1x2020 Digital Trends

Planet Drupal

Welcome to 2020! At 1xINTERNET we are really looking forward to an exciting year ahead. 

One of the benefits of working with a variety of amazing clients, from different industries is that we can see firsthand where companies are investing their time and energy when it comes to their digital strategy. In this blogpost we share what digital trends we see for the year 2020 and where our focus will be.

Contextual Experiences

Personalisation has been on companies minds for many years, yet there are very few companies out there doing it right. To make matters worse, customers are now interacting with brands through a multitude of channels, including website, email, chats/chatbots, social media and more. According to Dries Buytaert, founder of Drupal, “The real challenge for most organizations is to drive personalized customer experiences across all these different channels and to make those customer experiences highly relevant.”

Furthermore, customers do not want to be included in a segment with others anymore, they want to feel like they belong to a segment of 1, which means creating a contextual experience based on what customers want, the moment they are interacting with you, and not only based on behaviors from months ago.

We worked on many personalisation projects in 2019, and expect this trend to continue to grow in 2020. 

Content + Commerce

With the abundance of information available to consumers today, companies need to change their approach to digital commerce. Modern businesses must ensure they are creating valuable, high-quality content that supports and improves the customer journey. And with this, we are seeing an increase in the integration of “traditional” commerce platforms with digital experience platforms, making companies more agile and giving them more control over the user experience. On top of that, headless commerce platforms like commercetools and Elastic Path are also gaining popularity, and that trend continues to grow.

In 2019 we built a B2B solution with Drupal + React for Selgros that connects to their SAP Commerce Cloud (Hybris) backend. Selgros is one of the leading cash & carry chains in Europe, owned by Transgourmet Holding. For 2020 we are booked for building a fully headless solution to integrate with commercetools. For another client we are currently exploring the relaunch of their e-business solution based on DrupalCommerce with a Navision Dynamics backend. We expect this trend to become stronger in 2020.

Speed & Performance

While web technophiles are advancing rapidly (React, Node.js, Gatsby, etc), performance and load times are being valued more and more by user research. According to Google, “53% of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.” That’s why we at 1xINTERNET have built substantial engineering knowhow in these fields and will further optimise how we build fast backends and frontends to continue delivering blazing fast experiences.

We spent a lot of energy in 2019 optimising our websites for performance by reducing load times, asset sizes, preloading content, making content accessible offline (PWA) and building mega cacheable solutions for global content delivery (CDN). As results of our activities we published a module to integrate Stackpath CDN with Drupal. In 2020 we will invest more in this field.

Marketers and Content Editors Empowerment with Drupal

Marketers and content editors are challenged with creating and managing a constant stream of high-value content and building amazing digital experiences for customers. But most times they need to rely on developers, as the tools being used do not provide the flexibility required for them to do their jobs.

That is why having the right content management system in place is crucial, and we at 1xINTERNET believe Drupal to be that system. With Drupal, everyday content management tasks can be accomplished with a few clicks, allowing you to spend your valuable time creating content for your audiences instead of getting mired in necessary yet time-consuming content management tasks.

For the first time, Acquia with Drupal has been recognized as a leader in the Gartner MQ for Digital Experience Platforms. Drupal is one of two open source DXP platform in the Leaders quadrant and by that proves that Drupal is one of the strongest open source platform for ambitious digital experiences.

Headless, Decoupled, Microservices and Micro Frontends

Headless and decoupled architectures continued to gain popularity in 2019, driven by the number of channels that need to be supported and the increase in JavaScript frameworks being used to build more engaging digital experiences.

Lately, as an evolution of microservices architecture, we are also seeing a trend in micro frontends, which brings the microservices concept to the frontend. With micro frontends, instead of building a Single Page Application (SPA), you structure your application vertically, with functionalities being grouped together from the backend (microservices) all the way to the frontend.

Here at 1xINTERNET we have adopted React as the JavaScript framework to build more dynamic experiences. React is a modern JavaScript framework used to build fast, high-performing user interfaces. It was originally created by Facebook and it has been released under an open-source license. While React allows us to create experiences that customers love using component-based and flexible JavaScript that our frontend developers love to write, Drupal’s API-first approach gives marketers the editorial experience they need.

Most of the websites we have built in 2019 use React in the frontend in some way or other. Where needed we expose functionality as microservices with Drupal and consume and display them with micro frontends built with React. For us this has become a best practice and we will continue to build web-based solutions like this. We have recently published a seperate article about this topic: Headless applications with Drupal and React in 2020.

Design systems

Design systems are not new and have been used for a while by some of the most innovative companies like Airbnb and IBM. We see this trend now catching up and becoming mainstream, as more companies see the benefits of having design systems to guide the CX across all channels.

We at 1xINTERNET have delivered design systems with all applications we built in 2019, and will continue doing so in 2020. We wrote a blog post about design systems in 2019.




Consolidation + Efficiency

Companies are realizing that having multiple content management systems to manage different channels, or having multiple websites managed differently/separately does not make sense, and are looking to consolidate and reuse as much as possible. The reason for this is that they want to manage all their sites from a single location, deliver content faster across their channels, and to increase brand consistency. This is a trend we have seen in 2019 that we expect to continue to grow.

At 1xINTERNET, we are using the power of Drupal to deliver these types of solutions. 

In 2019 we have built several Drupal Distributions for clients, that they use to smoothly operate multiple websites. We expect to build more in 2020.

Web Analytics

The best way to make sure you are delivering the most relevant content to your customers and that your website is achieving its business objectives is by measuring the outcomes. Web analytics not only allows you to validate your strategy, but also provides you with data to optimize your content based on your customer’s interests.

Analytics also allows you to quantify the effects of making a change to your digital strategy, which is invaluable to the process of improving and optimizing your online marketing campaigns.

Our Online Marketing team works closely with our customers to make sure they are well informed when making decisions, as well as assisting with the interpretation of all the data collected. We expect strong growth in this area in 2020.

Customer Data

With the explosion in access to data, the real struggle comes to making sense of it all. That’s where we see a strong need for solutions, that help marketers understand their customers better to deliver more engaging experiences. Customer data platform (CDP) solutions like AgilOne, which was recently acquired by Acquia, are being introduced as a way to restore the personal relationships companies once had with customers before channel-specific marketing silos got in the way.

The only caveat comes from the privacy concerns associated with this. Forrester predicts that privacy class-action lawsuits will increase by 300%. And Acquia’s 2019 Consumer Privacy Survey found that “65% of today’s consumers would stop using a brand that was dishonest about how it was using their data.”

We at 1xINTERNET spend a lot of our time making sure the solutions we deliver adhere to the latest regulations including GDPR. We also rely on Drupal, the most secure open source CMS in the market. We expect growing demand in this field for 1xINTERNET in 2020.

AI and Machine Learning

There has been an explosion of use cases for AI and Machine Learning in all industries, including chatbots, pricing adjustments and predictions, voice and visual searches, product categorization, and personalisation.

For us at 1xINTERNET, we have spent time in 2019 experimenting with feedback learning and contextual recommendations as well as other deep learning techniques to further increase search quality. When you have a lot of content, making it available through search is crucial. We want to put emphasis on this area in 2020 as the possibilities for innovative solutions for our clients are endless.

Final thoughts

There are many other topics that are and will continue to be extremely important to us. We are not including them as Digital Trends because they are table stakes for us. They include:

  • Accessibility
  • Security
  • Privacy
  • DevOps

This was the first time we have published our thoughts on digital trends for the upcoming year. We hope you enjoyed reading this blog post. Drop us a note if you want to discuss your plans and see how we can help you in your digital transformation journey.