E-Commerce Trends for Digital Transformation in 2020

by Megan Fitzpatrick

With your holiday ecommerce strategy in full swing, it's time to look ahead to 2020 trends. Ecommerce in 2020 is unfolding with a few common themes, centered around the customer's experience of your brand. Find top ways to get customers talking about you this year by providing what they expect - and offering the unexpected.

1. A connected community

The best retail experiences begin with a brand that means something and a customer that matters. Make sure your unique brand story syncs up with your current customers' needs. This may include research methods like user testing to create a real relationship with your customers that will last.

What to do

  • Update your SEO. Right now, Google reports that 20% of all online searches are voice. In 2020, that stat will rise to 50%, with many of those voice search queries locking in at 25 keywords or less. When planning your SEO strategy for 2020, think about using a Keyword Manager to explore what your competitors are doing and stay ahead of the game.
  • Make your business more sustainable. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming the new norm. More and more companies are putting sustainability first and adjusting prices to match their new bottom line. For consumers, this is a tradeoff they can live with - not only that, it's one they're calling for.
  • Plan events. Many brick-and-mortar stores are livening up their in-person shopping experiences to entice people away from the easy click-and-ship method of online purchasing. Other retail chains are planning events for their customers to come together over a cause they care about, a hobby they're into, or simply products they want to buy.

2. An omnichannel experience

From social shopping on Facebook and Instagram to a variety of convenient ways to pay like Apple Pay and PayPal, retailers are aligning all their channels to speak with a single voice. Omnichannel marketing means integrating the shopping experience for your customers, so whether they're on your site, your social channels, your blog or in your store they recognize where they are - with you.

What to do

  • BOPIS. If you have both a digital store and a brick and mortar location, you can let your customers Buy Online, Pick Up In Store. This gives the customer confidence that they won't have to search for the item they want, and ensures your sale.
  • Now do the same thing for returns. Not all shoppers want to deal with shipping items back. They want to continue their experience with you - in store. So, make it an option for online shoppers to return their goods at your locations. Bonus: this is a great opportunity for them to see what other products you have available.
  • Of course, in order to keep shoppers and sales channels happy, you'll need to properly manage your inventory. Tracking what's in stock and ensuring that your online stores are up to date are key steps to cutting losses and skyrocketing sales.
  • Up your site navigability. Whether you're migrating your CMS from a legacy platform to headless commerce or your customers are struggling to find what they need on your site and you need a new strategy, a great taxonomy will be one of the most important website qualities in the year ahead. Hiring a taxonomy consultant can fast-track the organization process, especially if they have SaaS tools to help you succeed.
  • Consider a progressive web app (PWA). Consumers are expecting an omnichannel experience from their favorite brands, and a PWA is one way to keep your message consistent wherever it goes. Plus, it can help you hit a few other 2020 trends for success, like site speed and improved functionality.
  • Video marketing. In 2019, a staggering 81% of businesses used video marketing to reach their audiences. Videos are now an essential complement to written content like blogs, infographics and your website.
  • There are plenty more ways to make your eCommerce business more omnichannel so, take the time to choose the right strategy for your business.

3. Retail tech for product content and more

Customer-facing technology, like virtual reality, is the fun stuff - it's what people want to talk about now, and it has its place. But prioritizing your backend tools will deliver the best results in 2020. Even the prettiest bells and whistles will never replace the consistency of a retailer having the right product the moment the customer wants it.

Inventory and supply chain management, customer data management and product content management are integral pieces of any 2020 ecommerce strategy to:

  • Help consumers complete transactions faster
  • Control stock management
  • Access, download and share data and reports with ease
  • Process purchases and returns more quickly

What to do

Each of your products has a life of its own. Product content is complex and can include dozens of pieces like metadata, title, description, specifications, category assignments, images, features and much more. Product content and inventory management can go hand in hand if you have the right tools.

A product content management system collects, manipulates, stores, publishes and helps you repurpose your product content so you can use it as effectively as possible. Your Product Information Management (PIM) strategy for 2020 should be comprehensive, but scalable, to cover all your current needs and help you look to the future.

4. Form a meaningful partnership

Reach new audiences or break into a new niche of your industry by expanding your message with a partnership or collaboration. It takes partnerships, both internal and external, to be truly successful. Think about a segment of your industry where you've wanted to expand your business. Would it make more sense to partner with a customer-centric vendor that already excels in that area? Marketers, merchandisers, eCommerce managers, customer services, and account management personnel work together to improve the shopping and overall customer experience of any business. And data management companies can be the conduit that helps these team members and vendors organize and distribute product data effectively, and improve SEO so shopper can easily find what they're looking for.

Make 2020 your best year yet

Unless you have unlimited resources, you won't be able to hit every trend, so form a digital transformation strategy for 2020 that makes the most sense for your business. Prioritize SEO, customer experience, navigability with the right taxonomy, and backend product content management for success that you can see.


At Sitation, we're more than just a software provider - we offer a wide variety of digital merchandising services including digital transformation strategies for taxonomy, product content, site search, SEO and roadmap development. Email us today, schedule a demo, or visit our website to learn more.

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