eCommerce trends for 2020

April 03, 2020

In 2020 we expect eCommerce to continuously increase its importance in the global economy. Whereas more and more trade is done online it is also becoming an ever more competitive market. Dropshipping done well, will further decrease an already low overhead cost and prove as a serious competitor to "traditional" eCommerce. 

It is thus important for retailers throughout 2020 to seriously consider how they can create a unique and special user experience. We see five trends that we expect to be crucial throughout 2020.

  1. Direct-to-Customer (D2C)
  2. Environment and sustainability
  3. Branded content
  4. Customer Experience-driven commerce
  5. Social commerce

Let's dive into these a little deeper

1. Direct to Customer - From production to consumer

Direct to consumer is essentially about cutting out the middleman and taking full control of the brand, storytelling and customer experience. This is achieved through manufacturers selling directly to their customers. 

Often these companies are born digital and therefore already have a clear understanding of how to create a unique shopping experience. It is not, however, only newly started companies who follow this approach, existing retailers are also launching new brands with a new story and approach to what customer experience means. 

Prominent examples of companies who successfully have utilized the opportunities of the D2C approach include Son of a Taylor, Casper and Dollar Shave Club.

2. Environmentally friendly sustainability

The environment has been on the agenda for a while, yet it is in the last years we have really seen an increase in its impact on eCommerce. Some companies have been riding the wave with a clear cut focus on environmentally friendly products. Examples of that include Impossible Foods Inc. and Freight Farms. Established companies too, have adopted environmentally friendly initiatives. The most visible approach for eCommerce companies is with their packaging. Zalando has announced that in 2020 they will phase out all of their plastic packagings and replace it with paper or cardboard.

3. Content marketing

In 2018, 39% of global advertising was spent on digital advertising. It is expected that consumers today are developing a filter for advertising, therefore, companies are turning to more personal methods of interaction. A good example of this includes the Dove #ShowUs campaign. This type of advertising is more about engagement with a community rather than showing off a particular product.

4. Experience-driven eCommerce through unique customer journeys

With physical stores ever competing harder with online stores, excellent retailers are utilizing their physical locations more as showrooms rather than a shelf shopping experience. In the Tokyo Metro, huge banners are displaying a storefront, where people scan a QR code to purchase their groceries through their mobile phones and have it delivered at home, rather than going to the supermarket themselves. 

Another example includes how Glossier created a “show-off” location in “Flowerstreet”, London, all painted up in flowers.

Image from: https://www.designboom.com/technology/tesco-virtual-supermarket-in-a-subway-station/

5. SoMe commerce

Social media has increasingly become important commercial platforms, changing from pure advertising. On Instagram and Pinterest we can tag our products and on Facebook, we can shop product catalogs. These will become even more important sales channels for eCommerce businesses in 2020. A company that is having success with this is PLINT.




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