22 Ecommerce Trends for 2020 [Survey Report] - SearchNode
Ecommerce Trends 2020

22 Ecommerce Trends for 2020 [Survey Report]

Welcome to our Ecommerce Trends 2020 Survey Report!

Every year people across all industries try to guess and estimate what the new year will bring; the eCommerce industry is not an exception. Probably all of us are familiar with the sweet idea that implementing the latest eCommerce trends can get a company ahead of its rivals. This year we decided – no more guessing! As the sole purpose of our company is to help eCommerce companies to have the best possible site search experience, we wanted to provide even more guidance. How?

In 2019 we started a global initiative to help eCommerce retailers prepare their businesses for the future: Ecommerce Trends 2020 Survey. 

The survey was conducted in October 2019 and collected feedback from nearly 160 eCommerce leaders. They were contacted from across the globe (37 countries in 5 continents) and granted full anonymity for their responses. We only reached out to decision-makers to obtain the most reliable information about new eCommerce trends.

The goal of the Ecommerce Trends 2020 Survey Report is to show possible trends, explain why different cases happen, and enrich it with opinions from other sources; thus, we didn’t want to form an opinion from our perspective, as it wouldn’t be objective. We decided to let our readers make conclusions themselves, based on rich survey data. With the knowledge gained from research questions, readers will be able to incorporate their own ideas about the future.

In the full report, you’ll find 32 survey questions that cover new eCommerce trends, businesses’ thoughts, plans for future technology, and more.

We intend to make the Ecommerce Trends 2020 Survey a beautiful annual tradition so that every year, industry people all over the world won’t need to wonder what is waiting for the industry in the future. 

In this article, you will find a summary of some of the most interesting questions of the eCommerce trends survey. A complete and comprehensive analysis can be found in the PDF file. Enjoy!

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Ecommerce Trend #1: Top Technologies for 2020

In the eCommerce trends survey, we asked respondents about technologies that they plan to implement, improve, or change in 2020 to determine where their efforts would be focused in the coming year. This can lend some insight as to the overall strategy of most for some of the responding companies for one’s own personal economic analysis.

  • Respondents focused on both: well-known and innovative technology fields;
  • Among the most mentioned were such well-known technologies, as personalization (76%), site-search (60%), and omnichannel (49%);
  •  On the other hand, quite innovative technologies, such as payments (44%), analytics platform (41%), product visualization (39%), are all very high on the list as well;
  • Smaller for lesser-known technologies accordingly received less attention.

Thus it’s clear that newer eCommerce technologies are just as important as the fundamentals. This is especially true since consumers are fickle in this day and age and are likely to move on to different eCommerce institutions or businesses once offered something better.

Ecommerce Trend #2: Environmentally-Friendly Ecommerce

As consumers focus more on the environment and the challenges that it presents to business and our way of life, eCommerce companies must also become conscious of these aspects they are to remain popular and, therefore, profitable.

  • 72% of the companies who responded to our survey are taking at least a single action to become greener, such as plastic-free packaging or efficient transportation;
  • 28% of the respondents are not addressing climate change or other environmental considerations at all;
  • A minority of the  respondents (24%) are taking more than two actions to become eco-friendly;
  • Only 2% are doing more than three actions.

All this indicates that most respondents are aware of the problem of environmental responsibility. Still, only a few are likely to have a dramatic and positive impact soon.

Ecommerce Trend #3: Marketing Channels with Most ROI in 2020

We asked eCommerce trends survey respondents about the most successful marketing channels for their company in terms of return on investment (ROI).

  • A majority of our respondents – 34% named organic search marketing as the channel with the best ROI;
  • More direct or bolder marketing efforts, like email advertising or paid search engine results, had a much higher return on investment, based on our respondents;
  • Most companies find subtler marketing strategies, such as a referral or social, to be less effective in terms of ROI.

By far, organic search traffic has the highest return on investment, according to the respondents. This indicates that increasing your eCommerce business’ traffic for general organic searches is likely the number one way to increase your marketing ROI and general profitability for 2020.

