This article was first posted on LinkedIn on October 28, 2019.
After a few years of (almost) business-as-usual, eCommerce is now entering an exciting era. New game-changing technologies are setting new trends and offering new business opportunities. In order to take advantage of those opportunities you must be aware of what is coming.
Let’s see what will take center stage in 2020! Here is a list of eCommerce trends and eCommerce marketing for 2020.
1. Machine Learning
Machine Learning will become more pervasive in every aspect of eCommerce. Until now, only the big player could afford the cost and sophistication of Machine Learning. In 2020 Machine Learning will become accessible to more online retailers and will be eventually integrated into the major eCommerce platforms impacting every aspect:
- Product Recommendations
- Personalized Marketing
- Price Optimization
- Product Search
- Market Trends Prediction
- Fraud Protection and Prevention
2. Augmented Reality
As Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality improve and create experiences almost indistinguishable from reality, they become the perfect tool for a customer to experience a product before the purchase. AR and VR are becoming pervasive, and they will be integrated into the eCommerce for almost all vertical markets, not only fashion and furniture.
3. Voice Technology
We have witnessed voice interface making incredible progress in the last few years, as proved the ubiquity of devices such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. I don’t believe voice is going the favorite option for everybody. Still, we know that voice is already making eCommerce more accessible to the elderly and people experiencing discomfort with the touch or mouse interface. For a while, voice is going to be the domain of big players, such as Amazon and Google. Gradually voice commerce will become more popular, integrating if not replacing other interaction channels.
4. D2C (Direct to Customer)
In 2020 we will witness even more big manufacturers shifting to D2C (Direct to Customer). Part of this trend is the switch from sales to subscriptions. They will get rid of traditional offline and online resellers while pushing for their eStores. Now, manufacturers want to own and control the conversation with the end-user. They are not anymore available to delegate such relevant interactions to resellers. Only the small brands will continue complementing their online presence with a network of resellers and distributors. Amazon and the other big eCommerce player will join the trend by providing more visibility to the most influential brands by allowing them to build and customize stores embedded into their platforms.
5. Hyper-Personalized User Experience
Personalized product recommendations are just the begin. Very soon, entire eCommerce websites will be fully customized to meet the preferences, tastes, and purchasing history of every single visitor. Each customer will experience a different version of the site, unique and fully customized. This trend is called Hyper-Personalization. It will be made possible in the most flexible eCommerce platforms by connecting the visitor profile with robust machine learning systems.
OmniChannel means to be able to start an interaction in a physical store, continue the conversation anywhere on a mobile device, and eventually finalize the purchase at home on a desktop computer. The technology is here. The year 2020 is when the integration will finally connect all the dots providing a consistent, connected, and integrated experience to each customer, regardless of the device and the channel. Until now, only the big guys had the means to integrate all the signals in a single profile and let the visitor session to continue unaffected across channels and devices. As the hybrid approach, online-offline becomes more prevalent, and every conversation will automatically extend across multiple channels and multiple devices.
7. Social Shopping
Instagram and Pinterest were among the first social media to offer an integrated check-in in the app, called social-shopping, making online shopping an authentic social experience. Soon this will become the rule, and the line separating ads from landing page will disappear. More social media will offer that options and more retailers will endorse it, providing their customers with this option. There are also some exciting startups leveraging the social aspects to drive sales. They are emphasizing the value of getting recommendations from your circle of friends and sharing your purchasing history with them.
8. Headless Architecture
To bring the eCommerce where the customers are (social-media, multiple devices, multiple-channels), the reference architecture of eCommerce platforms will have to change. The separation between CMS and user-interface will have to be absolute. CMS will become an agnostic provider of information (via API) fully delegating to the front-end the decision of what information to show and how. This approach is called eCommerce Headless Architecture.
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Franco Folini lives and works in the eCommerce territory, a wild area between the Kingdom of Technology and the Kingdom of Marketing. He speaks fluently the language of both realms. For many years, Franco has been helping people bridge the divide and successfully collaborate.
If you want to find out more about Franco, visit his LinkedIn profile or send him an email folini[at]gmail.com