Statista.com, the globally renowned source for statistical data, mentions that the market growth of E-commerce globally in 2019 is estimated at 20.7% and for 2020 at a marginally lower rate of 19%. In this current year, E-commerce sales globally have reached US$3.53 trillion. The total sales value of E-commerce worldwide is expected to US$6.54 trillion by 2022.
With that kind of growth prospects, E-commerce sellers need to plan their 2020 strategies with care. Keeping track of emerging market trends is critical to developing effective and efficient business strategies. Yet, that is easier said than done, like most things in life. With a business to run, it is hard to find time to scan and read up leading business publications to guide your thoughts.
We at Shoppr are committed to offering you relevant information to ease your job. Get the market trends to watch out for 2020 here. Based on rigorous research of leading industry publications, interviews of business influencers, reliable data sources and much more – we offer you a guide to E-commerce marketing in 2020.
The Need to Identify Market Trends for Effective Business Planning
In this era of globalized economies and businesses, the market is forever volatile. That fast-changing feature is particularly applicable to the E-commerce marketplace. Customer behaviors and preferences influence E-commerce even more than it does the preexisting model of business through brick and mortar stores.
A 2012 article in the International Journal of Academic Research in Economics and Management Sciences demonstrates in-depth and details why market audit is critical to formulating business strategies that will enable you to have a competitive edge in your business sector.
There are three key steps involved in analyzing market trends to inform your marketing strategy:
- Market selection: understanding the broader marketplace and the segmentations in it
- Identifying market segments: determining variables and profiling the segments
- Defining the target market: assessing the attractiveness of the market segments and selection of segments to aim at
The standard tools for efficient market audit to effectively inform your marketing strategy decisions are:
- Tracking industry influencers and lead publications
- Soaking up industry reports to stay up-to-date with what is happening in the industry landscape
- Optimal use of digital analytics and tools to understand industry behavior
- Observing competitor behavior
- Listening to your customers
We have diligently carried out the first three actions for you in preparing this guide. You can safely use it to formulate your marketing strategy. Just remember to observe relevant competitor behavior and incorporate customer feedback.
Some Fundamentals as We Look at 2020
This guide is a practical one to help you make informed business decisions for growing your E-commerce business in the coming year. However, one of the best ways to personalize the overall guidance provided here is to incorporate insights from the Google Analytics reports into it.
We assume that as an E-commerce businessperson, you have a working knowledge of how to track goals in Google Analytics, and have your E-commerce tracking configured. If you don’t, get busy now, we say!
The greatest advantage of using Google Analytics reports is that they help you optimize your E-commerce business growth by pinpointing the problem areas. You immediately know the problem areas you need to address and can take a data-driven decision on what to change and why.
The eight crucial Google Analytics reports that will help you to optimize your E-commerce strategy are:
- Browsers and Screen Resolutions
- Funnel Visualization
- Goal Flow
- Mobile Overview
- Site Speed Page Timing
- Time Lag + Path Length
Browsers and Screen Resolution Reports
The browsers and screen resolution reports from Google Analytics are helpful to tell you if there are changes you need to make in the design of your website to ensure that people see what you want them to see most prominently. They tell you the browsers being used to visit your online store and how your website appears there.
These reports also give the details about the various screen resolutions people use to visit your page, and the number of sessions and time spent on your page. If the reports reflect that people visiting your page on particular screen resolutions visit less frequently, or spend less time, maybe there is something the issue with the screen resolution of your page that you need to look at. The conversion metrics offer the same insights.
These reports offer insights critical for informed business strategy formulation as they help you know the age and gender profiles of the visitors to your page, along with their affinity and lifestyle profiles. Absolutely indispensable to decide on which products to promote more and what changes to bring to your online E-commerce store.
Funnel Visualization Reports
It may seem that to know about the conversion rates is enough, but it’s not quite that simple. It is just as important to know about the conversions that do not happen if you want to understand the reasons behind them and address them. This is where the funnel visualization reports become critical.
