The world of e-commerce is constantly evolving. From newer marketing tactics to automation-based processes, emerging e-commerce trends are helping merchants to create a better experience for their shoppers, increasing their average order value and making them come back for repeat purchases more often. That’s exactly what you need when the competition for the consumer’s attention is increasing by the day!
Keeping your pulse on the changes within e-commerce is crucial to ensure you aren’t falling behind. With the increasing number of online stores cropping up, there is fierce competition to grab the attention of shoppers, hold onto that attention, and turn it into revenue.
If you’re looking to adopt innovative strategies and growth hack your e-commerce business, here are 10 emerging e-commerce trends you need to consider.
Top 10 e-commerce Trends in 2020 for Merchant Success
1. Analytics for smarter decision making
There is a lot of untapped data hidden on your store – the sales trends, customer activity, and behaviour, product demand, and marketing influence. And unless you have a data analyst on your team, retrieving and making sense of this data is time-consuming and the less thing on your to-do list.
But, as the competition grows, e-commerce analytics is the key to your store’s success. This is why you need apps like Revtap that will turn your data into simplified actionables that you can use to make changes within your store for better growth. Use this data to plan your inventory, identify your most active customers, increase repeat purchases, and of course, decrease the number of carts being abandoned.
A unified data management app like Revtap can help you pinpoint and minimize the problems within your store and find opportunities to increase your sales. Forget the self-managed spreadsheets with your open rates, click rates, abandonment rates, and more. There’s just one dashboard you need to manage all your e-commerce analytics!
Not sure where to start? Join our E-commerce Analytics Masterclass today and we’ll walk you through it all step-by-step.
2. Subscription service is winning the game
Many stores have a hard time bringing back their customers after one purchase. The solution to this, based on the industry you are in, could just be subscription boxes. From beauty, clothes, and socks to books, coffee, and shaving kits, merchants are creating subscription services that bring in recurring revenue for their e-commerce business, building a loyal following and ensuring steady growth in their business.
But, you may be sceptical of the success in such a revenue model. Making your customers pay for your product every month sounds like a tough task. But the statistics are fascinating— from 2014 to 2017, subscription box sales grew by 800%. This is because subscription boxes are a more convenient option for shoppers who already want your product. It lets you understand what your customer needs exactly and allows you to deliver a personalized and quality experience.
If you’re planning to set up a subscription model on your store, start by asking yourself which types of products your shoppers would want to buy more of. With a subscription box, your aim must be to solve a particular problem for your shoppers.
For instance, if you own a clothing store, start a workwear subscription box to help your shoppers worry less about their outfits for work. Or, if you own a tea brand, you could start a subscription box that lets shoppers buy their monthly stock of tea and even gives them a sample box of new flavours they can test out. This subscription can help them stock up on their tea requirements without putting in too much effort from their side.
Shopify stores like Kopari, Tiege Hanley and others scaled their subscription model 100-350%. Read all about it here.
3. More love for second-hand stores
As more consumers are realizing the cost of fast fashion on their wallets and the environment, they are opting for greener choices like sustainable products and secondhand finds. This shift in customer behaviour is making its mark in the economy as well. The secondhand economy—a $24 billion market as of 2018—is projected to grow to nearly 1.5 times the size of fast fashion within the next 10 years, hitting a $64 billion evaluation, thredUp reports.
For merchants looking to enter the e-commerce market, think about the kind of products you want to sell that are also environment-friendly. Secondhand products aren’t just restricted to clothing; merchants are selling bags, vintage cameras, and typewriters, to name a few.
For existing merchants, the question you should be asking yourself is whether your brand is environment-friendly. If not, this is the time to think about how you can inculcate this consumer priority. Whether it’s using better materials when manufacturing or donating a percentage of your sales, take lead in contributing positively to the world.
4. Real-time and interactive conversations trump generic messaging
Imagine finding a great pair of pants on an e-commerce store but no one to assist you to figure out the store’s sizing guide. A lot of online stores are losing customers because of this major gap in their e-commerce strategy.
