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E-commerce trends: What to expect in 2020


Survival of the fittest – the only way you can win is if you adapt to the environment around you. The e-commerce industry is no different.

It’s a rapidly changing and highly competitive sector. You constantly need to be tracking the latest developments and staying ahead of the curve if you want your products and brand to have prominence in front of your customers.

Of course, experimenting with the hottest trends can sometimes be risky. But, as long as the steps you are taking are in the best interests of your customers, the odds of success will always be in your favor.

Let’s look at some of the emerging e-commerce trends that we can expect will catch on in 2020. Note that it’s important to analyse these in conjunction with your e-commerce business before you decide to take a crack at any of them.

Google shopping

Unless your brand is extremely popular or you are already a well-known shopping destination, most users will land on your site by relying on search engines (we can restrict our discussion to google because all others are far behind).

There are two ways of marketing your products to users who are searching for them. You can either rank organically for the search terms and draw traffic from the click-throughs, or alternatively, you can sponsor search ads and product listing ads (PLA) on google that will help leapfrog your products to the top of the search engine results page.

While building up organic traffic to your site is an elaborate and long-drawn process, getting featured on google shopping is relatively easy and straightforward. The more niche your product, the better are the results with this form of marketing.

Social commerce

Social commerce is an upcoming trend that is on the verge of blowing up in the coming year. A large amount of time that consumers spend on social media can easily be monetised by offering shoppable products on social platforms. For instance, you can leverage Instagram shopping (which involves taking a customer from Instagram to your shopping site) and the new checkout feature (which allows customers to buy directly from within Instagram) to increase sales and boost revenue. Underscoring the potential of this trend, it would be useful to know that few companies have built their entire business models around the concept of social commerce.

Companies such as Meesho and Glowroad have leveraged the vast reach and influence of WhatsApp to create a virtual self-reliant community-based shopping network.

You too can cherry-pick aspects of social commerce that are relevant and apply them to your business.

Dynamic pricing and personalisation

Businesses are realising that undercutting prices is not the best way to beat the competition. It can be detrimental to your brand and result in the devaluation of your products.

Optimisation holds the key to healthy sales, brand reputation, and profit margins. It’s advisable to study competitor prices, gather data-driven insights from historical data to act on the challenge of real-time pricing. Intelligent use of AI/ML and data science can ensure that you are always offering the most competitive price vis-à-vis the competition, while at the same time making sustainable gross profits on every sale.

Adding an element of personalisation with customer-specific pricing can further ensure strong customer loyalty and repeat purchases in the future. Creating and maintaining individual user profiles can enable you to offer highly relevant user-based recommendations which in turn can boost your cross-sells and up-sells.

Progressive web-apps

Progressive web-app mimics the features of a native web app. Online commerce space has witnessed an increase in the usage of PWA (Progressive Web App). Social media giants such as Twitter have been using PWAs for quite some time, and this trend has caught the imagination of e-commerce players.

Implementing PWA technology enables you to ensure optimal usability of your website across mobile devices and form factors. PWAs will help you manage a seamless omnichannel experience for your users. As customer journeys continue to be less linear and more fluid across various platforms and devices, businesses need to acknowledge the need to be omnipresent to attain efficiency across multiple channels.

Rental and re-commerce market

The market for used products has been growing significantly thanks to an increased focus on sustainability and the need to purchase products at low prices. The demand for used goods will continue to grow and spread to different categories in the future. Flipkart, for instance, launched the 2gud platform to cater to the high demand for refurbished electronic goods and appliances. Similarly, the rental and pay-per-use market has seen steady growth in recent times.

If your products are expensive or of repetitive nature, it might make business sense to start offering them on a rental or pay-per-use basis. This could open up your products and services to a much wider audience than what would have otherwise been possible.

This article was first published on e27, 03 Jan, 2020.
Image credit: Daily Nouri on Unsplash