The number of online purchases has grown exponentially during 2020 due to the pandemic. As physical stores have had to shut during this period, consumers have become reliant on purchasing items digitally and are not afraid to try new channels and marketplaces.
While trends such as mobile shopping and seamless user experiences have been around for a while, 2020 saw the rise of personalization, sustainability, blockchain, and the evolving role of social media. Top eCommerce sites such as Amazon and Kogan have also utilized some of these tactics to cater to evolving customer needs.
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Personalized shopping experiences
With technological advances, online consumers are expecting personalized shopping experiences and for product offerings to be catered to their needs. While eCommerce brands have already looked at improving their overall user experience and user interface, there’s a need to go one step further and utilize big data to build relationships with customers.
This year, eCommerce companies have done their research and focused on integrating personalized features into their websites, tailoring content according to customer behaviors and their target market, and improving product recommendations relevant to customer needs. Doing so helps brands gain a competitive edge and remain at the top of their customer’s minds.
With blockchain being one of the secure and trusted platforms out there, it offers much potential for eCommerce businesses. Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have been used as a form of payment for eCommerce websites, and it benefits companies as there’s no need to involve an intermediary such as banks and payment processors.
An increasing number of consumers have adopted bitcoin in 2020, and there are now over 15,000 places worldwide that allow consumers to pay with cryptocurrency. Examples of retailers accepting Bitcoin payment include Expedia, Microsoft, as well as Shopify store owners.
Developments in technology have resulted in customers opting for online marketplaces that provide them with a more personalized shopping experience. They expect someone to be available to answer their queries and needs 24/7 and are not looking for a cookie-cutter answer.
To address consumer needs, eCommerce companies have had to go above and beyond with their customer service. While training staff and reducing customer waiting time is helpful, eCommerce companies have also integrated chatbots within their systems. These chatbots have been programmed to not come across as robotic; instead, they are conversational and are able to engage new prospects within the sales process.
The role of social media
Good social media specialists also play a vital role in the eCommerce world in 2020. Customers can now purchase items on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram – making this an excellent opportunity for eCommerce brands to position themselves on social media.
Companies have practiced both social media monitoring and listening and utilized the right social media channels to be discovered by their target audience.
Channels such as TikTok have also gained popularity over the course of 2020, with video marketing and visually-appealing relevant content playing an integral role in eCommerce businesses. Platforms like Shopify have also hopped on this trend and allowed their customers to link their online store with social media sites to increase sales.
With emerging eCommerce trends and new technology, it’s crucial for businesses and retailers to think about the best way to attract and convert customers. While companies can utilize plenty of strategies to provide them with a competitive advantage, the most important thing is to consider what your customers want. Only by assessing customer needs can companies remain top of mind in this competitive and growing industry.
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