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Live from eTail – Sharing Pearls of E-Commerce Wisdom

If you came to eTail in Palm Springs to learn about e-commerce, hopefully you didn’t expect to spend any time relaxing by the pool.

This show fires up before 8am, and nearly every minute from then until happy hour is packed with informative and insightful content.

More than once, I’ve heard the audience audibly gasp as pearls of wisdom were shared by speakers projecting trends – highlighting how retailers can position for future growth.

While it’s impossible to recap everything, here are my top five “aha” moments from the show so far:

1. You thought mobile was big? Mobile is ENORMOUS. Mobile is driving the growth of your online business, whether you know it or not. This isn’t breaking news, but the numbers might surprise you:

  • 32% of site visitors come from a mobile device
  • 15% of ecommerce done on smartphones or tablets
  • 70% of all commerce has been influenced by smartphones or computers
  • 24% of black Friday traffic was on mobile
  • HOWEVER, only 1% of ad spend is on mobile (Psst: This is a huge opportunity!)

2. Video is more important than you realize. In part, this is fueled by mobile’s rising importance. People watch videos on smartphones and tablets more than anywhere else, and the numbers are staggering. By consequence, this is driving marketing spend away from TV.

  • Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month
  • Over 4 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube

3. Amazon: learn to live with it. Amazon is continuing to break ground as a leader in customer experience and, by 2016, will have 26% of the global ecommerce market. This leaves less room for everyone else, but there are ways to compete:

  • Follow Amazon’s lead in putting the customer first
  • Get smarter about your customer data – online, offline, historical, in-session. Use what you have to deliver relevant experiences.
  • Provide relevant display advertising, deliver smarter email campaigns. Let your data guide you.
  • Do you have a legacy CRM system? Use it. Link this data with what those same customers are doing online.

 4. Use your data, Luke. What can set you apart from Amazon will also put you ahead of other competitors: insights about your customers.

Chances are, you already have a lot of the data you need to know about your customers, but it’s in different places. Legacy CRM systems, multichannel data, loyalty systems, data warehouses – it’s all there, but making sense of it to improve customer experience is another story.

Webtrends has been talking about multi-channel attribution for some time, and it’s more true than ever. And the rubber has finally started hitting the road for retailers who have brought this data together.

5. B2C is just the beginning. Retailers know how to sell to consumers. You’ve been doing it for years, and your efforts are now based around perfecting what works and expanding the channels.

But what has long been good for consumers is being applied across markets. Why? Because no matter how you slice the market, everyone, when you get down to it, is a consumer.

  • B2B sales have increasing focus around the consumer – the person purchasing for a business. Online sales models will evolve to treat the business buyer more and more like the consumer s/he is.
  • Peer-to-peer sales have enormous opportunity. From consignment clothing to used toys, this market is growing outside the realm of eBay and will be a force to be reckoned with.
  • The same goes for local markets (plumbers, accupuncturists, etc.). Today, local websites are notorious for not meeting customer needs. As a whole, local businesses represent a trillion dollar market – and when this opportunity is tapped, the competitive landscape will become increasingly complex.

Online retail’s evolution is happening at breakneck speed. And from the show floor, the growth is almost palpable.

“Today we are faced with a reimagination of nearly everything” was the takeaway from Brian Walker, a former Forrester analyst. Indeed, ecommerce represents the world of the possible. And it’s great to be here in the heart of it.

For more tips about adapting to your dynamic customer base, here’s an informative webinar from two Altimeter analysts.

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