State and local economies are now reopening in the U.S., bringing shoppers back to storefronts and employees back to the office. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused deep and lasting changes in the retail industry over the past few months. Small businesses, local brick-and-mortar stores in particular, have been some of the most impacted during the global pandemic.
Many businesses have had to shut down operations temporarily, apply for loans, or close permanently due to lack of business during the virus outbreak. Predictions say that there could be between 20,000 – 25,000 storefront closures in the U.S. in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. As of June, total retail spending in the U.S. is expected to decline about 10.5% for 2020.
The two primary sales channels that make up ‘total retail spending’ have seen opposite trends during the COVID-19 pandemic. While brick-and-mortar retail sales are expected to decrease by 14%, eCommerce sales are predicted to increase by 18% to $709.78 billion in 2020.
Losses from in-person sales have made a large dent in the retail market. Online sales have soared as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Interest in eCommerce software—especially small business-friendly platforms like Shopify—has surged during this time. On TrustRadius, we’ve seen an 85% increase in traffic to the eCommerce software category from January – May 2020.
Below we’ll explore how the eCommerce software industry has changed as a result of the pandemic. We’ll also dive into the most popular eCommerce tools and product comparisons on TrustRadius right now and evaluate how trends in market share and buyer behavior continue to shift.
- A Year In Review
- The Impact of COVID-19
- Regional Interest in Ecommerce
- Top Ecommerce Products
- Ecommerce Buyer Behavior
- Ecommerce In The News
- Ecommerce on TrustRadius Vs. G2
Ecommerce Software: A Year in Review
Over the past year, the eCommerce software category has experienced some volatility on TrustRadius. From June to December 2019, traffic to the category ranged anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 pageviews per week. This was followed by a noticeable dip in traffic in late December, coinciding with the end of the year holidays.
A sustained increase in buyer activity in the ecommerce software category can be seen starting in late February and continuing through May and into June. During this time, weekly traffic ranged from 1,500 – 4,500 pageviews per week.
The traffic trends on TrustRadius for the eCommerce software category mirror the overall market trend identified by Google Trends. The peak week for the eCommerce topic on Google Trends (May 3rd – May 9th) is just one week before TrustRadius’ peak week (May 10th – May 16th).
One reason for the difference in peak activity identified by Google Trends compared to the TrustRadius platform is related to general interest in the topic of eCommerce versus the intent to purchase eCommerce software. Google’s peak week may be slightly before peak activity on TrustRadius because software buyers were still in the early stages of learning about eCommerce software, displaying greater interest in buying eCommerce software the following week after doing initial research on the web.
Many software buyers start their purchasing journey by doing research on Google, and often move to review websites like TrustRadius for more product-specific information. On TrustRadius, users can read through individual reviews, compare products head-to-head, see features ratings, and find pricing information. The users on our platform are therefore lower in the funnel and much closer to making a purchasing decision.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Ecommerce Software
Despite the overall decrease in total U.S. retail spending, the ecommerce industry has been flourishing during the virus outbreak. Consumers everywhere have been turning to online websites to purchase goods ranging from groceries to apparel to electronics. Predictions from eMarketer place eCommerce spending growth at 18% year over year. Interest in ecommerce software has increased by several magnitudes more in just the past six months.
On TrustRadius, the eCommerce software category grew 85% from January to May 2020. This has likely been fueled by businesses of all sizes looking to purchase ecommerce platforms for the first time, or expanding the online selling tools they already have in place to meet the new and different demands of the pandemic.
The eCommerce software category had a much later peak in buyer interest than other categories like collaboration software, video conferencing software, and remote desktop software. These other categories peaked in March and April, while the eCommerce category peaked mid-May.
One possible explanation for this is that confidence in the retail market—both online and in-person—was low during the early months of the pandemic. Throughout March and April, 30.3 million Americans filed for unemployment and the U.S. economy entered a recession. These two important economic indicators mean that consumers were wary of spending money on non-essential goods and services.
In May, states started reopening their economies and consumers started spending more. Buyer interest in eCommerce software followed suit.
Regional Interest in Ecommerce Software
Buyer interest in eCommerce software followed a roughly similar pattern for the top 4 states (CA, TX, NY, and FL). California has the largest share of eCommerce traffic and the clearest peak point of interest in late April.
All four states started reopening their economies during May. Both Texas and Florida allowed restaurants and stores to open at limited capacity early in May, while California and New York both took regional reopening approaches later in May.
- Texas: state-wide May 1st
- Florida: most counties May 4th
- California: regional reopening May 12th
- New York: regional reopening May 15th
TrustRadius has seen similar traffic growth from ecommerce software buyers in the top four countries since the beginning of 2020. This helps illustrate how essential eCommerce software is around the world. TrustRadius usually has a larger share of traffic coming from the U.S., but this is not the case for eCommerce platforms.
Notably, India has slightly higher traffic than the three other countries for each month except March. Of these four countries, India and the U.S. have been the hardest-hit countries in terms of number of COVID-19 cases. India has also experienced a recent surge in cases, potentially due to the reopening of its economy after having a strict lockdown in place for weeks.
The Most Popular Ecommerce Platforms Today
On TrustRadius, eCommerce products for both small and large businesses have seen significant growth over the past month. Shopify leads the pack, closely followed by SAP Commerce Cloud (formerly SAP Hybris) and Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
|2||SAP Commerce Cloud||1,647|
|3||Salesforce Commerce Cloud||1,267|
|8||Magento Commerce(owned by Adobe)||743|
Interestingly, some of these products are content management systems, rather than dedicated ecommerce platforms. For example, Kentico, Wix, and Squarespace are all website building platforms that are frequently used to create online stores. But they are also commonly used to set up other types of websites and blogs.
