Predictions for 2020 in the eCommerce-WordPress Space
WP eCommerce Show

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In episode 163 of our podcast, our last show of 2019, I have asked a few knowledgable peeps in the WordPress/eCommerce space for their predictions for 2020. Although there are tons of people who I am sure would have some great insights to add, time was limited and it was a bit of a challenge finding anyone that had a little spare time during this season.

2020 / eCommerce / WordPress

Of course we could have reflected on the last year and what we’ve seen. I’m sure there will be plenty of those posts. Instead, being more of a what-we-could-see rather than a what-we-have-seen kind of guy, I took this route.

So enjoy and thank you for being one of our loyal listeners this last year. Here’s to a fantastic 2020!

WP eCommerce Show Episode 163

Brad Williams – WebDev Studios | @williamsba

(and also co-host with me at Do the Woo Podcast)

I have two predictions. First up, AI and machine learning. Imagine what the eCommerce market could gain from understanding customer needs and serving them. in the past, recommendations were set manually based on your purchase history or others who purchased similar items. But integrating AI and machine learning can take that further and can actually understand who you are. Learn about your customers, learn the brands they like, the colors they like, maybe their gender, the general budget they spend. All these different factors to give them recommendations that they actually care about and will spend money on. These AI services are becoming easier to integrate. They’re cheaper, they’re faster and much more important, to be integrated into your eCommerce store. So look out for that in 2020.

Second, voice commerce, Amazon, Alexa, Apple, Siri, Google assistant. We all have one of these devices if not more than one in our house and in our pocket and in our cars. It’s estimated that by 2023, there will be over 8 billion devices with voice assistants in them. And voice shopping is expected to hit $40 billion by 2022. You want to make it easy for your customers to purchase your products however they want. Mobile has been the trend for years. Now we know that continues to grow, but purchasing things with your voice, using voice assistance is the next big trend. So get on it. Make sure people can order your products through Alexa, through Siri, through Google. Reach out to your eCommerce provider or your developers and talk to them about it. These are my recommendations for 2020.

Beka Rice – SkyVerge / Jilt | @Beka_Rice

For eCommerce in 2020, I think there are a lot of really interesting trends. One of the things I’ve loved for a long time is virtual reality and augmented reality and I think that’ll continue to grow in 2020.

But for a more immediate trend, I think multi-platform selling is going to make some big gains this year with new technologies like Instagram checkout coming soon. I think this will make it much easier for merchants to sell directly to customers in the marketing channels they’re using, which is pretty unique and interesting.

So I think that we’ll see the rise of more platforms like Instagram checkout change the concept of purchasing and how brands engage with their customers, and how they build brand awareness with their customers.

Kyle Maurer – Sandhills Development | @MrKyleMaurer

My prediction is more consolidation. Venture capital is entering WordPress, which is proving to be a ripe market for investment. I believe many product creators in WordPress are overworked, overwhelmed, undervalued, and inexperienced when it comes to turning the fruits of their labors into longterm enterprises. Investors do know this and are aggressively scouring the landscape for businesses with potential which can be acquired for amounts far less than similar businesses outside of WordPress.

In 2020, even more of the brands you know and love will finally give in and accept investment from either larger companies already in WordPress or new funding sources recently entering the scene. The eCommerce brands are among the most enticing to those investors. All of the brands you know and love are having conversations about this right now. Some will carry on as they have been while others will take the offer to cash.

I predict we’ll see as many as one and a half to two times the number of companies taking on funding or selling their business entirely in 2020 compared to what we saw in 2019.

Kathy Zant – WordFence | @kathyzant

I think first we’ll start seeing WordPress used as a platform for more than just the standard HTML based websites we’ve seen in the past. We’ll start seeing new interfaces in both mobile and desktop environments leverage data that’s stored in the WordPress database in new and unique ways. We’re already starting to see some of this with new tools coming forward like Gatsby, but I think we’ll start seeing other tools and methodologies coming forward that use WordPress’s database as a storage tool and present data in new ways.

I think we’ll also start seeing increasingly sophisticated attacks on eCommerce stores. Store owners are becoming much more security conscious and hosting providers are developing more methods and tools for keeping storefronts and customer data safe.

So hackers are being forced to up their game. We won’t be able to let our guard down, even if some of the more basic intrusions are blocked. It’s going to be critically important to have a firewall. And I think we’ll start seeing more store fronts using both cloud-based firewalls and end point firewalls together for additional layers of security. 2020 is going to be a year of growth online, in my opinion. And I’m optimistic about where both eCommerce and WordPress are going.

Chris Lema – Liquid Web | @chrislema

Today, if I head to a website that is an eCommerce store, I normally get to the homepage of the store and it says in the navigation, men, women, children, accessories. It shows me the categories. And if I click into men and then I click into jeans or shirts or shoes and I browse two or three items and I go back to that homepage, for the most part, the homepage looks identical. It looks the same. My click stream hasn’t changed how the company has designed their homepage or any other page on their website.

