2020 has been unprecedented in countless ways. Finding ways to make your business stand out in the digital marketplace has become more and more challenging, especially in a year as turbulent and out-of-the-ordinary as this one.
Since the beginning of the year we’ve seen a pandemic that has increased online traffic by leaps and bounds, there have been protests in the U.S. surrounding racial justice, and the global marketplace has fluctuated wildly.
While all of the changes of this year have personally impacted almost all of us, taking stock of the changing online landscape is more important than ever for people involved in online business of any kind.
In this post, we’ll take a look at five of the major trends in e-commerce that every online business owner should be aware of in 2020.
1. Customers Are Learning New Kinds of Normal
The coronavirus pandemic has certainly been the definitive framing issue of 2020. Public health shutdowns of brick-and-mortar businesses and a subsequent boom in e-commerce have all caused customers to acclimate to new kinds of normal with regard to how they get the things they want and need.
Enormous online retailers (who shall remain unnamed) have shifted customer expectations with features like free shipping, easy returns, and two-day guarantees. Features that make purchasing easy and that customers now see as normal is one of the running trends of the year in e-commerce.
2. Importance of Broad Paid Advertising
The spikes in online buying have made paid advertising for businesses more important than ever. People are shopping online for items that they previously tended to buy in physical stores, including basic home resources. This shift has made more “traditional” types of advertising less relevant in the current marketplace.
Paid advertising that is meant to appear before a potentially broad customer base – through venues like Google Shopping – can result in increased traffic in a way that more narrow online advertisements might not.
3. Funnel-Focused Paid Advertising
Just because broad online advertising is useful doesn’t mean that businesses should neglect advertising that is more targeted. Knowing who your customer base is and what will appeal to them, specifically, is key.
Because of the growth of e-commerce in 2020, businesses are targeting specific niches of consumers like never before. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are important tools for businesses who want to find customers with a particular interest in what they have to offer.
4. Increased Importance of Brand-Building
With more companies offering online options in the wake of the pandemic, maintaining excited and loyal customers is an important part of remaining competitive in a crowded online market. Online business in 2020 is not only about expanding your customer base.
Focusing exclusively on advertising to new customers can result in businesses forgetting to sustain and secure existing customers. Getting to know what your customers want and how they want it is a long-term strategy that will be a necessary investment, regardless of the volatile nature of the market in 2020.
5. Preparing for a Post-Covid World
E-commerce businesses are rushing to keep up with the realities and requirements of doing business during the current pandemic. But the most successful businesses will be those that also effectively prepare for what the consumer landscape is expected to look like after the public health crisis has passed.
Thinking through the ways in which increasingly digitally literate consumers will engage with e-commerce in a post-pandemic marketplace will be of great benefit to businesses who play their cards right. These five trends in e-commerce are likely to continue and they have made 2020 a volatile and unique year in online business.