Evolving Ecommerce: 14 Trends Driving Online Retail In 2020

It’s a new year. A new decade. And from the way people shop to the way online business tech is managed — ecommerce is gearing up for some major changes.

We could rhapsodize about how far ecommerce has come in the last decade or two, but at the end of the day, what you care about is where ecommerce is now and where we’re going.

So where is ecommerce now? Well, by the end of 2019 (according to data from Statista) the global ecommerce market had sales reaching $3.5 trillion and represented 14% of the total share of global retail sales.

And what’s coming in 2020?

This data predicts that by the end of 2020, global ecommerce sales will reach $4.2 trillion and make up 16% of total retail sales. And these numbers are only predicted to go up as we continue into the ‘20s.

But for store owners, it isn’t as simple as sitting back and watching the cash flow in. Competition online is steeper. Advertising rates are higher. The digital noise is louder. And the way people are shopping is changing.

Keeping up with the latest trends in ecommerce, including both backend efficiencies and frontend conversion-optimizing experiences, is paramount to growing in the retail landscape of 2020.

14 Ecommerce Trends Leading the Way

We talked to industry experts and thought leaders to gather consensus on the big things they see buzzing in ecommerce and retail this year.

Without further ado, here are our best bets for the ecommerce trends we see cropping up (or continuing to be major players) in 2020.

1. Augmented reality enhances the reality of online shopping.

Augmented Reality (AR) has become a major game changer when it comes to online shopping, significantly closing the gap of ambiguity. It helps online shoppers visualize the products that they’re interested in, whether it’s a clothing item or furniture. Shoppers can now see how they would look while wearing a certain item or how nice their home would look with a certain paint color, all before hitting the “Buy Now” button. This helps online shoppers overcome the hurdle of not being able to see the product firsthand, bringing comparison shopping to a whole new level.

While fast shipping options have been able to lend online shopping almost the same instant gratification of retail shopping, there has historically been one downside: you can’t feel the product or see it on your body or in your home. AR makes visualizing the product in your life possible.

Burrow, a DTC furniture brand, uses AR to help customers visualize how their couches will fit in their living rooms. Their Burrow at Home app uses ARKit to place true-to-scale 3D models of Burrow’s couches in photos taken on customers’ iPhones and iPads.

In 2019, Gartner predicted that 100 million consumers will shop using AR by 2020, so it will be interesting to see how that shakes out in the coming year.

Michael Prusich, Director of Business Development at 1Digital Agency, agrees with this prediction:

“Polls have shown some really powerful numbers in regards to AR too: 35% of people say that they would be shopping online more if they could virtually try on a product before buying it, and 22% would be less likely to visit a brick-and-mortar store if AR was available via their favorite ecommerce store. AR grants a person with the ability to not just see a 3D model of a product but lets a user see how it looks if they were actually wearing it. Some products and industries lend themself better to traditional shopping methods, but AR is going to shake things up sooner than later.”

Tessa Wuertz, Director of Marketing & Partnerships, efelle.com, also sees the potential for even smaller to midmarket businesses joining the trend:

“We are expecting a lot more businesses utilizing AR for their products and businesses — so much so that it will become more standard in ecommerce and social media platforms. We’re seeing it put to use with larger companies, but I think we’re soon going to start seeing it become mainstream for businesses of all sizes.”

2. There will be a growing volume of voice search.

Loop Ventures forecasts that 75% of U.S. households will own a smart speaker by 2025. People are increasingly relying on voice assistants like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa to do everything from check the weather to buy products online.