ShipStation’s Top 5 Ecommerce Predictions for 2020

December 12, 2019

2019 is quickly coming to a close and here at ShipStation we are looking ahead to the new decade! 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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

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. 

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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