The number of customers that prefer a digital buying experience is outpacing the forecasts in an “unrelenting” manner. That’s according to an eCommerce trends eBook released by Adobe, the tech company that operates the leading-class Magento eCommerce platform.
Year over year, online sales continue to increase in double digits. In the past, Statista predicted global eCommerce sales to total $740 billion by the year 2023. However, Digital Commerce 360 reported in November 2019 that the year was on track to close at around $3.46 trillion.
Perhaps that’s why Adobe titled its report, “The future is here. The future is customer-driven. The future is now.”
Adobe’s advice for eCommerce entrepreneurs
For years, eCommerce trends, statistics and forecasts have flooded the Internet. As the new decade dawns, the data is being tested as the eCommerce industry flourishes like never expected.
Adobe’s report analyzes the culmination of what is known about eCommerce up to this point, and it acts as a blueprint for eCommerce success. In particular, sustainability, convenience, trust and efficiency are cited as areas to take to heart. Here are more actionable strategies to keep in mind.
1. Prioritize personalized omnichannel experiences
Personalization is all about following a customer’s journey through every step of their path to purchase. In the past, eCommerce centered around products and prices. Today, eCommerce success is much more about the customer than what is being offered. Customer experience lies at the core of what shoppers want and expect. If they do not feel a sense of personalization with brand interactions, they are much more likely to jump ship.
What does personalization look like? For starters, relevance. Consider the way Netflix provides recommendations to subscribers based on the content they have already consumed.
One way for online retailers to accomplish personalization goals is by focusing on an omnichannel approach. Omnichannel in eCommerce surrounds each customer with tailored communication through email, instant messaging, mobile and social channels.
Adobe says traditional targeting methods simply will not cut it moving forward. While demographics and basic behavioral targeting have been successful for many eCommerce businesses in the past, methods that stem from artificial intelligence will be key moving forward.
Did you know that in addition to making recommendations to customers, Netflix selects different thumbnails for each user? The images are selected based on individual preferences. For example, a person who enjoys action flicks will be presented with the more action-packed scenes from a variety of genres. This is a top-of-class example of how AI is being used for personalization.
2. Take sustainability seriously
According to the eBook, 87% of consumers see companies in a more positive light when they show support for social and environmental issues. As such, “ethical eCommerce” and “corporate social responsibility” are new buzzwords that are seeping into the retail space.
“Recommerce” is another emerging term that is gaining popularity. It refers to “reverse commerce,” which means companies that sell previously owned, new or used products. Subscription-based product rental is becoming more popular as recommerce takes hold.
Canadian company Kanuk is cited as a brand that is doing social accountability right. The company designs winter coats that are made from down (the protective outer covering of ducks). The down is sourced from free-range establishments where the birds are “carefully monitored to ensure their health and wellbeing.” Kanuk also makes it a point to let customers know about its efforts on labels and digital channels.
Salesforce is an environmentally-conscious company that is helping others strive to be the same. In 2019, it unveiled its Sustainability Cloud that gives companies a way to track, analyze and report environmental data. The information can be used to help reduce carbon emissions and promote environmental health.
Here are a few ways Adobe says companies can adapt to an eco-friendly model:
- Reduce and/or reformulate packaging and ingredients.
- Revamp the supply chain and/or suppliers.
- Diversify the product and/ or vendor portfolio.
- Update and/or change existing business models.
- Integrate sustainability into consumer touchpoints and marketing.
- Allow customers to opt into minimizing paper and packaging waste on delivery and returns during checkout.
3. Position yourself at the forefront of digital innovation
Ecommerce brands that want to thrive in the coming decade should be prepared to incorporate visual search and voice technology, according to Adobe.
Target and ASOS are brands that are already leveraging visual search and image recognition. They allow customers to take photos of items and upload them. In response, the stores show them offerings that are similar to what customers are looking for.
Taking omnichannel a step further, Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) are expected to take off in 2020. With PWAs, customers are provided with seamless experiences while shopping in-store, via mobile or online because all communication is being powered through the same app.
Headless eCommerce and lean microserver stacks will also become more of a norm. They allow merchants to develop features and apps (including PWAs) themselves. The technology gives teams the advanced digital architecture they need to improve customer experience without waiting on developers. Thus, they are able to deliver improved agility, flexibility and performance as ideas come to mind. This freedom to implement change translates into faster eCommerce growth.
Additionally, companies can no longer get away with lagging speeds, so Adobe says they should also make “blazing-fast mobile experiences” a priority moving into the future.
More of what’s coming
Adobe’s report is an asset to brands everywhere. It provides a detailed, comprehensive look at eCommerce trends that merchants can use to stay ahead of the curve.
Here are a few more things to expect as innovation in eCommerce continue.
- B2B brands are expected to move to a digital-first model.
- Logistics will likely evolve to a place where driverless cars deliver goods with no human necessary.
- Eye-catching micro animations (think gifs) are expected to become more common in brand communication.
How Magento is staying relevant
Adobe is a tech giant that continues to transform with digital demands. The company is placing a major focus on its Adobe Sensei machine learning and artificial intelligence to stay on the cutting-edge of customer experience.
The Adobe Commerce Cloud is a flexible, scalable eCommerce solution that provides a large toolbox of resources to users. Because Magento is part of the Adobe catalog, it pairs nicely with Adobe’s analytics cloud, marketing cloud and advertising cloud.
Do you want to learn more about how Magento can help you grow your eCommerce business in 2020 and beyond?
Schedule a complimentary consultation today!