Best of Catalyst Europe 2017: Key Lessons We Learned at #CatalystEU

May 18, 2017

ChannelAdvisor Jennifer Hakim By Jennifer Hakim

And that’s a wrap! We can’t believe how fast Catalyst Europe 2017 went. We’ve had yet another exciting and illuminating time this year, thanks to our amazing speakers, panelists, sponsors and guests. All our keynote sessions were packed with the latest e-commerce updates and expert advice from the likes of Mary Portas, Julie Deane, Google, and more. We were oversold – so if you couldn’t make it, here’s a quick round-up of things to take away from the presentations.

Our CEO David Spitz Gave Another Great Opening Keynote For Catalyst

David Spitz at Catalyst Europe 2017

ChannelAdvisor CEO David Spitz kicked things off with a look at the rapidly-changing e-commerce landscape. David shared some interesting views and stats with the audience:

Did you know global e-commerce is set to grow to $4 trillion by 2020? China is, of course, leading the field and expected to be the first nation to top $1 trillion in retail sales, while India is predicted to grow 30% over the next few years. David pointed to five main areas of importance for e-commerce:

  • E-commerce is unlikely to slow
  • Mobile will continue to disrupt
  • Amazon will grow further (already accounting for 27% of e-commerce in the UK)
  • Brands need to evolve
  • One-day delivery remains the norm for logistics

Julie Deane Shared The Incredible Story Of The Cambridge Satchel Company

Next up was Julie Deane, the founder, and CEO of The Cambridge Satchel Company. Julie built the business with just £600 – and it’s now the leading provider of handbags in the UK! But how did she do it? Julie revealed to Catalyst guests that she didn’t have a plan, but she was persistent (if not relentless), dared to be different, used all the available – and cheap – resources available, having devised the company logo from Microsoft Office Clip Art! And learned from mistakes. What better business lesson than that? Julie Deane also urged all entrepreneurs to set up watertight agreements with suppliers. And use free publicity – Julie has never paid anyone to carry her satchels around. Her story is a true inspiration to us all.

Mary Portas Got Cozy With ChannelAdvisor’s Adam Joseph

Retail expert and TV celebrity Mary Portas sat down for a cozy fireside chat with Adam Joseph. As you can expect, she had some pretty strong views on all things retail. Key takeaways were for retailers to start to draw consumers back into brick and mortar stores by making them ‘playgrounds’. Selfridges should be a role model to all: They have made their brand a creative force, with guest speakers, a bar, and a quiet room. Retail is about space, senses and service. Her views on the high street? They need to become social hubs. What future trends should we look out for? Not wearable tech, according to Mary.

Our Marketplaces Panel Gave Retailers Food For Thought

With our top execs from Newegg, Fruugo, SKU Cloud, Wish, Tophatter and eBay, we couldn’t expect less than an insightful conversation on the stage of Catalyst Europe. Moderated by Hakan Thyr, ChannelAdvisor’s very own director of strategic partnerships, the marketplaces madness panel discussed mobile-based online shopping, competition, and matching products with customers. As James Storie-Pugh of Newegg puts it, consumers nowrealizee they can shop in one destination for a wide range of products, price compare and have trust in marketplace brands. The cherry on top is, of course, the good delivery options. We extend a huge thank you to our panel who also cleared the air on one big question: Are emerging marketplaces a threat? According to our experts, they’re both a threat and an opportunity.

Google Told Us What’s Next For Google Shopping

Tim Woollias, senior industry head at Google, kicked off the Google keynote by pointing out that Google is now a truly mobile-first company. Indeed Tim indicated that 82% of all online retail in the UK would be on a smartphone by 2020: Retailers need to up their game when it comes to ‘Showing Up’ – capturing all the moments when you can potentially interact with consumers. According to Tim, they also need to ‘Wise Up’ – use data wisely. Look at store visits, for example, IKEA found that 10% of ad clicks also led to a store visit. OK, Google… Another lesson? “Speed Up,” says Tim Woollias: Use technologies like Progressive Web Apps and Accelerated Mobile Pages to speed up user experience. Michael Wicks, Google shopping lead UK, insisted on the importance of aligning marketing to wider business objectives. Retailers should add commercial data to their product feed and use this to bid more intelligently.

Natalie Berg Opened Eyes On How Much The Retail Landscape Has Changed

Natalie Berg, retail insights director at Planet Retail, talked us through the changing retail landscape and the new shopper journey. According to Natalie, shoppers want convenience and a frictionless experience, so retailers should think of new ways to make their lives easier. Think voice technology and chatbots. Auto-replenishment is the holy grail – predicting demand for the individual home. Check out the latest trends, web-rooming, showrooming when it comes to physical stores: improving the instore experience is on the top of the agenda for many European firms.

We Heard It From World First’s CEO: It’s About Time For Frictionless Finance

Jonathan Quin, CEO, and co-founder of World First talked frictionless finance in his afternoon session at Catalyst Europe 2017. We learned many lessons from our diamond sponsor World First, including that compound is a friend for businesses, and that finance is changing to make a simpler industry for international trade. Indeed World First saw the need to create a platform to enable international trade because international payments are much harder than they should be. But how do we achieve efficiency? Via systems and processes, says Jonathan Quin. And integrations, marketplaces, shipping, e-commerce shop software and acquirers. When it comes to integration  and automation, efficiency is key. Stay tuned for a deeper dive into World First’s keynote in the next few weeks!

Mark Andeer Closed The Show Confirming Retailers Needed Great Media Acts

Marketing guru and CMO of the Escape Pod Mark Andeer closed Catalyst Europe 2017 with an amazing keynote on brand propositions, and how to bring them to life in the most dramatic way possible. The key to attracting consumers? Emotions, says Mark. Indeed, facts lead to conclusions, but emotions lead to actions. According to Mark, you should bring your brand to life in the most dramatic way possible, as the payoff is much greater when companies connect with people emotionally. Know your audience and connect with them deeply: Emotionally connected customers tend to spend more, a big lesson to draw from at Catalyst Europe 2017. As Mark explained to (connected) Catalyst guests, emotionally connected customers are 52% more valuable: They buy more, care less about price, pay attention, follow advice and spread the word. What else?

We hope you enjoyed this brief roundup – there’s so much more to say about Catalyst Europe 2017. We’ll be posting a lot more in our blogs in the coming weeks, but hope this has given you a taste of what to expect at Catalyst 2018. The event could not have been the same without the help of our incredible sponsors World First, Tophatter, eBay for Business, Frooition, Meridian, SKU Cloud, Payoneer, Wish, Fruugo, Connexity, Newegg, GFS, Royal Mail and Route Genie, and all of our speakers. We would also like to thank our media partners Tamebay and Internet Retailing for all the help. Watch this space and our social networks for more on #CatalystEU!