Study: Retailers to up investments in e-commerce in 2020

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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The coming year will see many retailers increase their e-commerce budgets, with focus on a few key technologies.

According to The E-commerce Trends Survey of more than 1,200 global companies engaging in digital commerce from monetization platform 2Checkout, 61% of respondents plan to increase their budgets. Another 15% will stay the same, and only 5% will cut their e-commerce budgets. About one in five (19%) were still reviewing budgets at the time the survey was taken. 

The technologies that the most companies plan to implement are also those with the highest adoption rate. This includes targeting, and personalization, already implemented by 32% of respondents, followed by mobile apps (29%), and chatbots (24%). 

Targeting/personalization is the most popular planned deployment (37%) in 2020, followed by mobile apps and optimization (34%), and chatbots (30%). The least popular are augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), with only 19% of respondents looking at them for 2020, despite the hype around these emerging technologies. 

Looking at e-commerce priority areas for 2020, the study finds a total of 48% of respondents will focus on site cart and mobile optimization initiatives. Forty-three percent will focus on customer experience, with conversion rate optimization (35%), brand building and awareness (32%) and analytics (31%) also leading priorities. Other areas of planned focus include generating targeted traffic (22%), customer support (21%), and localization (19%).

Here are other survey highlights. 

• Choosing the right technology remains is the top e-commerce challenge for 40% of respondents, up 14 percentage points compared to 2018. Finding the right partners (18%) and additional sales channels (17%) are also mentioned as challenges for 2020.

• In terms of budget allocation, search engine optimization (SEO - 57%), paid advertising (53%), social media (34%), demand generation (20%), and content (19%), are among the items which will receive the highest amounts.

• Marketing departments continue to lead digital commerce efforts (37%), followed by sales (15%), and dedicated e-commerce functions (11%). While sales and e-commerce ownership figures are similar to 2018, marketing has taken ownership points from other departments, such as product, and operations.

• Regarding automation tools, most online businesses use automated email marketing (70%), followed by targeted social ad campaigns (56%). Up-selling and cross-selling tools are also popular, used by 39% of respondents. 

• Evaluating payment methods, the study finds most online businesses already accept major credit and debit cards, as well as PayPal, with the interest of adoption in 2020 turning toward additional methods, such as mobile payment (31% planning to implement), and credit cards with installments (29%).