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When we think about e-commerce in the upcoming year and years the following four points should be on our radar. I predict not only further growth for influencer marketing, but also an even more rapid rise in social commerce and selling.

We’ve seen quite some social media trends in recent years such as the rise of influencers and omnichannel e-commerce marketing, especially among marketing specialists from the beauty, fashion, e-commerce, and automotive sectors.

These are the four trends I envisage for 2020:

1. TikTok will continue its rapid growth. For two years now, TikTok has time and time again been one of the most downloaded photo and video apps worldwide. I expect TikTok to continue gaining popularity in 2020 thanks to its aggressive marketing campaigns and investments in geographic expansion. The Lasso app was Facebook’s first attempt to use the TikTok mechanism with short music video clips. While Lasso was a stand-alone app, Instagram Reels is integrated directly into the Instagram user interface. Facebook thus makes it easier for advertisers and users to access this tightly involved and connected content without having to download an additional app. Instagram Stories is the best example of how Facebook attacked the competition in the past with a new content format for its existing target group – Snapchat in that case.

2. Influencer marketing will continually grow in a B2C context but also among B2B buyers. Consumers are increasingly looking for reviews, ratings, and credible voices when making purchasing decisions: This creates great opportunities not only for influencers but also for companies and brands to reach buyers, stakeholders, and decision-makers. The beauty, fashion, e-commerce, and automotive lines of business have employed influencer marketing in recent years and noticeably profited from it. I am pretty excited and certain that we will see this trend continue this year and witness influencer marketing develop into a multi-billion industry by 2020. Micro-influencer are becoming increasingly important – making up and performing the bulk of successful influencer marketing nowadays. They focus on a specific segment or a particular line of business and can be understood as a topic or subject matter expert. More interesting facts about influencer marketing statistics can be found at the Influencer Marketing Hub.

3. The dawn of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) will come this year or next year at the very latest – and everyone should be prepared. VR has long been associated with video games or Hollywood films such as Minority Report. I have been using a VR head-up display on my motorcycle helmet’s visor for three years now and I would never want to ride without it again. While marketers have experimented with VR in the past, most made the mistake of underestimating the potential of this technology, instead of just viewing it as a passing gimmick. I firmly believe that VR is a great opportunity for marketers. Interactive technology can inspire an audience, increase brand awareness, and drive the discovery and sale of products. Just imagine that your consumers and buyers could discover products and services simply by browsing through virtual clothes racks and showrooms. Similarly, I could imagine seeing relevant information and hints, and having the option to book, reserve, and preorder on my HUD visor whilst on the move (if you would like to know more – check out the below video on YouTube – giving you a few insights into one of the latest HUDs on the market).

Just as a side note – I have been using an HUD on my motorcycle since 2017 – the HUD I have currently is from NUVIZ, a company which is no longer available on the market – here is a video showing the NUVIZ HUD I am using. I am waiting eagerly to get the EyeLights HUD soon. These virtual and augmented realities provide a lifelike experience for your customers, which could then encourage them to make a purchase. While it could take five to ten years for this technology to become widespread, VR promises to be a powerful tool for vendors and service providers.

4. Social selling and social commerce will experience rapid growth in the next few years. With Instagram Shopping, Instagram offers an immersive platform for selected brands in which users can discover and buy services and products. Facebook’s app portfolio, consisting of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook Groups, now offers tools for community management and customer care. All marketing activities within the sales funnel can be covered on social media, from discovering services and products to customer care and support after the purchase. Facebook is even planning its own cryptocurrency with Libra. 2020 could be the year in which social commerce is launched and customers buy products within a social media platform instead of calling up the app on a shopping site, or being referred to the online store.

Whenever a business is providing and selling their products and services, it should be done on the basis of trust and a good relationship to the consumer. That means listening to your customers and their needs, wishes, comments and reviews. Online reviews create social proof, increase consumer trust, and give you a direct line to consumers.

As you can see, a lot is going on and we have a bright multi-touch and omni e-commerce world ahead of us. It will be critical for marketers to focus on optimizing advertising content and personalizing offers, recommendations, and ads. Let us explore the enticing new world of e-commerce to seek out new opportunities and new ways to interact, to boldly go where no one has gone before.