But if you go to the good ones, if you go to the ones that are paying attention, what you see is that if I spend all my time browsing through the men’s section of an online store, when I get to the homepage, they’ve recast that homepage to be for men. These are the products and the suggestions and the favorites and the promotions offered. And the same thing would happen if I were a woman.

So my prediction when we talk about eCommerce and particularly 2020, and where it’s going is I think more and more stores are going to use clickstream and behavior analysis to dynamically change or to personalize a buyer’s journey on their website. And the ones that do it more and more, we’ll see better and higher conversions because the store starts paying attention to what we’re already telling it without necessarily typing in search or without filling out a contact form. We’re telling you what we’re interested in and a smart website should pay attention to that.

Maddy Osman – The Blogsmith | @MaddyOsman

My prediction for e-commerce in the WordPress space is that in 2020 we’re going to see a more democratized space in terms of things that we saw in 2019, like BigCommerce releasing a plugin that expanded their managed platform to now work with WordPress as a headless eCommerce system.

And more recently when GoDaddy and WooCommerce partnered to the effect of people being able to use many of their extensions that they’d normally pay a yearly subscription fee on as included with their GoDaddy hosting plan. So it seems fair to assume that more things like this could happen in 2020, making WordPress eCommerce tools more accessible to users, both with technical experience and those without it.

It would be interesting to see a major player like Shopify doing something like what BigCommerce did, but I tend to doubt that that would happen just because they’re doing so well on their own without any partnerships with WordPress. But in general, I think that eCommerce is going to be easier and easier for people to use, especially with WordPress as the backend system.

Mario Peshev – Devrix | @no_fear_inc

There are two trends that I see becoming more popular and more important throughout 2020. When it comes to eCommerce, the first one is social selling through different social channels. We are all aware that chatbots are becoming even more popular and lots of people are trying to sell straight from Messenger or to different mediums like Instagram or Pinterest or even Twitter.

Now that’s something that has already been working, not to mention that you can now purchase different things through Google search changing itself or through the Facebook marketplace. And more and more businesses are trying to segregate these and move further away from their own store or integrate their own stores into different popular channels in Facebook pages or find a different medium to do dropshipping.

Then Amazon, which is the known leader in the space. This one will definitely take some precedence, not to mention the fact that chatbots are becoming more and more popular. At the same time, Facebook is now trying to set some regulations simply because Facebook is not really earning from chatbots at this time. So we’ll see some interesting stunts in the chatbox space through the coming year.

The second thing is more and more purchases to voice-control devices. Now voice search is picking up a lot of traction and I assume it’s going to reach about 50/50, we’re even going to see more than the traditional local search and e-commerce search in Google SERP, or in different similar channels. Even the voice search itself is not going to solve all problems out there. More and more people are trying to use their home devices such as Google home or Alexa or Cortana or anything like that to purchase stuff or set up shopping lists. There are even smart fridges that let you know what sort of recipes you’re interested in, what sort of purchases you need to make and so on.

All of those are going to be consolidated and it would be made easier to buy stuff through voice-control devices. So having integrations with those, making sure that you’re actually ranking properly for those devices, making sure that your items are compatible with all those services that are looking for goods and services online. This is also important and will be even more important throughout 2020.

Marieke va de Rakt – Yoast | @MariekeRakt

If I was to predict a trend in a WordPress eCommerce space, I would say that structured data, our schema, it’s gold and will become more and more important. So our SEO plugin, the OCO supports multiple out of the box. And if you implement correctly, search engines can use schema to understand the contents of your page better. As a result, your site might be presented better in the search results.

For example, in the form of rich results, like rich snippets or rich cards and for product pages. For every eCommerce site, this will become more and more important because the competition and eCommerce sites are so very fierce. If you want to end up in the search results, you’ll need a good schema implementation for sure. So the most important trend is schema.

Topher DeRosia – BigCommerce | @topher1kenobe

My main prediction for eCommerce in 2020 is a general move toward API-driven eCommerce. Traditionally self-hosted, open source platforms have owned the flexibility space, and SaaS platforms have owned the pre-packaged secure and stable space. With an API driven system you can have the best of both worlds. The experience layer is infinitely flexible, while the eCommerce layer is protected and stable.

This allows companies to quickly and easily pivot on the experience layer without disrupting the eCommerce layer at all.

It also allows large scale companies to incorporate an eCommerce tool into an existing tool chain. At large scale you’ll see hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of people working with a complex existing toolchain. Rather than ask them to change that toolchain to accommodate a rigid, proprietary eCommerce system, an API-driven platform can seamlessly fit into that chain, reducing time and cost. This follows the Unix philosophy of making focused, powerful tools that integrate with other tools.

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