Mobile eCommerce: 13 Trends that Will Dominate 2020

Ron Dodby Ron Dod

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The way in which most retailers have succeeded throughout history is by meeting people where they already were. In the middle of the last century, that meant opening up a shop on Main Street. At the beginning of the 2000s, that might have meant having a presence in a local mall.

Today that means having a robust online presence. Moreover, given that mobile devices have come to dominate the digital landscape, mobile optimization is highly important in 2020.

spanx mobile website product page

While eCommerce customers were initially a bit slow on the uptake with mobile, with many opting to complete purchases via desktop, that has changed in recent years, with mobile eCommerce trends showing that, by 2021, mobile retail sales will account for roughly 53 percent of all eCommerce transactions.

Therefore, in the next several years, mobile eCommerce will go from a growing trend to becoming the dominant force in online retail.

The reason behind this transformation is that mobile eCommerce benefits both buyers and brands. On the shopper side of things, mobile retail allows for greater levels of convenience as products can be purchased just about anywhere and at any time. For merchants, mobile devices often facilitate faster conversions.

The bottom line to all of this is that not only is mobile eCommerce here to stay, but is it poised to drive the industry moving forward. Therefore, it is vital to understand the eCommerce trends for 2020, as well as the mobile eCommerce trends for the year.

With that said, let’s go ahead and explore 13 trends that mobile retailers can expect to see in 2020.

1. Augmented Reality Rises

One of the most significant advantages of brick-and-mortar shopping is that consumers can view products up close, feel them and just generally check things out without having to spend a nickel.

However, as consumers across the world continue to face stay-at-home mandates and business closures, this simply isn’t a possibility in most cases. As a result of this, in addition to the already growing mobile eCommerce trend of augmented reality (AR) usage, 2020 is likely to see a surge in brands adopting AR technology.

2020 ecommerce ar technology graphic

Given that AR has been transforming the user experience for years, albeit slower than most imagined, today’s circumstances provide a prime opportunity for retailers to enhance their online shopping experience.

The fact is that smartphones and tablets are the ideal tools for delivering an augmented experience as they are portable, feature high-definition cameras, epically powerful processors (given their size) and just about everyone has one constantly within reach.

Moreover, there are plenty of examples of how retailers from across various industries can apply this technology to their overall offerings. For instance, when exploring augmented reality in retail, Nike Fit allows consumers not just to see what shoes look like on their feet, but it also measures them to ensure the perfect fit.

Similarly, Warby Parker’s app uses AR and face mapping to enable customers to see how they would look in a new pair of glasses. Additionally, Sephora’s Visual Artist apps serve a similar purpose, letting customers digitally try out different makeup products.

However, it isn’t just small products that AR enables customers to get a better feel for through their phones.

Ikea’s AR furniture app has been around since 2017, allowing customers to view products in their homes to see if it fits the flow of the room. Meanwhile, in 2019, Toyota’s augmented reality app launched, aiming to alter the car buying experience completely.

The bottom line here is that AR can be applied to a wide array of retail experiences, and with people stuck at home, augmented reality is likely to prove to be a powerful mobile eCommerce trend in 2020.

2. A Surge in Visual Search

The way consumers search is changing. This is evident in the explosion of voice searches that take place every day. Alongside the rise of this novel search method, retailers have been busy optimizing images for visual search as this technique begins to come into its own.

For those who are unfamiliar, visual search is an artificial intelligence technology that enables consumers to conduct a search using a picture they snap, as opposed to words.

search with photo option mobile

It is important to note that this form of search is rapidly gaining popularity. As was reported by Business Wire in 2018:

“ViSenze, the artificial intelligence company powering visual commerce, today announced the findings of its recent study analyzing Gen Z and Millennial consumers’ attitudes towards emerging technologies… Due to this dominance of the mobile device in the shopping journey, it’s natural that the study further found that 62 percent of respondents want visual search capabilities enabling them to quickly discover and identify the products on their mobile devices that they’re inspired by and seek to purchase.”

While this may seem like old data, ViSenze research published by eMarketer in January 2020 reflects similar results, showing that visual search still sparks excitement among consumers. Of the five technologies that consumers are most excited about integrating into the shopping experience, visual search topped the list, showing that the text is poised for mainstream adoption.

Given the growing anticipation for visual shopping, mobile eCommerce trends indicate that 2020 is on track to see this technology begin to flourish and become more widespread across the industry.

