With attendees from Google, eBay, Kathmandu, Jeanswest and Shopbot, last week’s Insite Melbourne 2014 conference drew in industry leaders and retailers to discuss the state of Australian e-commerce now — plus trends for the year ahead.
According to the NAB Online Retail Sales Index, Australians spent $14.9 billion on online shopping last year, up 11.3% from the year before.1 In light of this continued rise, it’s essential to find new ways to stay competitive in a cross-border trading, multichannel, multi-screen climate. To help retailers keep up and stay ahead, experts from ChannelAdvisor, Columbus, eBay and Google outlined practices and strategies on curated commerce, delivery and infrastructure, connected devices and cross-border trade.
The Insite environment was one of open discussion, with a wealth of ideas exchanged among retailers and industry experts. Popular sessions included an engaging conversation with Box13
Business Development and Merchandising Director Simon Bruce, and a perception-transforming presentation from eBay Australia’s Senior Director, B2C Marketplaces, Hamish Moline, which offered a window into utilising marketplaces and entering the global retail sphere.
Retailers also benefited from hearing ChannelAdvisor Vice President of Global Services Thad Tremaine speak about the services offered at ChannelAdvisor, giving new and existing customers alike a greater understanding of the breadth of options.
Did you miss Insite this year? We’ve gathered some of the key trends and lessons from the conference here:
- Curated commerce: Knowing your customers — and tailoring products and services to them — is a good way to increase conversion rates and brand loyalty. What’s more, providing unique offerings and experiences will allow you to carve out your own space in the growing market.
- Optimisation techniques: Every minute, 204 million emails are sent, 47,000 applications are downloaded, and more than 2 million search queries are made on Google.2 Given this information haze, it’s more important than ever to find and target the right customer. Through effective creative and remarketing technology — such as Google’s Dynamic Remarketing segmentation and real-time optimal bidding determination — retailers can magnify initial marketing investments by tailoring ads to past site visitors and thereby increase conversions.
- Delivery and infrastructure: According to Forrester Research, 73% of Australians want same-day or next-day shipping. Without paying exorbitant rates, such speedy delivery isn’t available on international purchases; Australian retailers can therefore capitalise on the demand by providing a service not otherwise available to Australian consumers. New Zealand’s proximity to Australia also makes it a prime market for Australian retailers. The shipping costs are low, and without physical access to stores in Australia, New Zealand residents are eager to shop. During the conference, Simon Bruce of Box13 reported that exports to New Zealand through the Trade Me marketplace now make up at least a third of Box13’s business. And retailers can look forward to new delivery opportunities from eBay, which will increase next-day services and launch click and collect later this year, as well as scheduled same-day delivery and eBay NOW in 2015.
- Multi-screen trade and the importance of mobile: Because consumers are now shopping anytime, anywhere and from multiple devices, it’s important for retailers to streamline the path to purchasing. We learned from the eBay presentation at the conference, Australians are way ahead in mobile usage, with 47% of site traffic originating from mobile devices. But many retailers remain woefully behind the trend. And with 30% of shoppers who say they will abandon a site if it’s not optimised for mobile,3 retailers should consider listing on marketplaces that are already mobile-friendly.
- Cross-border trade: In 2012, cross-border e-commerce sales reached $300 billion, and global online trade is expected to soar to $1.4 trillion by 2015.4 Additionally, macroeconomic recovery from the EU and US and a slowdown in Asian manufacturing will see both markets escalate their cross-border trade initiatives. Moreover, with the sliding Australian dollar, local retailers should look to take advantage of this global opportunity and target international markets. Selling on eBay and Trade Me, for example, can be a gateway to offshore markets while managing risk for retailers.
- Social: revenue versus awareness: As Simon Bruce discussed in his session, while utilising social media might not necessarily directly drive conversions or site traffic, it will serve as a worthwhile tool for building brand recognition.
- SEO: Graham Wilkinson, client performance director at Columbus, shared valuable advice on the necessity of implementing Google Product Listing Ads in addition to standard search marketing through AdWords. This idea was reinforced by Google’s Customer Solutions and Innovations Performance Expert Pablo Arana in a much-anticipated session, where he spoke of the decline in the effectiveness of SEO natural search for driving results.
These seven takeaways provide just a taste of the information shared at Insite Melbourne 2014. For even more know-how, don’t miss out on other valuable e-commerce events this year.
And make sure to check out our photographs from Insite Melbourne 2014!