Emergent eCommerce Trends of the 2020s

Ecommerce

Worldwide e-commerce is experiencing an unprecedented period of growth and development precipitated by a combination of emergent technologies and global circumstances. From the outset of the 2020s, we’ve seen new ways and means of conducting business online emerge to the fore, as e-commerce continues to consolidate its position as the chief means of accessing goods and services in the modern world.

Online Comparison Platforms

Estimates as to the number of businesses operating online today range from anything between 12 to 24 million. That not only means that brands are finding themselves amidst greater competition than ever before, but that, for consumers, the challenge of finding the right goods or services amidst this sea of options is substantial. 

As a result of this, the online comparison platform sector has grown. These sites do the work of bringing together reputable providers in the field they cover into a single, searchable directory for consumers to explore. 

Often, such platforms will not only then serve as the ‘one stop shop’ for goods and services in their sector, but, as in the case of leading odds comparison site and i-gaming directory OddsChecker, will offer unique promotions and sign-up bonuses for patrons who access providers through their platform. 

This not only validates comparison platforms as the favored means of accessing businesses in the sector in question, but makes them a source of competition between brands, who attempt to climb the rankings by offering better services and promotions than their rivals.

Alternative Payment Providers

In the past, the bare minimum expected by e-commerce platforms when it came to offering payment providers, was support for leading credit card companies such as Mastercard and Visa. This once stable picture has begun to change markedly in the 2020s. 

Much of this change is due to the growing uptake of e-wallets and Fintech apps that utilize the likes of Google and Apple Pay to redeem payments through biometric transactions. There is also growing demand for the use of PayPal, and associated platforms like Venmo and CashApp. 

This greater flexibility of payment providers enables consumers to create and use virtual cards, move money between accounts, and redeem purchases in regions outside of their economic zone – all of which are growing requirements in our ever-increasingly connected world. 

In the future, there is an expectation among some analysts that more businesses will begin to offer blockchain payment methods, with certain organizations, such as Elon Musk’s electric car manufacturer Tesla, having already experimented with offering sales of its vehicles in both Bitcoin and Doge. 

However, few sectors are as naturally conservative as the financial market and, at present, the very tangible volatility of cryptocurrencies makes them a poor candidate for uptake as a widespread payment processor, at least in the near to medium term.

Cryptocurrency---Ecommerce

The Rise of the Chatbot

AI assistants have been around for over a decade, though it’s only recently that they have begun to achieve a level of sophistication that makes them useful. Chatbots can be used to answer common questions of consumers as they are browsing or redeeming a transaction with a business. 

This not only saves time and resources for the business in question, who would otherwise have to allocate a member of staff to respond to these minor queries, but it gives consumers the satisfaction of knowing they can receive prompt clarification of the matter in question near instantly.

Of course, chatbots are not able to address complex or nuanced questions easily, but they consistently get better at identifying the moment at which a consumer may be better served by a live agent, and transferring them to one. 

The cost-saving that chatbots represent for businesses, with respect to large organizations, runs into the tens or hundreds of thousands each year. What’s more, as they grow increasingly refined, chatbots will be able to answer and address a greater range of matters without need for recourse to a live agent.

‘Social-Shopping’ Becoming Major Force

Over the past decade a key driver in e-commerce sales has been advertising on social media. This makes a lot of sense, given that the global average time that people spend on platforms like TikTok and Instagram in 2022 is over 2 hours a day. 

What we’re now seeing though, is an increase in ‘in-app’ shopping features on these apps and websites. From Instagram Checkout to Facebook’s ‘Buy’ button, it’s now becoming easier than ever to shop and pay for products right from within our social feeds. Even TikTok is getting in on the action, signalling that this is a trend that is unlikely to lose momentum. 

Accordingly, over the course of the decade it’s to be expected that we will see an industry-wide pivot towards operating e-commerce storefronts out of these platforms.

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