3. PWAs Drive Speedier On-Site Experiences

A robust customer experience is crucial to online success. One of the most vital elements to an excellent user experience is fast load times. Supporting this notion, research from Google has 53 percent of mobile users will abandon a site that takes over three seconds to load.

This is highly problematic for eCommerce retailers who often tout sizable product catalogs and tons of images on their site. However, there is a solution that is currently breaking into the mainstream that could resolve this and many other problems with the mobile experience.

Progressive web apps, or PWAs, are a game-changer for eCommerce brands as this technology blends the best aspects of mobile websites and native applications to create a faster, more engaging, more flexible mobile experience.

alibabacom product search mobile device

While there are tons of reasons why progressive web apps are the future of eCommerce, as it pertains to speed, PWAs have shown to provide substantial benefits to load times.

As one example, a case study of Turkish site Mynet shows that the company achieved four times faster average load times after implementing its PWA.

As far as mobile eCommerce trends go, PWA usage is poised to skyrocket in 2020 due to the various benefits the tech provides to retailers.

4. Mobile Payment Apps Proliferate

While consumers have long paid for mobile purchases using their credit card info, mobile eCommerce trends indicate that those days could soon be over.

Recent data shows that payment apps are becoming increasingly popular. As Consumer Affairs reports:

“Innovation Now, a public policy coalition made up of Amazon, Apple, Google, Intuit, PayPal, Square, and Stripe, has published a survey showing that 66 percent of consumers use — or have used — one of these apps.”

order summary checkout page on phone

According to Statista forecasts on digital wallets, in 2020:

  • Apple Pay has 227 million users
  • Google Pay touts 100 million users
  • Samsung Pay serves 100 million users

The mainstream acceptance of these technologies provides sellers with a tremendous opportunity to reduce friction in the mobile checkout process by allowing them to use a variety of popular payment apps.

By integrating these services into a store’s payment options, retailers are likely to increase conversions through an enhanced checkout flow.

5. Mobile Fraud Intensifies

Unfortunately, as consumers continue to utilize their mobile devices to complete online transactions, the number of mobile fraud cases is set to skyrocket. That is saying something since, in 2019, 93 percent of attempted mobile transactions were blocked as fraudulent.

The fact of the matter is that mobile apps have massive security concerns. Moreover, no matter where money flows, criminals are bound to surface. Therefore, as increasing numbers of consumers opt to utilize mobile payment services and conduct transactions online, fraud is bound to happen.

Proving this point, way back in 2015, cybercriminals hacked the Starbucks app and began draining the bank accounts of users.

However, given that the success of online retailers is, in many ways, largely dependent on the brand’s ability to keep its users safe, the rising threat of fraud cases will result in businesses beefing up security.

6. Enhanced Mobile Security

Bringing the mobile payment saga full circle, in 2020, many brands will recognize the necessity in keeping their customers safe and move to enhance their mobile security efforts.

mobile payment apps security graphic

The fact is that 56 percent of U.S. consumers feel that utilizing mobile payment apps puts them at increased risk for fraud and theft. Therefore, it is incumbent upon sellers to quell those concerns and improve their mobile security efforts.

There are a variety of ways that sellers can achieve this aim, including:

  • Employing HTTPS
  • Using a secure host
  • Hiring a security team
  • Utilizing powerful encryption tools
  • Regularly running simulated attacks to find system vulnerabilities

7. An Increase in Social Sales

eCommerce businesses utilizing social media to boost brand awareness is not a new trend. At this point, even generating sales isn’t a revelatory thing as merchants have been doing this for years.

That said, 2020 is shaping up to see a substantial increase in sales driven through social media. With an ever-increasing number of eCommerce-focused features such as shoppable Facebook pages and Instagram Shoppable posts, social media has evolved into a prime destination for converting consumers into customers.

sculpthouse social media view on website option

Through the many eCommerce features provided through social media websites, consumers have a more direct way to purchase products, thereby greatly reducing the friction in the process.

Moreover, since many shoppers are already using social media on a daily basis and have the apps installed on their smartphones, it is immensely easy for retailers to reach folks through these portals, as opposed to getting them to visit a dedicated online store.

Additionally, shoppable posts like those featured on Instagram have proven remarkably effective. According to a report from BigCommerce, businesses that leveraged this Instagram feature saw a 1,416 percent rise in traffic and a 20 percent hike in revenue.