Real-time conversations and behaviour-based marketing messages are helping e-commerce stores solve shopper queries faster, reminding shoppers about their browsing behaviour, and bringing them back to the store. It was found that live chat leads to a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour and a 40% increase in conversion rate. Stores with automated abandoned cart messages have recovered sales they could have lost forever.
Merchants need to replace their generic product promotions and long support email threads with live chats, bot messaging and automated remarketing. And with the current technology, it isn’t hard to set up real-time and interactive messages on your online store. Here are a few tips to get started:
- Set up a live chat with apps like Tidio to assist shoppers and quickly help them with queries
- Use apps like Flashchat to enable Facebook Messenger chatbots that interact with real-time customers on your store and connect with past visitors
- Set up automated abandoned cart reminders that are sent as web push notifications with apps like iZooto and PushOwl
- Set up automated email with Klaviyo to send browser abandonment emails, welcome emails, and other behaviour-based messages
5. Credibility with a customer-first approach
Your customers are at the forefront of your store’s success. And with the number of choices that shoppers have, the one make-or-break factor that they are sure to look at next is your credibility and the value you create in their lives. This is why a lot of e-commerce stores are creating narratives around their products and focusing on the benefits that their products reap for their customers. And this customer-first angle has made an impact on the store’s sales.
One study showed that 77% of customers read product reviews before making a purchase. What’s more, on many fashion e-commerce stores, shoppers prefer to see customer photos of the clothing before deciding to purchase it.
“People use reviews as an indicator of desirability. The rise of online consumer-generated reviews has yielded an exponential increase in the availability of this sort of highly informative social evidence.”
Derek Powell, a psychology scholar at Stanford University
Install review apps like Loox Reviews or Judge.me to easily collect reviews from your customers. If you have a loyalty program, you can nudge reviews by promising points for leaving a photo review. It’s about nudging the customer to leave their ratings and reviews, without being too pushy!
Here’s how BlendJet does it:
Another way to garner more attention is by designing your marketing strategy around the customer rather than just the season or the inventory changes. Build meaningful steps throughout your customer journey— create a welcome email series, set up abandoned cart reminders, re-engage customers who haven’t shopped in a while, reward loyal customers.
This approach creates more value when compared to a generic strategy where you push out promotions about your products without considering your customers.
6. Personalized shopping experience
Have you ever bought a vacuum cleaner from Amazon and ended up seeing recommendations for more vacuum cleaners for the next 2 weeks? Instead, Amazon could have shown you accessories that would have helped you use the product better.
Personalization is crucial to provide satisfying customer experiences, ensuring the shopper wants to come back to your store. The lack of personalization can even hinder your business growth. 33% of customers have ended their relationship with a business with insufficient or no personalization in place. That’s a huge customer retention loss for a merchant.
You need to provide a personalized shopping experience to ensure you don’t lose your shoppers to your competition. Wishlists, loyalty programs, cross-selling tactics, and auto-recommendations have made it easier for you to provide this personalized experience to your shopper. Here are a few apps to help you set up a personalized shopping experience:
- Upsell or cross-sell products based on customer’s recent cart addition or purchase with Bold Commerce
- Set up a loyalty program and increase repeat purchases with Smile.io
- Allow wishlisting for future purchases with Wishlist Plus
- Show recently viewed products to nudge purchases with Recently Viewed
7. Automation in operation management
Unless you’re selling just 5 to 10 products on your e-commerce store, there’s a lot of moving parts to keep your eye on. Sometimes, it seems almost impossible to keep track of these small yet important tasks. Tagging high-value customers, notifying your inventory team about low stocks, flagging fraudulent orders, scheduling promotions of new products— these are crucial operations to ensure your store runs smoothly but they don’t always need to be done by you.
Automation is a newly introduced e-commerce trend that isn’t going anywhere. This emerging technology is sure to help you decrease the workload on your plate. With Shopify’s vast app directory, automation isn’t just an ideal scenario for your online store.
