ShipStation’s Top Ecommerce Predictions for 2020

December 12, 2019

2020 is here and at ShipStation we are looking forward to everything the new decade has to offer. Here are some of our predictions for ecommerce in 2020:

1. Expectations for faster shipping

Amazon’s rapid shipping speeds are changing the status quo and setting new customer expectations. In a study conducted by ShipStation, we found that 88% of consumers reported Amazon’s shipping options have increased their expectations of shipping speeds from other online stores. Quicker shipping will become a more widely available option to merchants and customers. As more businesses adopt quicker shipping methods, delivery time will likely become an even bigger decision factor for customers when deciding where to buy. Free, two-day shipping is a luxury most businesses won’t be able to offer. Instead, consider including an expedited shipping option at extra cost– 89% of consumers consider shipping speed when making a purchase, and many of them are willing to pay for it. 

“Fulfillment and shipping are obviously big drivers in ecommerce right now. Amazon helped set a new standard for shipping speed and consumer expectations, and they are now investing more than ever in the space. One day shipping and same day shipping are replacing the old standard of two day shipping that Prime helped create a few years ago. Brands and retailers will need to do everything they can to meet evolving consumer expectations.” ChannelAdvisor.

“We are expecting the trend to continue and follow the trend line of reducing shipment times on average 12.91% every year. As we get closer to 1 day we expect the rate to slow. Being that this includes B2B, expectations of consumer 1 day shipping is definitely having an effect on the B2B world as well.” Logicbroker

2. Order online, pick up or return in-store

Consumers have increasingly more choices in the way they shop. Offering the option for customers to pick up their online order in-store is a good way to help them get their product sooner and save on any shipping costs. Many customers also want the option to return something they bought online in-store. Online returns can be a hassle, and making this option available for those close to a brick and mortar may improve their perception of your brand. Customers want to buy from brands who make the buying and returns process easy for them. Offering more options like these and increasing accessibility will give your customers flexibility and peace of mind. 

“A trend we see happening in the new year is the increased growth of mobile shopping. Not only has mobile ecommerce traffic continued to grow throughout 2019, but this year we saw a big increase in conversion rate and revenue as well. As customers get more comfortable researching and completing the checkout on mobile, retailers and brands must have a mobile-optimized ecommerce experience, as well as strong content which will help customers answer the questions they have about products and shipping/returns. Since the product research phase often includes reading blogs and watching videos for product information, participating in content marketing is going to really help those consumers find what they are looking for and make a purchase.” Newegg

3. Sustainability

Sustainability is becoming more important to consumers and businesses are taking steps to do their part. Shipping can be an extremely wasteful, plastic-filled process. As demand for a more sustainable shipping process grows, recycled and biodegradable shipping materials will hopefully become more accessible and affordable for businesses in 2020. Sustainability is not relevant only in shipping materials, but in other shipping logistics like inventory management or the actual physical movement of goods. The carbon footprint of these activities is something to be considered, and the conversation of how to ship things sustainably and affordably will become even more relevant in the next year. 

“By the 2020 holidays, many retailers would have either studied the environmental impact of their shipping practices, or will be facing heat from their customers to make their fulfillment more sustainable. Instead of a “race to the bottom” of fast shipping, innovative retailers will instead look at reducing plastic use, using recyclable materials, and encouraging customers to be more intentional with their purchasing.” BigCommerce

4. Pop-up stores

Ecommerce-focused brands like Away, Casper, and Reformation are experimenting with brick and mortars. These stores may be temporary or only in a select few locations, but signal a new trend towards reviving the physical shopping experience. Department stores may be on the decline but these smaller, niche brands are seizing an opportunity to connect with customers through creating new ways to shop. Consider any value a physical store would add to your business, as well as customer demand. For some businesses, ecommerce is the most profitable method. For others, a more tactile experience may increase potential customers’ willingness to buy or improve your overall brand value.

“A trend we see for 2020 is the continuation of brands going D2C, through online marketplaces. 47% of all online sales came from marketplaces and this number is only expected to rise through the next year, with more brands realizing the opportunity to connect with their customers directly, while leveraging marketplace solutions. This model allows small businesses and big brands alike to take advantage of niche markets, increased consumer traffic, and broaden their digital footprint for increased growth.” Newegg

5. More ways to pay

Options that make payment easier and more accessible will become increasingly popular in 2020. Pay-over-time options are another way businesses can empower their customers with autonomy over their buying process. Pay-over-time services like Sezzle allow customers to pay for their purchase through interest-free, biweekly installments over the span of six weeks. An option like this may make purchases accessible to a wider customer base and help your business grow. 

“One way we see this trend manifesting itself recently is through the rise of buy online, pickup in-store (or BOPIS). More retailers are offering this option, especially those with a strong brick-and-mortar footprint. BOPIS a win-win for both parties as consumers get their goods faster and retailers save on shipping costs and drive more in-store traffic.” ChannelAdvisor

6. Micro-business Growth

Micro-businesses are a vibrant and profitable segment of ecommerce. But they often get swept up into the same tornado of information that applies to small businesses in general. However, as more of the workforce becomes self-employed, the growth of micro-business has increased. 

“The trend of self-employed micro-businesses that offer unique products will not die down in 2020, and thanks to the help of online ecommerce platforms, we anticipate the transformation from micro-business to small business will be quicker than ever. It will be critical for these companies to have complete integration between their ecommerce and ERP/business software platforms in order to support the demands of such rapid growth.” Beck Consulting

Consumers have more power in their buying decisions than ever, and offering more ways for them to shop is a great step to stay competitive in 2020. Consumers look for transparency and fairness from the businesses they shop from. As our culture becomes more consumer-conscious and focused on sustainability, many will choose to buy from brands that embody these values. Get ahead of the curve and begin the discussion of what an eco-friendly shipping process would look like for your business. 

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