Ecommerce trends for 2020

If you haven’t already, it’s time to start considering which ecommerce trends will shape 2020.

Looking back, 2019 was dominated by data and connectivity. Privacy and personalisation both acted as core contributors to an effective offering. Phone calls declined, while real-time conversational commerce grew. Not to mention the increased popularity of comprehensive self-service options.

With all that in mind, then, we can reasonably predict what lies in store for the year ahead. So, here are our predictions on the top ecommerce trends for 2020.

Omnichannel omnipresence

2019 saw a continued shift in customer expectations when it comes to accessing service. Standalone channels are fast becoming too restrictive for the busy consumer.

As such, one of the prolific ecommerce trends for 2020 is the coming boom of the omnichannel ecommerce experience. Far from a mere buzzword or shared goal, omnichannel is fast becoming more achievable.

In 2020, then, we predict that omnichannel will increasingly become omnipresent across ecommerce offerings. Consumers will seamlessly swap channels as they engage with brands. All without losing the conversational thread or their journey progress.

So big is the coming omnichannel boom, that it provides a theme that informs many of the other ecommerce trends we expect to see in 2020.

Shopping through social

Much more than a place to share your content, social media is becoming a place to shop from.

Following the omnichannel theme, another of the 2020 ecommerce trends is the adoption of social commerce. Ecommerce customers will be able to buy directly through their favourite social media platforms. Without, that is, ever needing to click away from their favourite social channel.

O2O fluidity

Beyond blending online channels, 2020 will be the year that ecommerce companies also start to blend with an offline offering.

Some ecommerce-first companies will (cautiously) expand into bricks-and-mortar by opening a physical location. Amazon Go is an obvious example of this type of move.

But there are other ways that online and offline can (and will) entwine. For example, some ecommerce companies might use physical spaces for one-off events. This panders to the shift in consumer priorities from owning things to life experiences.

Another example that’s likely to see widespread use is a ‘buy online, collect in store’ model. This requires a physical collection point. (Which could be through branded bricks-and-mortar stores, or through a partnership with other companies.)

In short, the blending of traditional commerce and ecommerce is another of the coming ecommerce trends for 2020.

Continued chatbot adoption and real-time popularity

Chatbots are a long-standing ecommerce trend. They’ve enjoyed growth and improvement since the chatbot boom in 2016. Every year, they’ve continued to grow in usability and popularity across industries.

This comes alongside the continued drive for real-time support and conversational commerce. Chatbots will continue to perform best when integrated with a live chat offering. That is, when they tag team with real-time, human support.

This will all continue into 2020 as another of the ecommerce trends we expect to see in the year ahead.

AR ‘fitting rooms’

Quieter than a lot of other technology in 2019, augmented reality (AR) will continue to assimilate into ecommerce in 2020.

So far, IKEA and Sephora have both demonstrated how AR can boost an ecommerce offering. But with the turn of the decade, this technology will grow more widespread.

AR will introduce a virtual ‘try before you buy’ to ecommerce. Customers will be able to use the technology to ‘try on’ outfits. Or to test colour combinations. Or even see their potential purchase in their space. All before they hit your checkout queue.

This technology may reduce the need for returns and the environmental impact of ecommerce.

Environmentally mindful

Our final prediction for the ecommerce trends of 2020 moves away from the omnichannel motif. Instead, it comes from the rise in environmental concern that’s rocked much of 2019.

People are waking up to the planet’s condition, and the desire to act has people looking for greener options. So, in 2020, sustainable practices will act as a competitive advantage for ecommerce businesses.

This means that practices such as sustainable packing (i.e. recycled, reusable and/or plastic-free) will rightly become the norm. Some ecommerce sites might find ways to embrace second-hand, ‘pre-loved’ products.

How different ecommerce companies will embrace the green initiative is open to creativity. But the environmental impact of ecommerce will certainly find space in the spotlight.

2020: ecommerce trends

Many of our predictions for the ecommerce trends we’ll see in 2020 come from looking back at what’s already happened. But, as ever, we won’t know for sure until we get there.

That said, we think 2020 will be a year of reflection and growing on the past. After all, they say that hindsight is 20:20.

What ecommerce trends do you think 2020 has in store? Tweet us with your thoughts.

Useful links

Embracing the omnichannel contact centre

Conversational commerce explained

Preventing cart abandonment with live chat software