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E-comm in 2020: A Bonkers Year Reviewed

PostedJanuary 04, 2021

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*Cue “Closing Time” by Semisonic*


It’s over.


A year that will be remembered, reminisced, cursed, and described to younger generations with head shakes and clenched fists for decades to come.

Minimized and Maximized

Innumerable businesses and industries suffered baffling losses while fighting COVID-19, restrictions from state and federal governments, and shifts in consumer behaviors.


Our hearts go out to those who shuttered up shop and may never open again after the whirlwind tornado called 2020. It’s difficult to summarize the pain experienced by small and medium-sized businesses across the country.


Yet, interestingly, when something is minimized, it often leads to something else being maximized. 


And when physical retail disappeared faster than the bottle of wine you were “just going to have one glass” of, it led to seismic shifts in the way people purchased goods this year.


One of the industries perfectly positioned to serve folks from their favorite recliner chair, was ecommerce. In fact, data from a Kinsta article revealed that 43% of online shoppers reported making a purchase from the comfort of their bed. That alone should tell you, consumerism is changing.

Industry Trends

*“Ah man, large-scale macro industry trends? Do we have to?” 


Yeah, we kind of do, friends. These trends are important and influence everyone in the global ecommerce ecosystem. Oh, and if you aren’t in the global ecommerce ecosystem, we can help.


What’s more important than a single year are the overarching trends that have the potential to play out for many years.


Data cited in an ecommerceguide.com article suggests that by 2040, 95% of all purchases will be made online. 


That stat could be the nail in the coffin for brick and mortar. And while we are years from this being actualized, with over 2 billion digital buyers around the globe, it’s not all that surprising.


In the US, 80% of Internet users have made a purchase online and credit cards are still the most popular and preferred form of payment.


Let’s quickly and simply breakdown global ecommerce growth.


In 2014, global ecommerce sales were valued at $1.34 trillion. In 2018, only four years later, that number more than doubled to $2.84 trillion. In 2021, global sales are expected to balloon to $4.88 trillion. 

Shopper Trends

Online merchants, please perk up your ears and pull out your notepads.


To date, the three biggest factors for ecommerce shoppers are as follows:

  1. Free shipping
  2. Ease of return shipping 
  3. Cost of item

Master these factors and see boundless success for your online shop. But, because humans are humans, we can’t simply be pleased with only three factors. So, of course, there’s more.


85% of online consumers conduct online research before making an online purchase.


That’s a big one. Here’s why. This could mean the entire customer journey is taking place on a 13-inch laptop screen. It starts with the top of funnel actions like someone seeing an ad or actively searching for a product category---let’s use light-weight comforters as an example.


Unless this person is entirely sold on the comforter their buddy recommended them and they are going directly to that site to purchase it, chances are they are going to do some research first.


Now, our consumer is bombarded with countless variations of light-weight comforters, each with different price points and benefits. 


In their research, they will either toss you aside, or look deeper into your product to see if it’s the winner.


Are you the cheapest option? The most luxurious? The softest? The most durable? These are all things to consider. It’s important to be something. To stand out to consumers in some way. To do one thing better than anyone else in the market.

Stand Out Using Shopify

With Shopify, you basically have unlimited ways to customize your shop and your customer’s experience there. Here’s a couple effective ways to stand out authentically we picked and elaborated on from a getmesa.com article:


Reward loyal customers and create promotions specifically for them. We know that sometimes it only takes a small, dedicated army, as opposed to a large, uninterested one to win big.


Instead of focusing on the entire market, send tailored emails in your brand’s voice and run specific promotions to the folks that already made a purchase. Their word-of-mouth marketing might be more effective than other methods. 


We recommend Smile.io for a customer rewards program. It’s a seamless plug in equipped with referrals, a points system, the whole shebang.


Offer instant gratification through shipping. Shipping can be expensive and hard. But it means a lot to the customer. If you can offer free and fast shipping, even to a small geographic location near where your product is warehoused, it could go a long way.


Free same day shipping is tough. But just do whatever is fastest for you and doesn’t kill your margins.To keep things in check, we recommend ShipStation which connects you to tons of carriers and integrates into all your channels. Pst, if you’re a Simplistic customer, you get two months free, too!

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