Mobile eCommerce Trends: What to Watch for in 2020

Ron Dodby Ron Dod

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Mobile phones have forever altered the way that people interact, communicate, interface with the digital world and shop for products. As a natural result of the permeation of this technology, mobile eCommerce trends are changing in significant ways.

Over the past several years, consumer buying habits have altered drastically. As a result, mobile eCommerce trends indicate that mobile is on track to represent 73 percent of the global eCommerce market by 2021. Compare that to 59 percent in 2017, and the behavioral shift becomes abundantly clear.

Mobile eCommerce percentage fact

As an online store owner, it is vital to understand that not only is mobile optimization critically important in 2020, but also that mobile eCommerce trends show that the realm will push way beyond mere optimization and into groundbreaking new territories.

Therefore, to help merchants understand what is just around the bend, today, we will be covering some of the most prominent mobile eCommerce trends facing the industry in 2020.

If your brand is ready to flex and bend as a new era of mobile commerce is ushered in, then check out these eCommerce trends for 2020.

One-Click Ordering

Placing an order online has historically required consumers to enter quite a bit of information to complete the transaction. For instance, most shoppers will need to type out their:

  • Name
  • Credit card number
  • Credit card expiration date
  • Card verification number
  • Shipping address
  • Billing address
  • Email address

Manually entering this data each time a person wants to purchase something can be extremely annoying and inconvenient, particularly for those on a mobile device.

In fact, as the Baymard Institute reports on cart abandonment rates, “too long/complicated checkout process” is the reason why more than 20 percent of shoppers ditch their cart before completing their order.

When one considers that 97 percent of mobile shopping carts get abandoned as it is, introducing more barriers into the checkout process is just foolish.

However, when we compare the rate of mobile shopping cart abandonment to that of app cart abandonment, there is a stark contrast as mobile apps only have a 20 percent abandonment rate.

This seems rather strange, given that both user interactions take place on the same type of device.

However, part of what drives this divergence is the fact that most mobile website visitors do not want to be forced to create an account (forced account creation is responsible for 28 percent of cart abandonment). At the same time, app users are more invested in a company and have likely already possessed an account before downloading the company’s app.

While there is a greater mobile eCommerce trend that has emerged as a result of the dynamic mentioned above (which we will cover later), those who possess a dedicated application should look to the benefits provided by one-click ordering.

It is critical for retailers to create a checkout flow that increases conversions. Therefore, by implementing one-click ordering, retailers can significantly increase sales as the friction to purchase has virtually been erased.

One click ordering

In 2020, there is likely to be a sizable uptick in retail apps that implement one-click ordering options as this mobile eCommerce trend stands to be a profitable application.

However, not all sellers have the means to create a native application. Fortunately, there is a technology on the horizon that could one day make traditional applications obsolete. Which leads us to our next trend:

Progressive Web Apps Become Mainstream

As it stands, progressive web apps (PWAs) stand to revolutionize the mobile experience and eCommerce industry in one fell swoop.

In short, PWAs are a game-changer for eCommerce brands.

Progressive web apps essentially take the best of mobile websites and native applications and smash them together into a single awesome, adaptable, scalable technology.

PWAs blend the universality and search discoverability of mobile websites with the appearance, impression and functionality of native applications, thereby redefining the mobile experience.

Through the deployment of PWAs, scores of businesses–from Twitter to Alibaba–have achieved enhanced page speeds, increased user engagement and time-on-site, augmented development flexibility and significantly elevated conversion rates.

Alibaba PWA

Because of the incredible impact PWAs have shown to have on a multitude of company’s performance metrics, we genuinely believe that PWAs are the future of eCommerce websites.

This is one of those mobile eCommerce trends that will develop through 2020 and beyond. Therefore, retailers should keep an extremely close eye on this space.

The Emergence of Voice Shopping

Voice search for eCommerce has been around for years as voice-powered assistants like Alexa and Siri have consistently grown in popularity and usage.

However, the way in which these devices are used is currently shifting.