Apps like Shopify Flow allow you to set up specific actions that are automatically run when the conditions are met. For instance, you can set up a Slack message to be sent to your customer support when a customer creates a large order with your store.
This way, you don’t have to manually deal with inventory changes and product updates. Automation ensures your everyday operations are run without any errors; you just need to set it up once. You can even implement automated workflows even within marketing, customer support, design, and other areas of store management.
8. Product videos are replacing product descriptions
Everyone loves videos. They are easy to consume, more engaging than just a description and allow people to visual better. Stores online are slowly adopting videos within their product pages and on social media as a way to catch the attention of their shoppers.
One study found that consumers are 64% more likely to purchase a product after watching an online video. Using video on your site improves conversions by up to 85%, making a massive impact on your sales.
With Instagram and easy video creation tools like Typito, e-commerce stores can easily get started with videos now than ever before. There is no limit to the ways you can creatively showcase your product with video and thanks to social media, it is the best content formats for sharing. Fashion brands like H&M, for instance, use video to create outfit looks that nudge shoppers back to their store.
9. Interactive product images with 3D modelling
The one aspect of retail stores that every e-commerce business lacks is the ability to touch, feel and experience the product before buying the item. Customers want to understand how the product looks to the eye and the simple 2D images won’t cut it. But, with emerging e-commerce trends like 3D imaging, customers can feel your products better.
According to the Cappasity’s 3D imaging market research, 82 per cent of visitors to the product page activate the 3D view, proving the need for more nuanced product images within e-commerce stores.
Enable 3D product images to give customers a more realistic understanding of your products. You can learn how you can start setting up 3D model images on your product pages with this Shopify help article.
10. PWAs for better customer retention
Customer retention is a crucial priority when running an e-commerce business. Selling to an existing customer costs less than targeted a new shopper. Your probability of converting them is also higher (60-70%) when compared to a 5-20% conversion from a new prospect.
If you have a high existing customer base and want to reinforce their loyalty, a PWA may just be what you need. A Progressive Web App (PWA) turns your existing web store into a lightweight app that is available on your customer’s home screen, just like other apps on their phone.
But, because of their lightweight, PWAs load faster and customers can access your catalogue even when they are offline. The presence of your store on their mobile is sure to increase conversions among customers. For one store, Petlove, enabling PWA resulted in a 2.8x increase in conversions and a 2.8x increase in time spent on site.
Turn your web store into a PWA and allow customers to ‘download’ your store app on your phone to provide them with an exclusive experience. One of the best ways that Shopify stores can set up their PWA is with the Mobile App Builder by Plobal Apps.
Once set up, you can nudge store visitors to get your web app and even send them push notifications through your PWA to bring them back to your store.
11. Voice search for ease of ordering
Another upcoming trend we’re excited to see in the eCommerce domain is voice search. We all know how products like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are finding place in our homes. We already rely on voice search for so many little things that Salesforce found that about 4 in 10 online shoppers search for products using voice assistants.
Be it to place an order or to re-purchase a product, businesses can be seen consumers using voice search a lot more than before. Neilsen predicts that about 2% of all purchases that are made online, will soon be made through voice search. With apps like Emitrr, we think catching up with this trend is going to be easy for Shopify stores.
Should you be following e-commerce trends?
If you ask us, we’d say why not?
E-commerce trends are not just predictions based on what the Amazon of industries is offering to customers. They’re a reflection of what consumers are expecting from brands and how they want to interact with businesses over a period of time.
Considering how a typical consumer has the option to choose from at least ten stores when looking for a product, it’s become important to stand out. That’s where following a few e-commerce trends actually helps – but of course, you don’t start them all at once!
Start with what makes you feel comfortable. Start with what helps you maximize your profits.
Measure the impact of the changes you implement and continually optimize your online store for more conversions.
Which of these e-commerce trends have you been wanting to follow?