Ecommerce trends 2020: social shopping, pure play marketplaces, and more

January 29, 2020
Ecommerce is changing every year, and there’s always some new fad coming or going. There’s been chatbot hype, the birth and rebirth of geotargeting, and lately, a shifting focus to broad topics like trust and privacy. So what will be the ecommerce trends in 2020?
Here are 8 (very cool) things to expect as we enter this new decade in ecommerce.

First, and perhaps most exciting: social shopping

Users love to shop for products on channels like Instagram and Pinterest. This has been going on for years. What’s different today, is that these social channels are turning from an advertising platform into shopping channels.
Facebook and Instagram now have built-in purchasing capability. So what’s next from Pinterest, Snapchat, Tiktok? AR, shoppable user-generated content? We’ll find out soon. (Pssst. It probably includes shoppable content!)
Along with this trend, shoppable images and videos will also become increasingly common. Instagram’s Shoppable Posts are just the beginning. We’re going to see social channels make the journey from first touchpoint to final purchase as short and sweet as possible.

#2: The rise and automation of product videos

Almost every study done on the topic has found that shoppers “click” more with video ads than static ones.
  • 753% higher click-through rates have been achieved with video ads compared to static.
  • 72% of customers prefer to learn about a product by way of video.
And what do you get when you cross a dynamic, personalized ad with relevant products? An amazing product experience, and probably a sale. That’s why product videos are not only going to become increasingly common in ecommerce, so are the solutions that make their production easy.
And while general advertising and brand awareness videos will still be important, they may lose ground to their product-specific counterparts.

#3: Retailers will expand touchpoints on marketplaces that are not direct competitors

Google Shopping Actions, eBay, Facebook Marketplace: these are all great marketplaces. More importantly, they’re not directly competing with retailers in the same way that Amazon does.
As retailers look to expand their touchpoints and gain ground in the digital space, these marketplace pure players will be a safe space for retailers. And they’re going to start getting on more and more of these marketplaces.

#4 is about voice. However, the focus this year will be optimizing product content for voice.

We know the market needs more time to mature before voice commerce can fully take off. But that won’t stop businesses from getting ready. That’s why early adopters will begin stepping up their game.
Businesses are now really differentiating between thinking about voice commerce and optimizing for it. For example, we know that shopper behavior is different on mobile as compared to desktop - and that difference is going to be even more extreme with voice. With voice, shoppers will need to be hyper specific in order to show up on top.
How do consumers shop? What do they value? Read the latest industry insights in Raconteur'sFuture of Retail report.

Trend #5: Manufacturers will take more control

We’ve seen digitally native brands take the stage in recent years: Casper, Dollar Shave Club, and hundreds of others. These brands are selling directly to the consumer because ecommerce has made D2C easy.
However, 2020 and beyond isn’t just about “manufacturers going D2C.”
This year will be about partnerships and collaborations that strengthen brands and their relationships to retailers. Facebook already has collaborative ads that let brands and retailers work together to make sales, and we can be sure that more channels will start supporting these cooperative advertising solutions.

Trend #6: Is about sustainability…

And this isn’t just about how brands and manufacturers handle their goods. There’s no doubt that many businesses are striving to change the way they produce and send products. But we’re also going to see a shift in marketing messaging. Because audiences, Gen Z in particular, care about this message, businesses are going to be very clear.
This will be in product descriptions, images, social, everywhere it’s possible to mention.

Trend #7: “Retailment”

Did you know that Alibaba live streamed an 8 hour fashion show just for Singles Day? Yeah, and the fashion show was specifically paired with product listings on Tmall where customers could buy the clothing items they saw on the runway. This isn’t just cool and creative marketing, this is taking advantage of the modern consumer’s love of shopping.
Its retail therapy meets entertainment. It causes excitement and lets consumers see products in action. It shows that the brand or retailer is fun and interesting.
You can look forward to seeing much more creative retailment - from businesses large and small - this year.

Trend #8: Concerted efforts to minimize returns

Until now, many ecommerce businesses have simply accepted easy returns as a necessity. However, as one very interesting Forbes article describes, these liberal returns policies have “created a monster.” It’s not sustainable for businesses, and something has to change.
A number of major brands and retailers are quietly changing their returns policies.
This year, expect to see larger minimum order sizes, stricter return policies, tighter requirements for free shipping, and - this one’s kind of new - an emphasis on clearer product information.
More images and more specific product details will help shoppers understand whether or not the product fits their needs. Is it really the right size? Does it fit with things they already use?
Shoppers will need action shots, comparative shots, comprehensive specs, and even videos to help them fully understand the product.
With this kind of information, they will hopefully make fewer returns.
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Hannah Augur
Senior Content Creator