One of the biggest of the mobile eCommerce trends of 2020 will be the true penetration of voice shopping into the online retail marketplace. As it stands, voice shopping is poised to skyrocket to $40 billion by 2022. That figure represents a 1,900 percent increase over the $2 billion generated in 2018.

Naturally, the emergence of this mobile eCommerce trend will have a significant impact on the industry. Current voice search statistics show that 51 percent of consumers utilize voice commands to research products, while 22 percent of folks use voice search to make purchases.

Siri search

While 22 percent of shoppers isn’t exactly a staggering statistic, it isn’t anything to scoff at either. The fact is that while retailers have barely scratched the surface of this technology, in 2020, the depth of this development will begin to be revealed as increasing numbers of consumers engage with voice shopping amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has moved much of people’s former IRL shopping to the digital realm.

This is one of the many instances in which an economic downturn can be a golden opportunity for eCommerce brands.

Advertisers Connect with Gen Z

Social media has become the way to connect with younger generations of consumers. In 2020, as Gen Z (or Zoomers, as they are known) starts coming into their own, this generation will start becoming the target audience with which many advertisers will want to connect.

Those who aim to capture the attention of the Zoomer generation will need to learn to advertise on TikTok as this social media platform has become one of the top destinations for these budding young individuals.

As it stands, retailers such as Guess and Hollister have already begun experimenting with TikTok campaigns. However, the space is still wide open, thereby presenting brands with ample opportunity to capitalize.

The Beginning of the End for Tablets?

When speaking to mobile eCommerce trends, most think that this exclusively applies to smartphones. That shows exactly how dominant this device has become.

In 2020, mobile eCommerce trends indicate that tablets are getting ready to go the way of the Dodo, at least as far as eCommerce shopping is concerned.

When analyzing mobile commerce shopping stats from Business Insider, it becomes quite apparent that smartphones completely dominate tablets in the mobile category.

By the end of 2020, it is anticipated that more than $170 billion in mobile sales will be generated through smartphone devices. Conversely, tablets are expected to pull in just under $35 billion.

Much like the percentage of voice shoppers, this comparatively smaller figure is nothing to turn one’s nose up at, though it does show a clear trend that tablets are on the decline.

This information is vital for retailers given that creating push notifications for tablets about a specific sale is likely to be much less effective than if that same message were sent to smartphones instead. Moreover, while the tablet message won’t be seen for some time, users are likely to receive the one on their phones immediately.

While this isn’t a call to begin ignoring tablets completely, it is clear that mobile eCommerce trends point toward the clear and complete domination of smartphones over the next decade.

Mobile Payment Usage Increases

Over the past several years, the popularity of mobile wallets has increased exponentially. Moreover, this digital payment option is being used for both online transactions and in-store purchases.

Consumers are quickly latching on to wallets like Android and Apple Pay as these are quick, safe, secure and easy alternatives. Moreover, an increasing number of wearables, such as Apple Watch, enable shoppers to utilize mobile wallet payments, thereby making them even more convenient.

While this trend won’t exactly reach critical mass in 2020, mobile eCommerce trends indeed point toward that happening over the next few years. According to Statista data on mobile payment transaction volume:

Mobile eCommerce growth rate

“Mobile payment transaction volume could rise from $25 billion in 2016 to nearly $275 billion by 2021–that’s an average annual growth rate of 62 percent!”

Therefore, retailers must adapt to this eCommerce trend in 2020 as consumers will increasingly demand such options for the stores that they frequent.

However, alongside this mobile eCommerce trend comes the ever-present downside of online payments.

A Spike in Mobile Fraud

Unfortunately, online fraud is a massive concern in today’s digitally dominant world. As a result, many consumers are hesitant to enter their personal information into third-party websites with which they are unfamiliar.

Naturally, this can be a massive problem for smaller eCommerce retailers. Moreover, even if a boutique shop is selling items that are comparable to those of a well-established business, consumers are likely to go with the bigger brand for safety reasons.

