2020: A Year of E-commerce

There is no doubt that 2020 has been a year of e-commerce. See these four key insights for the future.

Online shopping gained a sustainable increase

As the pandemic spread we saw a natural shift from brick and mortar to online shopping. The question on many minds is “will it last?” If you are planning to just sit it out and are planning to return on normal in a few months, we have some bad news for you. Online shopping gained a sustainable surge.

In the UK it looks like non-grocery e-commerce might be settling at 40% of total retail value, and that online grocery sales doubled .  In the US, the e-commerce penetration grew more in Q1/2020 than in the last 10 years. What’s more, 73 percent of Finnish consumers shopping online due the coronavirus stated they’ll continue to do so. Many people purchased products and services online they haven’t ever done before and for some, that is a permanent change in behaviour

In all regards, the year 2020 accelerated the long predicted e-commerce revolution and there is no turning back. Indeed, Nasdaq has predicted that by year 2040 95 percent of purchases involve e-commerce . We are not the only ones noticing this, as there are more and more new online shops popping up all the time. Which brings us to the next insight:

Competition is tougher than ever with cross-border sales making a significant impact

New e-commerces have been popping up literally everywhere, which naturally means increased competition. In normal times, the focus should be on domestic competition with local competitors. Instead, we are seeing a rise in cross-border purchases from customers and aggressive competition from all-over the world. From January to June 2020 year over year cross-border online sales grew 9.5 percent in Western Europe and 21 percent worldwide.

Being able to serve customers internationally is more important than ever, and offering right language choices is a critical factor. After all, 75 percent of customers will more likely buy from a website written in their native language. This has been noticed on many fronts, with f.e. Shopify reporting that translation apps spiked 3,309% worldwide.

While e-commerce is a truly global phenomenon, it might not be wise to translate to all 6 000+ languages there are. Determining your target group and optimal strategy for getting conversions is a critical step in world domination. After all, to get customers you need to spend money on advertisement and marketing, and those costs spiked as well during 2020.

To get most out of your money, agile testing is a must. Read about our take on here: www.transfluent.com/gtm

Customer experience will be the key competitive edge to lessen retention

As advertising costs rise due to more competition, the focus will be moving lessening retention. Focus on customer retention is not a new thing, after all, it has long been known that 5% increase in the customer retention can increase profits as much as 95%. In the post-pandemic world of highly competitive e-commerce, the focus on customer experience is more important than ever. A key customer experience is customer service. After one negative experience, 51% of customers say they will never do business with that company again.

When selling cross-border you must think the whole customer journey all the way to the end. One of the most often forgotten aspects of selling across borders is that when you sell in a new language, customers tend to use the language they were offered the service. In other words, it is not only enough to think about the first steps in the customer journey, the after purchase care is arguably even more critical to get right.

Providing multi-lingual customer support doesn’t need to be complicated. With proper tools, it’s not more complicated than your current support operations. Check out here how it’s done: www.transfluent.com/zendesk. This shows the way for the last insight, which is:

E-commerce will become API-driven

To provide more functionalities and better customer experience often means adopting more tools and systems as well as providing more services for your customers. If not done properly, it will mean more work and technical difficulties down the road. Driving the whole system from the get-go to an API-driven version where adding new services and functionalities are easier.

Headless e-commerce is perhaps the most well-known of API-driven approaches, but using the best-of-breed solutions with API’s is easier than going fully headless. With API-driven approach, an e-commerce site can use the best shopping cart, most suitable search engine, and you guessed it, the best translation service. Indeed, one of the insights from 2020 is that newcomers are in a better position than long-established enterprises precisely because newcomers have more modern technology architecture. According to Adobe’s research, only 38 % of enterprises have the needed infrastructure to compete with customer experience leaders.

API-driven e-commerce will enable any e-commerce to meet the key insights discussed earlier. Integrating relevant services and products as part of your offering will enable meeting the customer demands, face of competition, answer rising customer acquisition costs and reduce churn. With smart services, such as these we have to offer www.transfluent.com/zeroclick, will meet the demands your customers and competition will come up.



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Anssi Ruokonen

Anssi Ruokonen