As innovation and convergence in technology continue, affordable opportunities for local businesses to build awareness, be found, and sell online continue to grow. Here are 6 trends that I’m predicting will have an enormous impact in 2020.
Google Maps Will Become the New Search
In 2020, more consumer searches will originate from Google Maps. In fact, expect an increasing number of consumers to bypass Google search altogether and utilize Google apps on their phones (i.e. Google Maps) to seek answers to their queries. Additionally, consumers using Google search will see more examples of product searches returning map results. For example, searching for AirPods might yield Apple Store, Best Buy and Target map listings with an in-stock label powered by Google’s Local Inventory Ads.
AI Will Begin to Think Like You
Suggestive search is on the rise as AI technology becomes more enhanced and intuitive. Consumers will no longer need to think through the logistics of getting to work, running an errand or taking a trip – the evolving software will be one step ahead of consumers’ wants and needs.
Zero-Click Searches on the Uptick
Google’s zero-click search results will continue to reduce the need for consumers to visit other websites for information. With instant answers, Map Packs, translators, knowledge panels, calculators and definitions featured at the top of the page, Google will further confine consumers to the SERP, strengthening its role as the king of data. Also expect to find richer top-of-page results such as instructions, recipes, how-tos, menus and more that include images, videos and other rich content.
The Amazon Effect
If/when Amazon starts taking pages out of Google’s book, it will empower buyers and sellers to take back control over their company’s profile, reputation and data straight from Amazon’s site. Though once seen solely as an e-commerce site, Amazon’s recent purchase of Whole Foods Market showcases its expansion into different verticals with new capabilities. Expect these efforts to ramp up in 2020.
Brick & Mortar Isn’t Dead Yet
Brick and mortar is making a comeback, but in a different way than one might expect. As a majority of brands’ revenue comes from their physical stores, they will continue to reinvent themselves to appeal to consumers’ demands for digitization and convenience. In 2020, expect brick and mortar stores and restaurants to downsize their physical locations, focusing on experiential concepts that will leave an impact on consumers and help them stand out from the competition.
Ethics, Privacy and Public Opinion Will Impact Business
Whether it’s fake news or CBD products, major tech platforms such as Youtube and Facebook will have to pick a side when it comes to enabling, promoting or endorsing a company, campaign or product. With the power to alter listings algorithms, increase censorship and/or promote certain products/opinions over others, these tech conglomerates will need to pay close attention to their role in disseminating information – whether false or simply controversial – and the effect it has on consumers. Similarly, 2020 will see big tech companies rolling out more privacy-centered features – such as Google Maps’ new incognito mode – to limit sharing consumers’ location data with brands in an effort to protect consumers’ privacy.