The general economic mood in Germany is currently gloomy – the economy is weakening. Nevertheless, the German E-Commerce and Distance Selling Trade Association forecasts a sales increase in e-commerce of 10.5 percent for 2019. However, one thing is certain: In face of increasingly difficult external factors, e-commerce will be breaking new ground next year to continue the success story of recent years. Here we introduce you to the most important trends for 2020.
#Trend 1: 5G Catapults Mobile Commerce into New Realms
It’s eagerly being anticipated – the 5G mobile standard. It will give the Internet of Things and mobile commerce a powerful boost in the coming year: 5G is said to be 100 times faster than LTE!
Among other things, the technology enables a greatly reduced transmission delay (latency). 4G has a latency of 50 milliseconds, while 5G will have a latency of five milliseconds in three years and will be reduced to just one millisecond in five years. For comparison: It takes humans 10 milliseconds to process an image. This means that real-time transmissions will be possible via 5G in the future.
The first smartphone models that support 5G are already available. In addition, network operators have already connected the first major German cities and several smaller municipalities to the 5G network. In 2020, a large part of Germany is expected to benefit from 5G. Neighboring European countries are also undergoing big changes when it comes to 5G. The European Union provides the current status of 5G expansion on the website of its European 5G Observatory.
The advantages of 5G for e-commerce are obvious: Lightning-fast internet connections and real-time transmissions make mobile shopping from smartphones or tablets increasingly attractive. This also opens up new opportunities for e-commerce retailers when designing online shops or product presentations – among other things, online retailers will increasingly focus on video content. Already, the smartphone is an indispensable medium and accounts for 75 percent of traffic of the online fashion store ABOUTYOU, for example. It’s safe to assume that this trend will intensify in 2020 and online shops will become more and more like shopping centers on our smartphones.
#Trend 2: The Future of E-Commerce Is Green
By this year at the latest, sustainability and climate protection have become mainstream in society. A growing customer segment is concerned about the impact of their own consumer behavior on the environment. Naturally, e-commerce retailers will have to respond to this in 2020.
The market leaders in e-commerce show which direction things could take. E-commerce giant Amazon has already announced that it will ship half of all packages with net zero carbon by 2030. To achieve this, Amazon is increasingly relying on electric cars, reusable packaging and the use of renewable energies at its fulfillment centers. The online fashion retailer Zalando is also investing in reducing emissions within its supply chain. As with its competitor Amazon, the main goals are using electricity from renewable energy sources and more sustainable packaging.
In addition, technical advances could increasingly support the sustainability of e-commerce in 2020. Returns not only cost e-commerce retailers a lot of money, they also have a major impact on e-commerce’s carbon footprint. The return rate could be optimized in the next year through measures such as the presentation of products in the online shop as true to the original as possible and innovative solutions like virtual fitting.
But customers also contribute to the sustainability of e-commerce. For example, it’s a common practice to order the same item in different sizes if buyers aren’t sure which size will fit best. The result: The return volume increases. In order to curb such ordering behavior, the German online retailer Otto has been calling attention to environmental protection in this case for some time.
#Trend 3: Artificial Intelligence Offers Increasingly Efficient Options
Machine learning and artificial intelligence have been hot topics in e-commerce in recent years, placing them among the trends that will bear the most noticeable fruit this coming year.
AI helps you get to know your customers. This is increasingly important in e-commerce because customers are becoming more selective and value receiving only information that is directly relevant to them in your online shop. This level of personalization is only possible with the help of self-learning systems.
With personalization, the trend is moving further and further away from classic search engine marketing. Internet users don’t want a list of answers but a specific answer to their question. This also explains the hype surrounding voice search – a search method that allows the user to use voice commands. Voice search will continue its conquest next year. A study by ComScore suggests that every second search could be carried out via voice command in 2020.
#The Bottom Line: Stay Informed!
Trends for 2020 show that e-commerce continues to undergo major transformations. The only thing changing faster than the online market is the prices of your competitors. Intelligent machine learning applications such as blackbee Insights can help you keep track of the market and its prices this year.
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