Key highlights from eCommerce Live UK 2017
eCommerce Live UK offers a day of talks and panel discussion sessions exploring the secrets to ecommerce success. Organised by cloud hosting provider UKFast, the event brought together a host of industry leading experts last week in Manchester and London (20th-21st Sept). From site-speed to the latest technologies, power of social, and tips on how to get prepared for peak seasons like Black Friday, the event offered a wide range of valuable insights to help retailers stay ahead of the curve.
Fast impressions count
Space 48 Managing Director, Jon Woodall was asked to join the Fast Impressions Count Panel discussing the need for site-speed, alongside Simon Wharton (MD of PushON) and Jonathan Bowers (MD of UKFast). Host and editor of Business Cloud, Chris Maguire asked Jon: “How important is website speed?”. Jon explained: “website speed and capability is important for retaining customers but ultimately it’s about planning in advance for trading periods where website traffic is likely to peak”. He advised that having robust performance testing in place and a reliable cloud hosting partner will also stand you in good stead.
Simon explained that understanding your inventory of products is also important for making a fast impression. Having a good understanding of ‘the endless aisle’ makes it easier for brands to sell all of their products and respond quickly to customer queries.
Changing the game
The first talk of the day and one that made a lasting impression on me was from Daniel Bobroff, Co-founder and Director of ASOS Ventures. Daniel offered an extremely engaging and visual talk, which walked us through the journey of his career and his findings through both failure and success.
He explained his most successful projects and those of others as being ‘game changers’; new ideas that offer a solution and stand out from the crowd. He explained his theory of creating an idea like this as ‘The game changer’s roadmap - the five C’s’. The five C’s represent areas of consideration including culture, commitment, creativity, community and collaboration. Throughout his talk, Daniel referred to a host of big-name brands who have all had unimaginable success through the launch of one concept. These names included Uber, Airbnb, Netflix, Spotify, Birchbox, Pinterest, and Tinder, succeeding with their ‘Swipe right’ phenomenon.
When asked about his favourite websites, Daniel responded: “ASOS, Very (Shop Direct), Zolanda… brands willing to fail fast”.
Bringing eCommerce to life
Another great panel discussion was from Jeremy Dodd (Business Development at GoInStore) and Ash Siddique (CEO and Co-founder of Missy Empire), which talked about how video, user-generated content and brand influencers can be used to create deeper connections with consumers.
Having previously integrated GoInStore for one of our customers, we were already aware of the benefit this virtual shopping software can offer both retailers and customers. Jeremy discussed how this live video facility can be used to maximise sales by making use of trained product experts who are available/ not serving anybody in-store. He explained how luxury retailers, like Porsche and Dyson, have joined the movement and that GoInStore customers typically see a similar conversion rate as that in-store. This poses a massive opportunity for many other bricks and mortar stores who may experience downtime or quieter periods.
Also on the panel, was Ash from Missy Empire who talked about his fast-growth success with Manchester-based fast-fashion brand. Now selling 4,000 - 5,000 items a week, he discussed how they outgrew their web platform and had to make the move to a paid solution. He openly spoke about how this caused a decline in conversions over the 3-month transition period and how the business was not prepared for this. Ash was asked if, on reflection, he had any regrets. He said, “I don’t think there is ever a right time to move platforms, but I am glad we have done it now and can keep on moving forward.”
To keep up with Missy Empire’s rapid growth rate, Ash explained how they keep their brand identity alive on various social channels, specifically Instagram. Also using social to identify new consumer trends which influence their product design, gaining inspiration from celebrities and influencers heavily followed within their target audience. When asked about gifting, Ash explained the importance of user-generated content: “By gifting products to a diverse range of influencers, customers can get different ideas on how to style their items and see for themselves the true garment quality."
Improving customer experience
Director of Customer Experience at AO.com, David Atherton spoke about how AO.com have invested in their customer service. Advising other retailers to ‘be brilliant at the basics’, from the quality of the product to how it is delivered to the customers, it’s important to do it well and stay in contact with the customer throughout all stages of their journey.
Here are David’s key tips for improving customer experience:
- Make sure all of the information is on the website - monitor the questions being asked on calls to advisors and make sure all of these questions can be answered online.
- Own the actions - if a customer is unhappy, even if it is due to a third-party fault, own the actions and do something to make it right.
- Hire the right people - hire people that care and invest in their training so that they are genuine brand advocates.
- Be obsessed with the detail - from saying hello with a smile on delivery to personalised voicemail messages, it’s the little things that make lasting impressions.
After his talk, David joined a panel discussion on customer service with Elizabeth Clark (Co-founder of Dream Agility). Dream Agility is a marketing platform that can automate some of the work involved in running shopping campaigns and processing inventory data. Using machine learning, titles on product pages can be manipulated and customised to the consumers’ search terms. Mankind, musicMagpie and The Cambridge Satchel Company are just some of the customers to invest in the platform.
eCommerce Live UK is a really valuable event for anybody responsible for their ecommerce offering and performance, and we were happy to be a part of it. Whether you missed the event or just wanted to recap, we hope you enjoyed our key takeaways from eCommerce Live UK. For more advice on staying ahead of the curve and improving your customer experience (CX), download our Must-Have Ecommerce Strategies to Increase Conversions.
Space 48 is a leading UK ecommerce consultancy, specialising in Magento website development. Our team of ecommerce experts have helped countless top retail brands to improve their ecommerce strategies and create award-winning websites. Why not get in touch and see how we can help you?