Additionally, as the number of mobile payments increases alongside a diversification of payment options, there is likely going to be a spike in mobile fraud claims.

It is for this reason that every eCommerce business must proactively work to prevent fraud through every conceivable channel, including mobile devices.

As of 2018, 65 percent of fraud transactions happened on mobile. Comparatively, only 39 percent were attributable to mobile in 2015. This means that in 2020, it is highly probable that an even more significant percentage of fraud cases will come from small screen devices.

While there is no way to ensure 100 percent immunity from such threats, there are preventative measures that sellers can take to help curtail the number of cases.

For instance, through the development of a progressive web application, retailers can enhance their site security as these apps often tout a headless framework that decouples the front- and back-end systems. Additionally, since PWAs require HTTPS protocols to be implemented, this provides a second layer of security for shoppers.

As mobile eCommerce trends indicate an uptick in mobile fraud cases, consumers will be seeking out more secure ways to conduct their transactions. Therefore, it is incumbent upon merchants to meet these demands.

More Shopping via Mobile Apps

While the behaviors of shoppers are changing in general, the way in which they leverage their mobile devices to purchase products is also evolving.

For example, data from Statista on mobile commerce reveals that, in 2019, “57 percent of consumers in the United States used a mobile retail app to find out more information about a product or service.”

This means that rather than browsing the internet or referencing search engines, over half of the consumers in the United States opted to leverage a mobile application to conduct product research.

While it is vital that merchants possess a mobile-friendly website, the fact of the matter is that mobile optimization is rapidly becoming the bare minimum as shoppers demand faster and more personalized experiences.

Therefore, in 2020, it is likely that an increasingly more significant portion of consumers are going to continue to turn to retail applications to meet their needs.

This assertion is further supported by an eMarketer report which reveals that:

“In 2018, total worldwide app revenues grew 63 percent year over year… Global time spent in shopping apps on Android devices grew to 18 billion hours in 2018, up 45 percent from two years prior… And sessions—comparable to brick-and-mortar foot traffic—grew 65 percent worldwide from 2016 on Android devices.”

While this trend is obviously beneficial for merchants to follow, there are also notorious challenges with native applications.

Firstly, the cost involved in developing an app can be rather substantial. Moreover, apps are platform-specific, meaning that retailers would need to develop one for iOS and one for Android if they were to reap the full benefits. However, doing so increases the price significantly.

In addition to the price-related barrier to entry, sellers can have a notoriously difficult time earning visibility in app stores and getting consumers to download their dedicated store.

These are both massive hurdles. Particularly when one considers a 2018 Google study on app shopping behaviors which revealed that:

Brand apps not installed

“53 percent of smartphone users say they do not have their favorite brand’s app installed on their phone… 42 percent of those who haven’t downloaded their favorite brand’s app have never considered downloading it… 63 percent of people say that when a brand forces them to download an app to access a deal, they will typically delete it shortly thereafter.”

However, as has been a recurring theme for mobile eCommerce trends for 2020, progressive web apps provide the solution that retailers seek.

Not only are PWAs significantly less expensive for retailers to develop than applications, but they can also be found through traditional means of online search. Moreover, if users wish, they can add a store’s icon to their device’s home screen, thereby giving the user an app-like experience with no download required.

In effect, progressive web apps solve most–if not all–of the current problems posed by both mobile websites and native app development and promotion.

These mobile eCommerce trends are likely to play a significant role in shaping the online retail industry over the next decade. While many of these developments will find their foothold in 2020, they will surely transcend the year and become eCommerce staples.

It is critical for sellers to pay particular attention to the mobile space as it develops over the next several years as small screen devices are the future of the eCommerce industry.

However, no matter if a brand is cultivating its presence on mobile or desktop devices, awareness is key to generating sales. If your business wants to make sure that it reaches the right mobile users and has a sound strategy in 2020, employing Visiture’s eCommerce services can ensure that your brand is on the cutting edge of eCommerce marketing and development trends.

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