What 2020 retail trends to expect in the eCommerce landscape

It’s a new year, and a new opportunity to grow your eCommerce business. Time to stay ahead of the curve by adapting 2020 retail trends into your strategy.

With the constantly changing world of online shopping, you can’t rely on last year’s strategies to drive more sales.

These are some of the most important retail trends for brands of any industry to focus on for increased customer engagement, conversions and revenue in 2020.

Top 5 Retail Trends for 2020

1. Omni-channel

This year will erase the final dividing line between online and offline retail. 

Formerly online-only merchants will continue to set up physical stores with highly localized inventory selections. 

Meanwhile, formerly offline-only retailers will continue to embrace eCommerce and BOPIS (buy online, pickup in store) to bring together the personal in-store experience but with added online convenience.

As companies develop new business avenues, maintaining clear and consistent communication across all channels will be key.

But even that won’t be enough anymore.

51% of consumers feel it is important to get a personalized experience across all digital channels within a brand.

That means no matter who your customer is or where they are located, your messaging needs to speak directly to them. 

Understanding your shoppers and their buyer journey inside and out will be vital to giving customers the right information, precisely when they want it. 

Which is where AI, one of our next 2020 retail trends, will seriously come into play.

2. All the acronyms 

It’s easy to blow off terms like VR and AI as buzzwords. But I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss them.

70% of consumers claim their loyalty is heavily influenced on whether a company actually understands their needs. 

AI is going to play a crucial role in making this happen in the retail world.

We expect to see increased AI influences across all areas of operations and customer engagement, including inventory management, guided search, interactive chat bots and more.

Keep your eye on AR / VR as well

As of right now we mostly see some of the big players testing out these technologies. 

However, 2020 is going to bring major improvements in usability, and we’ll see augmented reality and virtual reality start to become more mainstream.

Retailers can use AR and VR to engage customers in a brand new way, while also helping to unify the online and in-store experiences.

Another buzzy acronym you need to know is PWA.

Progressive Web Apps are websites designed with the seamless user experience of an app, without having to actually develop it yourself.

PWAs gives buyers increased reliability, speed and convenience, plus a better purchasing flow while shopping online. Merchants also benefit from improved security and search rankings, in addition to reduced development time and support costs.

All of these technologies are probably not the right for your business this second. However, it’s still important to keep an eye on how they evolve and impact the industry.

3. Alternative delivery options 

From where we sit in the eCommerce space, this is one of our biggest 2020 retail trends.

Shipping and delivery options that have been considered fringe or vertical-specific are going to move into the mainstream this year.

While fast shipping is still important, it’s no longer everything.

Innovative and alternative delivery options are about to shake up eCommerce shipping in a big way. This includes methods like same-day delivery, in-store pickup and alternative pick via participating retailers (think CVS or your local grocery store).

The point is, shipping is no longer “you get what you get.” 

Merchants need to look for new solutions to meet customer expectations, and that means anything that gets products to buyers whenever and wherever they want it. 

4. The shipping experience at checkout

Converting online buyers in 2020 will require retailers to put serious thought into the purchasing and checkout process. 

77% of shoppers have abandoned a purchase due to unsatisfactory shipping options. 

Staying competitive with your shipping will call for new features, like delivery date selection, offering time slots for delivery/pickup, location picker, and more. 

But this doesn’t mean you can throw the kitchen sink at buyers to make them happy. They don’t want every shipping option, they just want the best ones. 

For example, you can use rate shopping to simplify your checkout to show the top three options with the best rates. Or you can limit shipping options to only show those that are relevant for that specific order, like two-day shipping for ice cream.

Whether or not your products compete directly with Amazon, your checkout experience does. The standard has been set, and customers expect a smooth process, desirable delivery options, information on package arrival dates and more.

Retailers who get the customer shipping experience right in 2020 are going to stand out in the best way possible. And if you’re in the B2B space, you will stand out from the crowd even more

5. Transparency

2020 will also bring a focus on transparency.

Large corporations have been receiving flack lately for how they are accessing and applying user data.

While customers want personalized experiences, they don’t want to feel like they are being taken advantage of.

This highlights the extreme importance of open communication with your buyers. 

From promotions, to corporate responsibility, to post-purchase, the more honest you can be, the better.

When it comes to shipping, buyers want to see guaranteed delivery dates at checkout. It also helps to communicate tracking information at every stage of the post-purchase fulfillment and delivery journey.

Transparency around shipping is particularly important for international buyers. They are putting extra trust in your store that their shipment will 1. get to them securely and 2. not cost to pay an arm and a leg in the process. 

One thing you can do to gain that trust is show full DDP pricing at checkout with duties and taxes included. That way your buyer won’t get stuck with surprise extra fees halfway through shipping and end up having a negative experience with your store.

Make changes now to participate in these trends

ShipperHQ is an easy way to start incorporating transparency, alternative delivery options, and a better checkout experience into your store right now. 

Our powerful set of features includes everything you need to build a shipping strategy that delights buyers and drives conversions. 

Add delivery dates, DDP pricing, in-store pickup and more to your checkout. Plus, set certain shipping rules based on product, delivery destination and a number of other conditions.

Get started with a 15 day free trial to see everything that ShipperHQ can do.