2020 e-commerce news was a mixed bag of good and bad for most retailers. At the start of COVID-19 in the US, businesses saw overseas manufacturers shut down and shipping delays interrupt pipelines. e-commerce started to pick up as more people increased online shopping to avoid going out.
This shift caused a lot of brick and mortar stores to go under as e-commerce flourished. Then, this holiday season shipping deadlines and delays proved a challenge for consumers and sellers alike. Tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Facebook released new features, technology, and more to keep up with these changes—adding another challenge to the mix.
Let’s take a look back at the top 2020 e-commerce news and updates, to prepare for what’s to come next in 2021:
1) Google Analytics 4
This new version of Google Analytics is event-based, instead of hit-based. The interface has drastically changed also—with more customization for building personalized reports. If you’ve used Google Analytics before, this will be a huge change for you! Read all about the new GA4 in our blog here.
2) Organic Google Shopping Listings
This is definitely one of the biggest 2020 ecommerce news updates ! After years of being a paid advertising platform, Google Shopping now includes free organic listings. These listings are pulled in from products on the web—and if you have a product feed on Merchant Center, Google might list your products for free too! Read more about free Google Shopping listings here.
3) Google Shopping Feed Automatically Shows in Multiple Countries
Have you seen your Google Shopping products serving in Canada or elsewhere internationally? This is due to an update in Google Shopping which automatically shows your products in eligible countries. This includes countries with the same language as your ads. Read more about international Shopping ads here.
4) COVID Supply Chain Struggles
When COVID first hit the US, manufacturers in China and around the world were still struggling with the virus. Many factories shut down and shipping precautions increased globally. This led to major supply chain struggles for e-commerce retailers. Read about how to deal with changes in your supply chain.
5) Holiday Shipping Deadlines and Delays
Shipping delays returned during the holiday season. Shoppers quickly became aware of these shipping delays and planned ahead—starting to buy gifts in October. This shifted some sales away from key shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Read more about how shipping deadlines impacted e-commerce.
6) Amazon Prime Day Moved to October this Year
The summer went by without a Prime Day in sight—which left us all wondering if Prime Day was cancelled this year. Then suddenly, Amazon announced Prime Day would be in October this year. Amazon sellers scrambled to get their products together for Prime Day (and get products shipped to Amazon warehouses in time). Read more about Prime Day 2020 here.
7) Tech Giants Under Investigation Globally
It seemed like every month there was a new lawsuit or investigation against a Big Tech company. Here are just a few of the big cases:
8) Amazon + Google Took Steps to Increase Security and Privacy
In the wake of these lawsuits, both Google and Amazon tried to stay ahead of future claims by increasing security. Amazon made moves toward fighting fraud including:
- Screening Third-Party Sellers
- Creating the Counterfeit Crimes Unit
- Listing Names and Addressed of Third-Party Sellers
Meanwhile, Google made moves to increase privacy and security like requiring advertiser identity verification and removing ad targeting for certain categories.
9) New Google Tools
Up next in 2020 e-commerce news, new Google tools. This year Google released many new tools to help advertisers. Explanations helps Google Ads users understand fluctuations in their reporting. Core Web Vitals helps users measure the experience provided by their website—and improve it. Rising Retail Categories shows charts and tables of top searches and trends across categories.
10) Walmart Discontinued Jet and Teamed Up with Spotify
In May, Walmart cut ties with the retail giant Jet, which they acquired for $3 Billion in 2016. Then in June, Walmart announced its new alliance with Shopify. This partnership lets Shopify retailers sell their products in the Walmart marketplace. Following this partnership, both Walmart’s stock and Shopify’s stock grew. Will Walmart be able to take on Amazon with Shopify?
11) Brick-and-Mortar Stores Closed While E-commerce Thrived
In 2020 e-commerce sales jumped 37% in Q3 as shoppers continue to purchase online during the pandemic. On the flip side, many big-box retailers filed for bankruptcy or closed. Home goods have helped both online and in-store retailers stay afloat as shoppers are spending more time at home. Will this trend continue into 2021? It looks like the shift to e-commerce might be here to stay.
12) Amazon Attribution Beta
This year Amazon released the Amazon Attribution Beta. This analytics and measurement console is designed to help brands track performance across multiple channels including search, social, and email. The beta is currently available for sellers enrolled in Brand Registry, vendors, and agencies with clients who sell on Amazon.
13) Google Core Updates
Google released two core updates this year, one in May and one in December. The goal of the May update was to improve the quality of search results. This update was a big one that impacted the travel, real estate, health, pets & animals, and people & society industries. The December update was even bigger—with the top 20 positions fluctuating more than double in comparison to the May update.
14) Facebook Shops
This summer Facebook rolled out Facebook Shops, a marketplace on Facebook and Instagram powered by third-party sellers like Shopify and BigCommerce. Shops are free to create, but Facebook charges a fee when users checkout on Facebook.
Use This 2020 Top E-commerce News to Prepare for 2021
Did any of these changes affect your business? Were there any 2020 top e-commerce news and updates that you missed this year? A lot happened in one year, good and bad, which made it hard to keep track of all the changes. We hope this blog helped you get up to date for the new year.
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