Ecommerce Trend #4: Personalization

Ecommerce Personalization

With so much competition on the market, consumers are faced with more choices about where to spend their money than ever before, personalization can help to stand out from the crowd. In addition, personalization can improve customer loyalty and can even boost online traffic conversions significantly, particularly if the user enjoys the personalization experience and feels that a relationship has been made.

  • 78% of the responding companies stated that they plan to not only keep their personalization technology but improve or increase their investments;
  • Another 14% are planning to hold their personalization levels about the same;
  • Only 1% of the respondents will decrease personalization investments in 2020.

All in all, it’s clear that personalization is important to most. Ecommerce businesses will want to at least investigate some aspects of personalization, if only to remain relevant compared to their direct competitors

Ecommerce Trend #5: Direct Selling in Social Media

eCommerce companies are starting to consider direct social selling across the board. With social media’s meteoric rise only continuing as the years go on, and with user engagement higher than ever across all social media outlets or platforms, it’s a valid strategy from a blank marketing standpoint. It’s potentially an easy way to get thousands or millions of eyes on your site or product.

  • 40% of respondents replied that they either were going to start implementing direct social selling in 2020 or are already using it;
  • Despite all of the potential advantages, another 39% answered negatively;
  • The remaining 22% of responding companies have not yet decided about the adoption of this strategy.

All in all, whether direct social selling is right for your eCommerce business may depend on what you sell and your bottom line. It may be critical for eCommerce businesses looking to get ahead of the competition.

Ecommerce Trend #6: Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Ecommerce Artificial Intelligence

AI is going to become a fact of life sooner or later. No doubt that one of the earliest areas in which it’ll hit the hardest will be eCommerce as a whole. We decided to find out where Ecommerce Trends 2020 Survey respondents thought AI would be the most help for their businesses.

  • The respondents were most confident that personalization (73%), site-search (58%), marketing (48%), pricing (43%), and chatbots (36%), as the areas most likely to receive AI assistance in 2020.

It’s safe to say that the majority of companies are aware that AI will have a dramatic impact on the market in ways we can only imagine.

Ecommerce Trend #7: Product Subscription Model

Product Subscription Services

Product subscription services are a relatively recent innovation that has become more ubiquitous over the past few years. Most of these service users tend to be younger, affluent, and urbanite. Thus, it may be that eCommerce sites who specialize with this kind of consumer base might find more success than businesses with different customer groups.

  • 33% of respondents are already offering product subscription services, or plan to offer them in 2020;
  • A higher majority of respondents are not planning to provide product subscription services next year.

Only specific eCommerce sites offer products or services that can be effectively or meaningfully packaged into a subscription box or package that can be reliably delivered to a door. This type of model also requires shipping costs, which may be a deal-breaker for some eCommerce businesses.

Ecommerce Trend #8: Economic Recession Influence

Ecommerce Economic Crisis

We asked Ecommerce Trends 2020 Survey respondents if they were preparing for an economic recession, as this may lend insight into the reasoning behind their plans for technology research and development, or growth goals. While the United States has been in an economic expansion period for about 11 years, many economists believe that a crisis is due to appear by the end of 2020. As economic recessions are cyclical and always return after several years, it’s not a matter of if the next recession will arrive but when. 

  • Based on the survey results, eCommerce companies are split about equal when it comes to their preparation plans;
  • 40% of responding companies are preparing for a particular financial crisis, while 41% are not;
  • Another 27% don’t know or are undecided.

It’s clear that opinions about the next economic recession’s inevitability are divided. But as we said above, the next recession will eventually come. It may be smart to take several steps to insulate your business from the worst parts of a recession, particularly if you are a small business. Small businesses, of course, are those most susceptible to bankruptcy or other issues during a downturn, since they typically rely on a lower number of customers.

Feel free to share our survey results on your social media!

The remaining 14 Ecommerce Trends for 2020 can be found in the full survey report, with more detailed analysis.


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Ecommerce Trends 2020 Ebook

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