These types of tools tend to be preferred by SMBs due to their user-friendliness and low cost. However, a tradeoff of using lightweight website builders is decreased eCommerce-specific functionality. Especially for enterprise-level organizations that need the ability to deeply customize their online store, larger eCommerce platforms may be a better option.
Over the past month, there have been over 6,400 views of eCommerce product comparisons on TrustRadius. Here are the 10 most popular comparisons right now:
Both Shopify and Salesforce Commerce Cloud are included in 3 out of the top 10 comparisons. On TrustRadius, Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Shopify have some of the highest traffic numbers of the whole eCommerce category (2,278 and 1,267 pageviews, respectively). Salesforce also recently released four new commerce solutions to help businesses adjust to online selling during a pandemic.
However, two out of the three Salesforce Commerce Cloud comparisons are against other Salesforce products. This indicates that buyers might be interested in better understanding the differences between different Salesforce products, like their CRM and Commerce Cloud. Or, some users may already be part of the Salesforce ecosystem of products, and are curious about the quality of integration between other Salesforce products and Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
Who’s Searching for Ecommerce Platforms?
Since the beginning of 2020, 45% of traffic to the eCommerce software category has come from enterprise size companies (1,000+ employees), while 55% of traffic has come from SMBs (less than 1,000 employees). The pie chart below shows an even more granular view of eCommerce traffic from different company size segments, based on True Intent signals.
Looking at traffic from enterprise-level corporations, companies with 10K – 50K employees peaked in February while traffic from companies with over 100K employees peaked much later in May. The SMB eCommerce traffic chart below paints a very different picture. Traffic from all SMB company size segments peaked in May. On TrustRadius, the eCommerce software category received the most SMB traffic from companies with between 10-50 employees during this time.
One potential explanation for these trends is the differential effects the pandemic has had on small vs. large businesses. Enterprises may be better able to absorb large market shocks (e.g. supply chain disruption, decreased demand, and restricted cash flow) brought on by the virus outbreak than smaller companies. Smaller businesses may have needed to wait to purchase new ecommerce technology until they made financial adjustments like applying for a small business loan or laying off some of their employees.
Ecommerce In the News
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, the overall impact on eCommerce software vendors and the market itself has increased. Here are some of the most important news stories as of today:
- From TechCrunch and eMarketer, there has been a big spike (18% increase) in online consumer spending, but not enough to offset total retail spending losses (10.5% decrease).
- The New York Times stated that total retail sales has increased 17.7% in May after a 14.7% decline in April of this year.
- According to eMarketer, Amazon holds the dominant share (38.7%) of total retail ecommerce sales within the U.S. as of June 2020.
- While Amazon is a giant in the eCommerce space right now, Shopify’s platform has seen rapid growth during the global pandemic—its share price has almost doubled, reports Bloomberg.
- Larger eCommerce platforms from vendors like Salesforce, Oracle, SAP, and Adobe have received attention in recent analyst reports. Salesforce and Adobe were both listed as Leaders in the Q2 2020 B2B Commerce Suites Forrester Wave.
- Forbes announced the launch of ‘Facebook Shops’ in late May. It allows online businesses to both advertise and sell their goods and services online, allowing shoppers to complete their customer journey without ever leaving the platform.
- Walmart recently partnered with Shopify to include thousands of small businesses in the Walmart Marketplace. According to E-Commerce Times, this integrative approach is already supported by companies like BigCommerce and provides a competitive alternative to Amazon.
- Salesforce has launched four new ‘quick start commerce solutions’ designed to help companies conduct business during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to TechCrunch. This is a fairly common strategy for businesses coping with the pandemic, based on recent research we conducted for a digital even series with analyst firm IDC. In a recent poll of the TrustRadius community, 32% of respondents said their business was responding to the pandemic by offering new software products or packages.
Ecommerce Software on TrustRadius vs. G2
As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the eCommerce market deepens, software buyers turn towards TrustRadius to provide them with high-quality customer feedback. Interest in eCommerce software has risen consistently since December 2019 on the TrustRadius platform, increasing sharply from March to April.
In contrast, traffic for eCommerce software on other review websites, like G2, has decreased during the later months of the pandemic.
This indicates that TrustRadius has become the preferred review platform for evaluating eCommerce software during this time. While G2 has an average word count of 130 per review, TrustRadius has an average word count of 353 per review in the eCommerce software category. Software buyers are also highly engaged on TrustRadius, spending an average of 5 minutes and 53 seconds per page within the eCommerce software category.
With retail and online spending increasing again, making a smart decision about purchasing a new eCommerce platform is crucial. Stakes are high for many online businesses, and they can’t afford to have eCommerce software that doesn’t work the way they need it to. User reviews are one of the best ways to make sure you’re making a good investment. Our detailed answers to key questions, such as use case, pros, cons, and ROI, make TrustRadius the most valuable resource for buyers seeking collaboration software reviews.
In addition to this research, TrustRadius also offers vendors the unique opportunity to see which buyers are considering your products or services right now. We’re currently offering 30 days of free True Intent data to all qualified vendors as one of many ways we’re helping the B2B tech industry work through the challenges of COVID-19. Learn more here.