Shoptalk 2018 has just ended. They position themselves as the World’s Largest Conference for Retail & Ecommerce, and truth be told, that is no exaggeration.
You all know what is hot in the industry right now: AI, machine learning, conversation commerce and so on. But… I’m not going to dive into that since you can read about these literally everywhere. Though these hype terms come and go, you shouldn’t ignore them. Instead, keep them in mind and watch them. For instance, voice-activated ecommerce is most probably going to be a revolution similar to mobile but happening quicker. However, as Peter Cahil from Voysis put it:
Currently, this way, you buy products you don’t even care about, e.g., toilet papers and detergents.
But as stated, you will read about these everywhere else.
What I would like to share with you are my “5 Aha!” Moments that I had during these 4 busy days.
I happened to attend 2 sessions which covered either the Chinese market or a company from this country, and I was literally blown away by the numbers.
China is huge, and these numbers say it all:
The pace of China is so fast that Hans Tung’s presentation was not up to date the moment he finished it.
MANGO is a European fashion brand that operates in more than 105 countries and sells online in more than 80 of them. Roger Graells, Global Online Sales Director at MANGO, shared his insights on the challenges and opportunities that brands face when expanding into new markets.
What he stressed much is that when you expand into a new market, you need to focus on local adaptation, which includes:
Expanding to new local markets is not easy but is manageable. Before entering any particular market, remember to research competition thoroughly as local players can be incredibly strong (e.g., eBay couldn’t stand its ground in Poland against Allegro – the local behemoth).
The online world is growing at an extremely fast rate – no doubt about that. However, when I listened to Adam Goldenberg, Co-CEO at TechStyle Fashion Group, as he went into the details of their brands’ successes, I got the impression that most of the online teams are not fast enough in their approach to testing and iterating everything they do.
Now, guess how many website iterations for improving user experience they have managed to test in a year?
I don’t think that your guess was anything near 2,000+ – the number that Adam mentioned. Well if you do not have a continuous process of website evolution, then that is a goal you should consider setting.
TechStyle’s teams approach traffic acquisition in a similar, agile way. They design and test a whopping 35,000 ad creatives every year and verify 150 TV commercials. In just 16 days from the start of their new year’s advertising campaign, they were able to come up with a creative and a landing page that were 2 times more effective than those that were served on the first day.
One of the most popular ways to promote online stores and brands is by engaging influencers in social media. However, the real power lies in empowering your customers/clients to do that job on a way bigger scale. Remember that just as Emily Weiss (btw. Emily is on our list of the best ecommerce influencers), Glossier’s Founder & CEO said:
People are looking for other people’s experiences when they are in the exploration phase
Therefore, the best way is to encourage your customers to share their experience with your brand on your social media platforms.
For example, Poshmark has designed their platform in a way that every seller spends half of their time promoting other sellers. They have created a community where you have to help other sellers if you want to gain followers and succeed at Poshmark. With this approach, they have become one of the largest generators of pins on Pinterest.
MATCHESFASHION.COM is another extraordinary example from the fashion industry that leverages user-generated content to sell their products. As Urlic Jerome, CEO of MATCHESFASHION.COM, stated – 50% of their website is content, and this content drives 35% of their revenue. For example, you can shop directly from posts of users.
Taking a look at the data describing the 10 biggest companies in the world by market capitalization, you will notice that 70% of them are from the online/tech sector.
If you think about the launches of retail brands in the recent years, you will realize that most of them began in the online world. Think of Chewy, JustFab or Fablitics; all these companies indentified an underserved customer segment that could benefit from better product/service offering.
The online sector is a better starting point because of two main reasons:
Having attained a strong online presence, some of these brands then go into the offline world to create their first stores. What is really interesting is how they usually perceive their physical locations. Usually, they don’t treat them as a way of customer acquisition since this can be achieved at a lower cost online, but as a way of loyalization to bring a higher LTV.
For example, Fabletics opens its stores in the areas with the highest density of their clients. Apparently, they have noticed that customers in the regions with physical store locations spend 2.8 times more than customers in areas without such stores.
I really had a great time at Shoptalk 2018. There was a lot of great, interesting content, which was very impressive. The event gives you a chance to meet great people and chat with retailers, innovative tech companies, best thinkers and influencers. Kudos to the organization’s team for making it all happen.
I will definitely go to Las Vegas for next year’s Shoptalk. However, I wish they could cover just three additional things:
And you should definitely check out our wrap-up video from Shoptalk 2018! If you weren’t there watch it to be sure that it is worth visiting Shoptalk 2019! And if you were, you can remind yourself the best moments from Las Vegas and see our teammate Adrian how to beatbox 😉
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