The world of e-commerce is rapidly changing. It’s simply irresponsible to rest on your laurels if you find yourself in this space. Strategies that worked in the early 2000s probably didn’t work too well in the ’10s. The same could be said for current marketing tactics that might become antiquated in the ’20s.
Technological advancements brought down shipping fees, sped up shipping timelines, made the checkout process smoother and helped merchants find consumers where they are most ready to make a purchase, among many other things. So while we head into a new decade, I’d like to attempt to predict some trends I think you could see in 2020 and beyond. Let’s dive right in.
1. Mobile purchases will continue to increase, and your mobile platform probably needs work because of this.
Choosing to focus on your web sales platform and neglecting mobile alternatives will result in missed revenue in 2020. We’ve seen the trend toward mobile e-commerce for a long time now, but in this time of ease and seamless shopping, it’s of the utmost importance to focus a lot of your attention on mobile sales strategies. According to Google research, 53% of mobile users leave a page that takes more than three seconds to load. Take mobile seriously in this new decade, and flourish because of it.
2. There will be rising interest in using behavioral data to create marketing campaigns, though marketers will need to adapt to privacy legislation.
I predict there will be a bit of a struggle between e-commerce retailers looking to utilize shoppers’ data to sell to them more effectively and new data privacy legislation, which will challenge that. For example, among numerous other pieces of legislation in the works, there is the California Consumer Privacy Act, which should make the use of third-party data more challenging than ever before. However, this will not stop retailers from doing their best to develop insights and put their data teams to work in seeing how they can get their products in front of the right people.
While the argument for privacy is logical, it seems there might be some dealmaking between retailers and legislators that could allow for palatable alternatives to knowing everything about a consumer. Rather, knowing enough to provide a better experience for online shoppers is inherently a good thing, I’d argue. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the ’20s.
3. Voice search will grow in popularity.
Back in March, TechCrunch reported that 66.4 million people used smart speakers in the U.S. That’s 26.2% of the adult population. The same article mentioned that a Juniper Research report around the same time estimated 8 billion digital voice assistants would be in use by 2023. This will have a huge effect on search engine optimization. It won’t be enough to optimize for Google search or other web-based searches. This prioritization of user friendliness will lead to more emphasis on the data itself instead of how it is organized and compiled in a browser page. It will be interesting to see how smart speakers help shape our future and how e-commerce falls into that.
4. Clickbait and dodgy marketing tactics will not work anymore.
Clickbait is really just the modern manifestation of similar marketing tactics that have been around for decades. I think consumers are more savvy than they were back in the day, so I predict we’ll see the death of old-school tactics aimed to generate anxiety and produce sales through pressuring the purchase. “If you act now, we’ll throw in X” and “Call within the next 30 minutes to get X deal” have been replaced by running timers that show how much longer you have to act, aimed to create more of a sense of urgency. Headlines that might be interesting and create clicks like, “These holiday gifts will make any boyfriend happy” might get them to your page. However, I don’t think they’ll move the needle unless your targeting is correct and your products are legitimately strong. I see after a decade of clickbait in news, media and e-commerce, we’ll finally move into an era where one must craft a sales experience that doesn’t feel so forceful.
5. We’ll see artificial intelligence and machine learning in e-commerce take off.
This goes hand in hand with the section about behavioral data, but we’ll see AI and automation working on our behalf to optimize e-commerce strategies in 2020 and beyond. By 2022, companies are expected to be spending $79.2 billion on AI systems. If you think about it, the investment makes a lot of sense. It will be easier to target and re-target customers, and finding the right affiliates to work with will be much easier in the next decade. We’ll be able to learn from both successes and failures more quickly and become more nimble in the process.
I hope you take these predictions and apply some of them in your sales strategy next year. Best of luck out there.
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