Learnings from the Internet Retailing Conference 2017

Written by Beth Motherwell on 06 October 2017

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The Internet Retailing and eDelivery conference is a must for retailers and ecommerce solution providers looking to stay ahead of the curve. We were lucky enough to join the innovative audience at this year’s conference and enjoyed some great talks, insight and learnings on the future of ecommerce and delivery. We’ve collated some of our top takeaways and highlights in this blog.

Learnings from Google: What's next for the future of retail?

Alastair Stirling, Head of Retail at Google shared what's set to be on the horizon for the retail industry:

  • The pace of technological adoption is only getting faster and faster: we had a lovely ten years to get used to mobile and adjust to the impact on our lives. We will not have that luxury in the future, thus, retailers need to change and start to anticipate changes and respond quickly to rapidly accelerated technological advances.
  • Everyone is connected and people are always online. Businesses like Uber and Deliveroo have seen this and capitalized on the power of our smartphones. The future of retail will most likely be completely brought to us by mobile.
  • Retailers have greater access to data than ever before (every two days, mankind produces more data than the world ever did before up to 2003). This availability means retailers are now able to spot patterns to segment customers and make better decisions and engage with their customers on a more personal level.
  • Machine Learning is set to become key and it has already become a crucial part of the Google strategy.
  • Some retailers are already starting to use Machine Learning in their stores. For example, Ocado are now using Machine Learning to understand their emails and are now able to prioritize which emails are urgent. As a result, they now respond 4x faster than before.
  • Consumers want a frictionless experience from using email; they expect retailers and the technology they offer to mould into the world around them just like Uber and Deliveroo have.
  • Retailers need to understand the change between consumers just ‘getting online’ to them ‘living online’. An example of how Google has done this is Google Assistant, which uses voice recognition technology. Google predicts retailers will find a way to capitalize on this technology sooner rather than later, such as using voice-led orders on ecommerce websites.

Insights from Asda: Future-proofing your supply chain

With over over 20 million customers and 650 stores, Asda is undoubtedly one of the biggest retailers in the UK market; and with the growth of their click and collect and delivery service are a great source of inspiration for other retailers.

Karen Gibson, Head of Client Relationships shared some insights from Asda and advice for future-proofing your supply chain. Here are our top takeaways:

  • Customer buying trends change throughout the week. On a Monday, most customers are looking for a ‘quick fix’ and ease when shopping and collecting online orders, whereas later in the week, shopping habits become more relaxed and customers are happy to spend more time browsing.
  • Customers aren’t as set on next day delivery as you’d think: most customers come in store to collect their parcels between 2-5 days. Customers like the idea of having a parcel waiting for them and they like being able to fit collecting it into their daily routine.
  • Over 67% of Asda orders are click and collect and over 25% of those orders are through third party retailers. Customers trust the Asda brand, therefore, they automatically assume trust for third party brands who use Asda’s click and collect delivery service.
  • Always start with the customer and work back to build the process. Asda surveyed their customers and gained insight into what they are looking for from a click and collect service, and found:
    • Customers want to have control over the process
    • Customers think about how they can return an item before they’ve made a purchase
    • A bad returns process is enough to put a customer off shopping with you again
    • Clear tracking information across all stages of the supply chain is very important
    • Customers want to be waiting for less than five minutes when they are collecting a parcel in store

Asda are currently paving the way for some really innovative and exciting delivery and click and collect processes. Here’s what you should be keeping an eye out for:

  • Instant refunds
  • Instant re-order
  • Instant collection, using in-store stock

Top 500 Panel Debate: Emotion in ecommerce

How can retailers create more emotionally engaging online shopping experiences that will improve customer retention and revenue? This was the question posed in the Top 500 panel and debated amongst some of the leading players in the UK ecommerce industry. Simon Bell, Managing Director at Diligent Commerce; Sean McKee, Director of Ecommerce at Schuh and Philip Driver, Head of Ecommerce at Canon shared some great insight and advice for using emotion to increase conversions:

  • Using emotion isn’t a short-term fix to win sales, it’s a long term game. It sets you apart as a trusted brand with your consumers..
  • Customers want to know what they are buying into, especially with higher value products. It’s more about buying into a brand and a brand message than actually buying a product.
  • Amazon aren’t playing on human emotion - so it’s all the more reason for mid-size retailers trying to compete to use emotion to their advantage. Give your customers a distinct and unique reason to come to your site, and think about what you can offer them which Amazon can’t.
  • A lot of ecommerce stores just look for quick sales wins and one off purchases. Using emotive language and images and making shopping online an experience for your customer increases brand loyalty and keeps happy customers coming back.
  • The power of the ‘About Us’ page is huge. Creating a story for your brand and getting people to buy into why you exist will ultimately increase conversions and customer loyalty. People want to shop with someone they can trust.
  • Don’t shy away from using negative emotion! Deploying emotion in a controlled way, which is rooted in truth is a tactic most retailers shy away from. It’s common on hotel booking websites though: ‘3 people are currently looking at this room’ or ‘Only 1 room available at this price’. Creating soft anxiety and a fear of missing out could be the key to unlocking more sales.

Survey findings from Yotpo: The importance of social commerce

Yotpo recently conducted a survey with 2000 British shoppers to gauge how important social media is when shopping for products online. The results were really interesting - we’ve pulled out some top stats below:

  • 1 in 10 people won’t shop online without researching a product on social media first.
  • Facebook is the most influential platform for researching products across all age ranges.
  • ⅓ of young people research on Instagram making it the second most popular platform for ages 18-35 and the least popular for ages 45+.
  • The type of product people are looking to buy affects what they research. 66% are likely to use social research when looking to buy new technology, 46% when buying a new health or beauty product and just 27% for new sporting goods.
  • Friends have more social sway than celebrities. Social endorsements from celebrities are becoming more and more popular on platforms like Instagram, but the Yotpo survey reports that consumers are more likely to buy a product endorsed by someone they know.

Did you attend this conference and learn anything we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments!

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Beth Motherwell
About the author
Beth Motherwell

Beth is our Events Coordinator at Brightpearl where you’ll find her planning and running customer meetups, trade show events, webinars and anything in-between.

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