With 2020 finally over, it’s time to take a look back. 2020 was an interesting year – to say the least! The way people shop, interact with others, and how they live their lives have all changed dramatically. Before we get into the new year, which we’re all hoping will be a little less dramatic, let’s look at the major ecommerce news for 2020.
A Look Back at Ecommerce in 2020
For many, 2020 has seemed to stretch on forever; and throughout the year, a lot has happened in the world of ecommerce. With a global pandemic keeping many of us home, online retail has become even more vital. Here’s how ecommerce has evolved in 2020:
The Coronavirus Pandemic Sends Shoppers Online
While everyone’s 2020 experience differs, the Coronavirus pandemic has made the most impact. It has spanned over the entirety of 2020 and will likely continue into 2021, as vaccines are distributed around the globe. With stores closed and stay-at-home orders active in many parts of the country, shoppers and retailers alike have had to adapt to working and shopping from home. In fact, some reports state that the Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the shift to ecommerce by five years. This means in 2021, retailers should be prepared for increased site traffic to continue. In addition, customers are expecting more from online retailers, as online shopping becomes the new norm, including fast and free shipping and sufficient inventory.
Shops Launched on Facebook and Instagram
Facebook announced mid-2020 that they would launch shops on both Facebook and Instagram. While this move towards online retail had been in the works for Facebook for years, the Coronavirus pandemic gave the company its final push into the realm of ecommerce. Facebook Shops allows retailers to set up a single store accessed either from their Facebook or Instagram accounts. Retailers who already have a store through an ecommerce site are also welcome to Facebook Shops, they can simply connect their current ecommerce provider with their shop. This allows for easier shop management, as well as ease of access to potential customers. While the announcement of this shift towards ecommerce came during the summer of 2020, there’s no doubt Facebook will be ironing out the details and making improvements to their new shops in the year to come.
Mobile Payments Increase
Online payments have also changed throughout 2020. Digital wallets, or e-wallets, have become increasingly popular, particularly in China where the vast majority of smartphone users report using mobile payments. In fact, it’s expected that the use of mobile wallets will reach over $4 trillion worldwide within the next four years. The use of digital wallets has also taken off in the US, where almost one-third of shoppers utilize e-wallets like PayPal and ApplePay.
Online retailers need to beef up the number of payment methods they accept, to meet the demand of customers. Fortunately, most ecommerce website providers and marketplaces give retailers the option to integrate many different payment systems into their site, allowing customers to use their preferred method.
Desktops May Stick Around for A Little While Longer
While mobile commerce continues to grow, retailers should make sure their desktop sites are up to par in 2021. Although the majority of time spent on retail sites takes place over mobile devices like phones or tablets, customers spend more on average when shopping on their desktop computers. Additionally, online transactions that take place with a desktop typically include more items. This makes it even more vital for ecommerce sellers to keep their sites optimized for both desktop and mobile devices.
Looking Forward to 2021
Now that we’ve gone over some of the most important ecommerce news of 2020, it’s time to look forward to 2021, and how trends this year may affect the next.
New Payment Options
Payment options such as digital wallets, and cryptocurrency have become more popular among online shoppers, and next-in-line may be ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ apps. These apps are similar to credit cards in that they allow customers to complete their purchase and receive their items immediately while paying installments over time. These apps are great for retailers as well; the retail company is paid in full upfront by the payment company, and the payment company handles any money they’re owed by the customer.
Pricing Becomes More Competitive
As buying online continues to grow and consumers learn to manage purchasing during a pandemic, prices are bound to become more competitive. This makes it even more vital to keep track of your competitor’s pricing. Tactics, like dynamic pricing, are becoming more prominent among online brands. Dynamic pricing involves altering your prices suddenly on certain channels to undercut your competition. It’s typically done utilizing online tools that keep track of competitor’s pricing and automatically adjust yours accordingly.
Importance of Inclusivity
Social responsibility has become an important value for many online shoppers. A recent Deloitte study revealed that 42% of millennials have chosen to do business with companies they believe are having a positive impact on society or the environment, 37% said they have stopped shopping with companies they believe are unethical. For retailers, this means paying special attention to your advertisements, blog posts, social media posts, etc., and make sure they’re inclusive. Inclusivity is important in all areas of ecommerce but is seen as particularly important for makeup and fashion retailers.
Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021
While 2020 didn’t turn out the way that anyone was imagining, there’s no doubt that the year has had an enormous effect on ecommerce. It’s more important than ever for retailers to stay mindful of trends and look to the future. If you’re thinking about getting into ecommerce, or expanding your current ecommerce business, now’s the time to do it.
To get you started, here are some product niches expected to do well in the new year. Whatever happens, it looks like 2021 has some great things in store for ecommerce customers and retailers!
Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published February 2018 and was updated in January 2021 to reflect more accurate and relevant information.