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BizReport : Ecommerce : December 18, 2020

5 ways 2020 has changed ecommerce

2020 will go down in history as a year of upheaval, but there may be some silver linings in the lessons many learned during the year. We asked one expert how 2020 will change digital as we begin moving toward a new normal.

by Kristina Knight

The race for retail e-commerce domination isn't going to stop

"Retailers must continue iterating and improving upon services like online grocery pickup, grocery delivery and buy online, pick-up in-store to keep customer loyalty as more and more retailers get into the e-commerce game. Consumers will continue to demand more personalized shopping experiences from product recommendations to exclusive offers as they seek out simpler digital experiences," said Sarah Hughes, Product Marketing Manager, Inmar Intelligence.

Consumers are looking for more authentic, less aesthetic content

"Going into 2020, we expected to see influencers create more authentic content and show more of their day-to-day lives. However, the reality of living during a pandemic solidified consumers' desire for realness and accountability not just from the influencers they follow, but the brands and retailers at which they shop. Outside of more relatable content, consumers are also demanding that the brands and influencers they support use their platforms to support political and social justice issues and unfollowing those who avoid having these important conversations," said Hughes. "With the continued adoption of TikTok (with no ban in sight), and increased accountability on influencers and brands to use their platforms for good expect to see less photoshopped, posed and over-edited content and more helpful, real-life content."

Influencer Marketing will be an integral part of retail media networks

"Current media networks in grocery, e.g. Walmart, Target, Kroger, etc., have seen substantial revenue increases year over year. As these networks continue to grow in prevalence and importance, it's high time that brand and retail marketers alike begin to include influencer marketing in their retail media mix," said Hughes. "Incorporating influencer marketing into retail media networks means that the valuable data, traditionally used for targeting on and off-site media can also be used to promote influencer content, select the right influencer and create the right content to resonate with consumers. Influencer content not only serves as another media channel, but it also provides relevancy and context for other retailer and brand initiatives like promotions, in-store services and events."

Social Commerce will continue to grow and influencers will lead the charge

"U.S. social commerce is projected to reach 84.2 billion USD in 2024 and accounting for 7.8 percent of U.S. retail e-commerce sales (Statista). Platforms like Instagram and TikTok are continually developing new features that make social shopping easier for consumers," said Hughes. "Consumers follow influencers to read their reviews of products, see new usage occasions, and learn about exclusive offers. Consumers trust the product recommendations of influencers, making them a valuable channel for distributing shoppable content. Also, as more brands cite ROI as their key KPI for influencer marketing, this will open up additional opportunities for influencers to show their value by removing steps in the purchase path."

Tech for Virtual Shopping will see investments

"During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers spent $200.72 billion online with U.S. retailers, up 44.4 percent from $138.96 billion for the same quarter the prior year. With more consumers shopping online than ever before, we will see more brands and retailers invest in technology to accommodate the needs of the new connected shopper," said Hughes. "This holiday season alone, we have already seen how retailers are taking the shopping experience virtual. Walmart developed an online tool that lets kids virtually unbox, test and play with toys they might want to add to their Christmas lists, and Nordstrom is offering virtual styling sessions to help shoppers find the right outfit for their holiday Zoom parties. In 2021, retailers and brands will continue to invest in ways to recreate the in-store experience for their shoppers who have migrated to digital channels. Expect to see more marketers using tools like SMS or social messaging to chat with shoppers, integrated shopping links, and VR."

Tags: ecommerce, ecommerce trends, Inmar Intelligence, m:commerce, mobile commerce, mobile marketing, shoppable content

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