A funnel visualization in business parlance refers to the various steps that a consumer goes through before actually making a purchase. In Google Analytics, the funnel visualization tells you the number of pages a potential customer visits before making the purchase or dropping off.
If you enable the funnel visualization in your goal setting for Google Analytics, you will be able to clearly You can decide from which step you want the funnel details and you can change them also. The funnel visualization report will tell you the number of visitors who carry on to the next step and the total number that finally converts into a purchaser.
Remember that our real lessons for success come from our failures. Getting the details about where your visitors are dropping off will help you understand the issues that your E-commerce page/website may have and implement improvements.
Goal Flow Reports
Human behavior is unpredictable, as we all know. It is critical that you continue to improve your understanding of visitor and consumer behavior to make your E-commerce store a success. The goal flow reports from Google Analytics are a great tool for doing just that.
They are an improvement on the funnel visualization reports insofar as they break up the data of a standardized funnel visualization report for more flexibility. A funnel visualization report will tell you where the drop-offs are happening. A goal flow diagram will allow you to understand the loopbacks, jumps, and skips.
The Google support team explains in detail the exact differences between a funnel visualization report and a goal flow report. It is worthwhile to understand those differences. Generally speaking, the goal flow reports help you improve your engagement with visitors and customers much more than the funnel visualization report does. Here is why:
- The Google Analytics goal flow reports enable you to check exactly where visitors enter your online store. You might find that often it is not at what you think is the first step.
- They also reflect the loopbacks, which the funnel visualization reports do not.
- The funnel visualization reports backfill when a visitor skips a step, but goal flow reports do not. So, you gain insights into skips.
- No retroactive data is available on funnel visualization reports, but goal flow reports offer retroactive data also.
- Goal flow reports offer support for advanced segmentation that funnel visualization reports do not.
- The funnel visualization report enables you to compare visits between two dates or sets of dates, but not step specific comparable data. That is available in goal flow reports.
To summarize, you need the funnel visualization reports to form an idea about overall visitor and purchaser behavior. Goal flow reports help you gain deeper insights to engage more meaningfully with your visitors and purchasers.
The device reports in Google Analytics help you understand the correlation between the total volume of traffic to your online store and the device they use. Devices covered are desktops, which includes laptops also, tablets, and mobile phones. These reports are helpful in understanding the comparative traffic flow from each device type along with the conversion rate. That generates useful insights into the devices to focus on in your E-commerce store design.
Mobile Overview Reports
The detailed overview reports of various kinds of mobile phones from which your traffic flows are important to help you check if your E-commerce store works equally well for the entire range of mobile handsets. With mobile phones increasingly becoming the preferred device for visitors and consumers of E-commerce, it is singularly important to ensure that your online store is equally accessible and attractive to different brands and models of mobile handsets.
In addition, the mobile overview reports offer insights into brands and handset types also – which are important to understand the lifestyle preferences of your visitors and consumers.
Site Speed Page Timing Reports
These are absolutely critical to understand as there are many studies to reflect that slow page loading time causes potential visitors and customers to abandon their efforts. There is no absolute answer to how fast your page must load so that potential visitors and customers do not leave. But these reports from Google Analytics help you understand your comparative advantage or disadvantage in terms of site loading time.
These reports offer three types of crucial information:
- Page Timings reports tell you how fast or slow your page loads across browsers, devices, and geographical locations.
- User Timings reports offer data on specific features such as image loading time after a click, response time to user clicks for specific information, etc.
- The DOM Timings subtabs on the Page Timings report presents data on browser speed in parsing documents to make them available to your visitors.
Time Lag + Path Length Reports
These provide another essential source of information to understand customer behavior. The path length reports inform you about the number of times a consumer visits and interact with your E-commerce store before finally making a purchase. The time lag reports inform you about the time taken between the first visit and the final purchase.