As Forbes reports on why the rise of social commerce is inevitable:

“Generation Z spends 2-3 times more shopping on social channels than the average consumer, with Instagram and Snapchat taking the lead, while Generation X prefers shopping on Facebook…. The combination of Generation Z and Millennials, who have very similar social and political tastes – not just commercial – represent a paradigm shift in digital commerce.”

Plainly put, as the Zoomer generation continues to come into its own, social commerce will become an increasingly important mobile eCommerce trend in 2020 and beyond.

8. Chatbots Drive Conversions

In many ways, chatbots are still in their infancy.

This technology has been applied to the eCommerce space in a variety of ways, including aid with customer service, sales support and other simple tasks.

However, when it comes to driving conversions, chatbots are poised to see a serious breakthrough in 2020. As Forbes reports on chatbots’ ability to increase sales:

“Business leaders saved an average of $300,000 in 2019 from their chatbots, with the greatest impact occurring across support and sales teams; the sales function is the most common use case for chatbots (41 percent), followed closely by support (37 percent) and marketing (17 percent); chatbots increased sales by an average of 67 percent, with 26 percent of all sales starting through a chatbot interaction; 35 percent of business leaders said chatbots helped them close sales deals.”

As chatbots continue to become increasingly sophisticated in 2020 and beyond, retailers are more likely to adopt this technology and allow the tech to drive sales at all hours of the day and night.

better customer experiences conversions graphic

9. Smart Site Search

The easier it is for customers to find a product, the more likely they are to convert.

In 2020, mobile eCommerce trends indicate that retailers will continue to invest in producing better customer experiences, meaning that navigation will become simplified, more dynamic product pages will be produced and autocomplete search functionality will become more commonplace.

Through enhancing the mobile experience, retailers can increase loyalty and sales simultaneously.

10. Voice Search Snowballs into Voice Shopping

Thanks to voice assistants like Alexa and Siri, voice search is poised to have a substantial impact on the mobile eCommerce industry.

iphone siri search results

As voice search has become a popular way to obtain results from popular engines like Google, retailers are presented with a powerful avenue for increasing sales.

In fact, as PR Newswire reports, voice shopping is likely to reach $40 billion by 2022. That is a 1,900 percent increase over the $2 billion generated in 2018.

The gap between voice search to voice shopping isn’t a massive leap for consumers to make. In 2020, this mobile eCommerce trend is likely to pick up significant steam, driving the industry toward that $40 billion milestone.

11. Mobile Apps Continue Convert

Mobile apps have proven to be highly profitable in the eCommerce space. In fact, according to Statista’s worldwide mobile app revenue forecast, in 2018, apps generated over $365 billion.

In 2020, this trend doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. As is projected revenue from mobile apps is expected to reach upwards of $580 billion, with that number nearly doubling by 2023, topping out at an absurd $935 billion.

While mobile eCommerce trends are certainly transforming much of the mobile experience, what won’t change is the profitability of apps.

12. Small Businesses Get in on the App Action

Because of how effective apps can be at driving sales, even small businesses are getting in on the action. While apps used to be just for the big players within a niche, PWAs have changed things substantially as they are far more affordable to produce.

Since developing an app – be it a native app or a progressive web app – can help retailers to increase sales and enhance the user experience, this investment is a wise one for sellers to make in 2020.

13. A Faster Checkout Experience

Bringing together a couple of the previous trends – faster on-site experience driven by PWAs and mobile payment options – 2020 will see a significant smoothing out of the checkout process.

Driven by the aforementioned factors, optimized checkout processes will begin to become increasingly prevalent across mobile devices as lightning-fast load times, single-click checkout and digital wallet payment options come together to significantly enhance the shopper’s buying experience.

Technology is constantly evolving and demanding that retailers remain flexible.

In 2020, some of the mobile eCommerce trends outlined above will have a significant impact on the industry as a whole, while others will ramp up and profoundly influence the direction of the decade.

Start integrating these tactics and technologies into your brand’s offerings now to remain at the forefront of eCommerce innovation and success.

However, if your business needs help evolving its mobile experience, Visiture’s eCommerce services can aid your business in pushing into the next iteration of mobile retail.

Join 150+ Leading eCommerce Brands

And see how Visiture can grow your revenue online through award-winning transactional focused marketing services.

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