Today, we’ll look at 2020 ecommerce: how it’s changed and what it all means. We’ll also cover a handful of ideas and strategies for you to optimize your ecommerce store for today, 2021, and beyond.
In 2020, ecommerce went through a massive transformation—here’s what’s changed.
Ask five people what their 2020 was like and you’ll get five remarkably different answers.
Here’s how the wild ride through 2020 has shaped the ecommerce landscape.
Demand for ecommerce solutions has skyrocketed.
It’s no secret that the more consumers avoid in-person shopping, the more ecommerce demand rises.
At its peak in mid May, ecommerce sales were up 128% from the previous year. They’ve fallen a bit from that point as lockdown measures have eased in some places, but ecommerce still follows a steady trajectory upwards.
Consumers buy everything online now, including:
Books and entertainment
Self-care tools and resources
Home fitness equipment
Décor and home office furniture
2020 ecommerce shifted customer expectations.
2020 ecommerce shows us that customers expect brands to roll with the punches and adapt to their changing expectations.
Social distancing and lockdown measures gave way to new ecommerce opportunities and expectations like:
Updated store hours
Maximum capacity changes
Adapted products or services (Panera, for example, started selling groceries and family meals)
Big Box brands optimized their ecommerce game in 2020.
Consumers are more comfortable using their phones to shop, browse products, and claim discounts while in the store.
Technology became critical for ecommerce in 2020.
We asked over 1,000 ecommerce stores what their biggest priority was this year. In February, 32% said it was their IT. By June, however, that figure jumped to 48%.
More ecommerce stores are also using technology to automated processes like email marketing—something less than half of businesses used earlier this year.
Growing ecommerce companies learned to scale quickly.
COVID-19 lockdowns forced businesses to scale on a massive level. Offices quickly became a thing of the past as ecommerce companies learned to get by with less.
Values were thrown into focus.
Growing economic inequality and systemic racism pushed people into the streets. Brands quickly drafted responses to public demands and evaluated their internal race relations.
What should you learn from the 2020 ecommerce landscape to prepare for the future?
Sure, 2020 ecommerce was a whirlwind, but what does it mean for you?
How can you take what we’ve experienced over the past year and use it to grow?
As usual, your customers hold the answer.
1. Treat your website experience like your virtual storefront.
Eighty-six percent of customers are fine with a product costing more if it comes with an excellent experience. Your website and digital marketing are all you have to create a unique experience for your customers.
Make sure to:
Include high-quality photos of products or 360° photos.
Only 45% of respondents in our survey use automation to personalize their email, so using tools like CM Commerce will put you ahead of competitors.
Send campaigns with curated product recommendations based on browsing behavior.
Set up an onboarding and welcome series (and track what people click).
Remind customers of products they added to their cart.
Optimize your transactional emails with upsells and cross-sells.
Ask for feedback/reviews/photos and build a library.
Notice how World Market sends abandoned cart emails to every customer:
6. Promote your culture and values.
As businesses around the world were still reeling from COVID-19, social unrest swept the globe in response to systemic racism and income inequality.
Brands, many of whom actively avoided mentioning Black Lives Matter, quickly drafted their own responses to the protests. At this point, it’s almost strange for brands NOT to mention something about their social values.
Talk to people on your team and consider causes you donate to.
7. Make sure your website is accessible to everyone.