Highlights from Catalyst Europe 2018

8 June, 2018

And that’s a wrap! We can’t believe we’re saying goodbye to another Catalyst Europe – and what a day it was. But before we go, we just have time to celebrate some of the highlights and key takeaways from the conference. We’d like to say a very special thank you to all of our attendees, speakers, sponsors and the team that helped to make this event happen!

From David Spitz’s insightful words to Rio Ferdinand’s inspiring ones, this was a day of celebration (wait till you see the party pictures!), here are some of our personal highlights from Catalyst Europe 2018!

Don’t forget to check out the amazing highlights from our Catalyst video

Enthralling Keynotes

David Spitz, ChannelAdvisor, CEO

David kicked off the day with his highly-anticipated keynote, and it didn’t disappoint! We love to open the show with David giving an assessment and overview of the latest and greatest e-commerce updates. This year there were too many topics for us to choose from, so in true quiz show style, we let the audience live vote for the topics they wanted to hear about.

From a choice of Amazon, China, Fulfilment, Data, Blockchain, Voice Commerce and Brands, the audience took to their phones to vote for their favourites. And the results were in: voting Amazon, Brands, Data and Voice Commerce the hot topics.

Amazon: Amazon was first up (no surprise there, it’s everyone’s favourite topic!). David delved into Amazon’s presence in the UK, it’s currently the fifth biggest retailer (behind Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda and Morrisons).Looking at how Amazon continues to disrupt numerous industries, sales, digital marketing and fulfilment channels, David advised attendees to be ready for heightened competition within Amazon advertising in particular: We know from our 2017 study that already, retailers and brands that leverage Amazon Marketing Services are growing 63% faster than those that don’t.

Brands:  Next up under the spotlight was brands. David looked at how the path to the consumer is very different online vs offline, and how brands would be foolish to think that their category (whatever it is) is safe from digital disruption. The big question is – as a brand, what can you do? The key is to take control of your digital future and manage your online channels. That means get the foundations of e-commerce right – like great product content, so making sure you have the right titles, descriptions, keywords and more, helping you to be in the moments that matter during the browsing phase.

Additionally, do you have an Amazon strategy? Are you working with Vendor Central now in a first party relationship? If not, have you considered selling as a third party to establish your brand? If Amazon allows it, you may be able to do both to increase your product catalogue  available on Amazon. David encouraged brands to look at eBay. who is is making a big push to focus on brands, enabling them to list products on one location on a custom page. They’ve also introduced a Verified Rights Owner Program, helping brands protect their IP rights. Finally, David also said that brands need to take advantage of advertising on retail sites, especially Amazon Marketing Services.

Voice Commerce: A truly fascinating topic. David said that there is significant investment in technology and resource to bring us closer to the most fundamental form of human communication: speech. The latest figures say that 44% of smartphone users have ordered groceries or household items through their virtual assistant. That’s huge! Are retailers ready for what this will mean for purchasing behaviour? There’s a lot of fear and excitement about what voice commerce might mean: is it just an extension of our phones and computers or does it represent an entirely new way to buy? What’s certain is that retailer’s can’t afford to wait this one out. Though still in its infancy, voice-assisted shopping is proving to be “the Buy Box on steroids.” So far, 85% of consumers purchase Amazon’s first product suggestion when using voice-activated shopping assistants. So if you don’t already own a smart speaker to see what your customers are experiencing, David advised attendees, now’s the time.

Will Butler-Adams, CEO of Brompton Bikes

You know it’s going to be a great session when the speaker rides onto the stage on a bike! After that entrance, Will had a lot to live up to, but he delivered an enthralling and refreshingly honest keynote. Will looked at the history of the Brompton Bike, from the inception of the idea to the manufacturing process. Will talked about the obsessive need to be customer-focused, and build a product and concept that encourages a long-term relationship.

Rob Hattrell, VP of eBay UK

Rob reinforced the message that brands need to be in charge of their digital destiny. Through a different brand proposition, price point or message, retailers can still manage to stand out on a competitive platform like eBay. What’s important is personalisation and customisation. We have the power through AI to deliver this at scale and change what’s possible in the realm of personalisation.

Francois Saugier, VP of Marketplace, Amazon Europe

From Amazon innovations for customers like Amazon Prime, Amazon Dash and Echo, to inventions for sellers like Fulfilment by Amazon, Amazon Global Selling and Amazon Web Services there was lots to cover. Francois talked through how FBA has been a turning point for many businesses’ and the opportunity that Pan-European FBA has brought. Francois’ message was all about how there are 300 million active customers buying in 180 countries, so there is an enormous opportunity for brands and retailers to expand their audience into new regions.

Link Walls, VP of Digital Marketing Strategy, ChannelAdvisor

Link Walls took to the stage to cover personalisation and the latest Digital Marketing trends. Focusing on mobile, product advertising, social and Amazon – and the opportunities to connect with consumers on each. He then delved into personalisation. Link shared that consumers bought 40% more from retailers who personalise the shopping experience across channels. He closed out that personalisation is a win win – it’s better for ROI and better for consumers, we encouraged the audience to get familiar with their CRM and get a good in-depth view of performance data to make a go of this and reap the rewards.

Panel: James Storie-Pugh from ePrice, Kim Niedner from Otto and Alexandre Fouree from Cdiscount took to the stage with ChannelAdvisor’s Hakan Thyr

The focus of this session was all about how to sell successfully across Europe on marketplaces. Each marketplaces delved into their unique offerings, shared regional stats from their area, and talked about the opportunity of selling into France, Germany and Italy.

Tim Woolias, Senior Industry Head, Google

Tim delivered such a great presentation at Catalyst 2017 we couldn’t wait to invite him back! And this time the sequel was even better! Tim talked about omnichannel, and how there’s been a 176% growth in searches for omnichannel in 4 years. Tim talked about the instant nature of consumers. There’s been a 185% increase in same-day shipping searches, 2x increase in last minute searches and 145% increase in ‘open now’ searches.

Rio Ferdinand, no title needed!

Before lunchtime there was a buzz in the air – Rio Ferdinand was due on stage and we had some big fans in the audience! Rio talked about his career, what drives him and what lessons he has learned along the way. He then jumped into talking about his experience as an apparel retailer. With his company Five Supply, Rio talked about the importance of knowing your customer and talked about his aspirations for the brand. He finished off by throwing some footballs into the crowd to the theme tune of Match of the Day, and hung around to meet and greet a queue of fans during lunch! A top guy!

Nathalie Nahai – Author, Speaker and Web Psychologist

Nathalie Nahai closed out the event with an insightful and educational look at the seven psychological principles of successful e-commerce. Jam-packed full of theory and practical case studies, Nathalie shared some tips to help the audience improve their e-commerce campaigns. From endowed progress, offering consumers artificial advancement towards a goal to encourage them to persist in its completion; to balancing a cognitive load so that the amount of perceived effort is not too much to prevent progression.

Nathalie showcased great psychological knowledge, but broke each of the principles into manageable content, with practical takeaways to implement. What a way to end the show!

Great Conversations


It was brilliant to see so many guests joining workshops from our partners Payoneer, eBay, Catch, Otto, Route Genie and more. This offered attendees a chance to focus on topics important to them and get hands-on advice from industry experts.

We also thoroughly enjoyed all the networking time and of course the post-event drinks! Great to see so many familiar faces and meet new ones, all coming together to celebrate European e-commerce!

We’d like to end once again with a big thank you! We’re incredibly proud to be able to host Catalyst Europe, we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did and see you next year!

If you would like to look through more pictures from the day, and play “I spy” head over to our Facebook Gallery.

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Until next year, we say farewell!

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