They give you useful insights to check if there are areas of improvement in your online store to reduce both of these.
So, as you ready for growing your E-commerce business in 2020, start with a thorough investigation of these Google Analytics reports for your store. If you have not configured your Google Analytics yet, please do that now! That is the first guidance we are offering you. This entire section is to guide you to make optimal use of the Google Analytics reports to strategize for business growth.
With those under your belt, you will be ready to strategize on the basis of the market trends for E-commerce in 2020.
E-Commerce Market Trends in 2020
We start with insights gained from iconic E-commerce enabler Shopify, to present some basic trends to keep in mind for the new year that is almost knocking on the door. However, this is certainly not just a paraphrasing of what the Shopify site says. We add our own analysis of what each of these future trends implies for you, along with suggestions for tackling the challenges that any of these trends might pose for you.
Brick-and-Mortar Retailers & E-Commerce
Yes, the sharp polarization between the online marketplace and brick-and-mortar business spaces is fast disappearing. E-commerce giant Amazon has already gained brick-and-mortar presence through its acquisition of the Whole Foods Markets. There are hardly any known international brands left who have not yet made themselves present in the online marketplace.
The question is, what does it mean for you as a small to medium E-commerce businessperson? Well, that is where the direct-to-consumer (D2C) model comes in, which will play a big role in 2020.
Direct-to-Customer (D2C) Models in 2020
The Direct-to-consumer (D2C) model is also known as digitally native vertical brands (DMVBs). The D2C model is about brands selling directly to consumers, without the retailer in the middle trying to tell you what your consumers would like. The interaction between the producer and the consumer is direct, which allows you to define your brand value and positioning exactly as you would like. In addition, you can engage with and learn directly from your customers.
The D2C model has already emerged strongly in the E-commerce business platform and it will grow further in 2020 and beyond, experts say. But how do you compete with big players like Amazon, Walmart, and several others already there?
Everyday Item at Cheaper Rates
If you are planning an E-commerce startup in 2020, look for some everyday items that you can sell at rates considerably cheaper than currently available, even in the online marketplace.
Consider Starting with a Blog
Blogs already constitute a popular technique of attracting customers to your E-commerce store. If you are still thinking of starting your online store in 2020, start a blog now. That will help you gain important insights into the kind of products and services more in demand, the population segment more likely to become your clientele, what their preferences are, and so forth.
Remember there are success stories of E-commerce-only brands launched only after a writer gained enough audience to the blog to turn into an entrepreneur.
If you already have an E-commerce store in place, but no blog – you simply have no time to lose. Start one now and get good writers to keep it active and engaging unless you want to lose out to your competitors. We mean those of your size only – not the giants.
Identify the Pain Points
Whatever the products or services you are offering in your E-commerce store, concentrate on what is lacking in the market currently. E-commerce is all about disruptions and to be able to disrupt effectively in 2020, you need to address those specific gaps. Your products or services will win over customers if they address the existing pain points.
Make Your Customers Your Brand Ambassadors
Celebrity endorsements come with a heavy price tag that may well be beyond your current reach as a startup E-commerce business person. Do not bother. The age-old word-of-mouth strategy still works fine. Sometimes, it works better than what celebrities say. Think about it: we enjoy watching celebrities, but for our everyday questions – we seek answers from kith and kin.
Spend resources on engaging your customers your brand ambassadors. Offer incentives like: Bring five friends to our online store and you get a 5% discount on your next purchase. Bring 10 friends to get a 10% discount!
Create a loyal clientele by offers like time-specific free trials and no-cost returns if your E-commerce involves items of long-term value such as home or kitchen appliances, apparel, and other related accessories, etc.
Concentrate on Social Media Marketing
Social media platforms have already emerged as great forums to attract potential consumers. They are going to play an even greater role in 2020, experts say. E-commerce is fast changing into social commerce, says another iconic E-commerce enabler Magento.
