With speakers from Google, Trade Me, eBay Commerce Network and Shopbot, last week’s Insite Auckland conference saw industry experts and leading retailers discuss emergent trends, the state of local and global e-commerce and actionable strategies for business growth.
The packed-house event gave attendees the chance to step back from a day-to-day mindset and take a holistic view of the e-commerce landscape. The environment was one of open discussion and engagement, with a wealth of ideas exchanged among the business-savvy crowd. Popular sessions included a forward-looking perspective on the evolving marketing landscape from Amanda Jordan, national sales manager, retail and government, at Google; and a deep-dive into buyer demographics from Trade Me’s head of supply, Georgina McGowan.
Didn’t make it to the event? Here are the top five takeaways you’ll want to know:
1. M-Commerce Is Growing: Reaching upwards of 60%,1 New Zealand’s smartphone penetration is one of the highest in the world. And with more than 40% of Kiwi smartphone owners having purchased a product or service via their devices,2 retailers need to develop mobile-specific strategies to ensure a consistent yet tailored brand experience across all devices. As more and more consumers reach for their smartphones, these ultimate shopping companions will increasingly affect conversion rates, both online and in-store.
2. Customise and Optimise the Search Process: Mark Brixton, APAC regional director at SLI Systems, views searchers as ‘must-win customers’. Consumers who visit your site and interact with the search box are further along the path to purchase. But you can easily lose them if you’re not optimising your search to align with the variations in visitors’ language.
Retailers often use jargon, or associate a product with only one term, and forget the other types of search queries consumers may use. For example, a visitor searching for ‘sandals’ may type ‘flip flops’, and if your site fails to include both terms when returning relevant products, you’ve instantly lost a potential customer.
3. Data Can’t Be Overemphasised
Inbound: Don’t underestimate the value of collecting customer data, but the key is to put it to good use. Measuring on-site search patterns will not only help visitors navigate, but will also allow you to keep pace with trends and ideas for keyword bids on external search engines.
Outbound: Quality product data will be the foundation of your success. Simon Kelly, ChannelAdvisor sales executive, spoke on how mastering key metrics will ensure that you’re hitting the mark on data and enabling business growth. In short, your product data should be:
- Readily available
- Structured in a way that’s flexible and sustainable
- Showcasing your product catalogueue in the best possible light
- Populated with quality information, copy and images
- Thorough — the more accurate and complete, the better the results will be.
4. Marketplaces Are Eating the World: Marketplaces now make up a sizeable, growing share of all e-commerce transactions. Third-party marketplaces account for approximately a third of online sales in the US and UK,3 and an overwhelming 90% of e-commerce trade in China.4
New Zealand is set for a similar trajectory: Marketplaces account for three of the top ten most visited shopping websites in the country,5 with Trade Me dominating the space. If you’re selling in New Zealand, marketplaces should be part of your growth strategy, both domestically and when looking to take on cross-border trade.
5. Prepare for the Future of Multichannel: In her session, Google’s Amanda Jordan emphasised the dynamic nature of digital marketing and the impact of upcoming innovations on the retail industry. Wearable tech, the rise of video-based marketing and the ubiquity of showrooming are all important pieces of an ever-expanding e-commerce puzzle — one that will require retailers to adapt to the shift from standard advertising and find new ways to use social, mobile, search and remarketing.
The common thread running throughout the takeaways above? Assess your data and performance accurately and often, and then take relevant action to improve your e-commerce business.
3Public reports from eBay, Amazon, Google, Shopping.com and ChannelAdvisor estimates based on our transactional data.