVID-19. By shopping online, consumers were able to interact with online chatbots and had groceries delivered while they paid for the items through various flexible payment options.
7. eCommerce Subscription Services Are More Popular Than Ever
Streaming services aren’t the only online subscription services to gain a giant leap during the pandemic. A survey from CouponFollow revealed that a significant number of American consumers used eCommerce subscription services at least once while in quarantine.
The top three reasons for shoppers choosing online subscription services? Fifty-percent said they wanted to try new products, 39 percent said they just enjoyed getting new products in the mail, while 37 percent said it’s because it’s easier than shopping.
Overall, the entire industry of eCommerce subscription services grew by as much as 25 percent in 2020. Experts suggest that at least 75 percent of brands will use a model based on online subscription services by 2023 due to its immense popularity.
8. Leveraging More Content to Generate Engagement
While partnering with an online influencer marketing agency, many companies saw the potential in leveraging user-generated content (UGC) in promoting engagement with their followers. Brands saw that content sent in by the followers themselves had 10 times more views and saw 64 percent more engagement from social media users.
This is one of the key benefits of working with an influencer marketing agency or directly with micro-and nano-influencers in your industry. When you use UGC, your brand is more likely to be perceived as authentic and in-touch with its user base because you’re working with real people and leveraging real content – not brand content endorsed by celebrities.
Moreover, UGC improves the connection between your eCommerce brand and social media users, which helps you generate positive reviews. And the more positive reviews you can generate, the greater the social proof.
Reshaping the eCommerce Business Landscape
By looking at the eCommerce trends that emerged in 2020, it has become apparent that COVID-19 has made a lasting impact on the way we do business. While some are still up for debate, other trends like online chatbots, omnichannel marketing and even contactless pickup and delivery may outlast the pandemic. Currently, all signs point to these particular trends sticking around for a while to come.
Navigating the new normal certainly won’t be easy. Businesses suffered losses throughout 2020 that would take years to recover. That is why it is more important than ever to position your business for the future with the help of an eCommerce marketing agency like Thrive.
As an eCommerce marketing company, Thrive offers eCommerce marketing services that boost your business so it stays profitable.
Thrive is an eCommerce marketing company that optimizes your marketing efforts to position you for tremendous success. We boost your business with eCommerce marketing services that aid you during your transition from survival mode to a thriving business during and after a crisis.
Work with our eCommerce marketing agency and capture an even greater market share when you act now. Our eCommerce marketing services help you craft the right strategies so you can emerge as a market leader.
Give our eCommerce marketing company a call today at 866-434-4748.