Read this article to gain powerful insights into how best to use social media platforms.
Engage, Engage, Engage!
Pay attention to customer care. Make sure there is a 24X7 response option built into your E-commerce customer care service. It is ideal if there is someone always there for live chats. In case that is too expensive for you right now, at least make sure that a message goes out immediately: “Thank you for your query. We will get back to you in less than 24 hours.” And make sure that it happens.
Also, take customer feedback seriously and ensure that you reach out to customers who care to share their reviews with you, positive or negative. Engage in solving issues that might alienate some customers.
Inclusion and Eco-Awareness are Going to Matter Even More
That is true. Brand equity is becoming an ever more important factor in influencing consumer decisions. Remember that your online store is not limited to consumers from one specific geographical location. The more inclusive you are in breaking traditional prejudices and the higher levels of ecological consciousness you can show – your brand appeal will increase proportionately.
E-Commerce is Transforming into Mobile Commerce
Visting E-commerce stores and making purchases from smartphones is an increasing trend globally. It is likely to increase further with mobile penetration still on the rise – especially in developing countries like India. They have a large middle-class population with disposable income and an emergent population of young professionals ready to spend for what they want/like. Magento quotes Javelin Strategy to inform that mobile commerce value will be as high as US$319 billion by 2020.
Make sure that your E-commerce store is easily accessible to different mobile handset brands and mobile service providers.
Build Up Automation Options
The success of your E-commerce business growth will depend largely on the extent to which you can automate the various aspects of your business. With multichannel transactions gaining in currency, automated processes in everything from inventory management to refund handling is indispensable for business growth.
As Magento points out – real-time information about stock availability, approximate transit time, and varied payment options to facilitate customer convenience are not possible without automation in place. It is time to invest in equipping your E-commerce store with automated processes if you intend to grow your business in 2020.
Reselling is on the Rise
Several experts believe that E-commerce is also fast transforming into re-commerce, which has to do with the re-selling of used products. Coredna says that the value of the online market for second-hand apparel will rise from US$24 billion in 2018 to US$51 billion by 2023. This market includes both donations and actual re-sales.
There are several factors guiding this trend, with sustainability concerns being a major one. The ability to buy coveted products for a reduced price is also a driving factor. You could consider if you have items in your E-commerce business that have re-sale value. You could then consider building that segment into your E-commerce business.
However, before taking a decision, you need to carefully study the second-hand market trends in the segments where most of your customers come from. It is equally important to check if the items you deal with are likely to attract purchasers of used goods. If you are in the apparel business, there is certainly enough scope for you.
Dropshipping: a Growing Trend in E-commerce
The dropshipping business model is anther strongly emergent trend in the E-commerce business arena and will grow considerably in 2020, experts like Shopify predict. If you are toying with the idea of starting an E-commerce business, you could consider the dropshipping business model, which requires very little initial investment. As a dropshipper, you handle no inventory. You simply play the role of an intermediary. You receive orders, buy from those offering the product and get it delivered to your customer.
The only thing to keep in mind is that dropshipping works best with niche products that people want, but do not really need. For instance, dropshipping is unlikely to succeed with fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) since clients need them then and there. A delivery delay is not an option. However, if it is a fancy wristwatch or a fashionable pair of sunglasses, the customer wouldn’t mind the time taken in delivery as there is no immediate need.
Dropshipping is a good model to start your E-commerce business. You can use either Magento or Shopify to set up your online dropshipping store.
The E-commerce marketplace is growing. Whether you already have an E-commerce store in place or thinking of starting one – this carefully researched marketing guide will help you make strategic business decisions in 2020. Here are the most critical points before we sign off:
- Use Google Analytics reports
- Concentrate on the D2C business model
- Be inclusive and eco-conscious
- Build automated processes
- Consider re-commerce
- Consider dropshipping if you are going to start your E-commerce business in 2020
Good wishes in advance for a happy and successful 2020 in your E-commerce business!