Space48 Logo
March 5, 2015

SLI Connect – Jon’s overview

A lesson in how to put on a great business-to-business thought leadership event.

Following a busy but inspiring day at SLI Connect, I have a short train journey home to compose my thoughts and recap on an overactive day on Twitter!

First of all, I would like to congratulate SLI and Don’t Panic for putting on a great event. There was a fantastic line-up of speakers, their content was great and was packed full of eCommerce insights. The Venue (Ham Yard) was perfect and the after party was one to remember, with cocktails, karaoke and some highly competitive bowling!

We saw some great presentations from members of the eCommerce community with: Lili Boev from Dotmailer telling us about the great work they are doing with Barbour; Jordan Weinstein from Channel Advisor was eating up the world of Marketplaces; And how Feefo connects retailers with their customers, helping them to manage their reputations. It was also great to see the team from Magento representing – top marks SLI.

All of the speakers deserve commendation and while I could talk for hours about all of the content, special mentions go to the below. Please check out the agenda to see the full line-up.

Tom Cheesewright, our chair for the day, who not only prompted some great questions from the audience but also offered his own insights making some really pertinent points. He kept the day moving like a well oiled machine.

We saw a fantastic data-led presentation by Stephen Lovell from Chemist Direct. He gave some powerful insights into site search and why this should not be neglected. It was interesting to learn that onsite desktop search was converting 4 times more than site traffic not using this. His recommendation to exercise caution when searching ‘Rabbit’was also heeded!

10.38% increase when search is performed 

Kate Holt, the head of eCommerce at Robinson Webster Holdings, took us on a multi-channel journey through brand strategy. Their ‘For Life Not For Landfill’ is a fantastic campaign initiative and I am very impressed with Jigsaw’s score on Feefo – 99% – that’s priceless!

Russell Davis from Cuckooland inspired us all with WOWness. His story of a perchance holiday to Vegas resulting in a visit to Zappos HQ, which saw the birth of an excellent eCommerce business, Cuckooland. He has clearly taken many learnings from previous business experience and has added some special touches from the book Delivering Happiness (available from all good book stores and well worth a read) to deliver a culture which is built around customer service. I felt that his approach showed eCommerce customer service at it’s best and I would encourage you to look at their Feefo reviews and, more specifically their humorous dialogue with their customers!

Web development manager from Paul Smith, Simon Young, kept us engaged towards the end of the day with 5 ways to improve your conversion rate. Here he took working examples of some of the development work they have done, articulately explaining the approach they’ve taken. They have clearly done their homework and continue to evolve what is a fantastic site and a great example of what can be achieved on the Magento Platform. I would love to hear more about their work with The Baymard Institute.

Other key takeaways:

  • 90% of web sales in China are on marketplaces, a really interesting stat from Channel Advisor.
  • Forget omni-channel, it’s retail! We saw a great example of in-store tech and a truly personalised experience from Rebecca Minkoff.
  • Keep it simple and start small! – Smart advice from Colin at eBay and Lili at Dotmailer. 2015 will certainly see scaled back eCommerce and we do need to be responsive to more than just a screen size!
  • Is Amazon’s lack of presence on PLAs the reason that we see such strong conversion rates? ‚Äì Another interesting insight from Channel Advisor.

I also want to mention Jim Haysom and Joe Tarragano as two fellow prolific tweeters on the day. They shared the most prominent points from the day, just check out #SLIConnect on Twitter.

I have been to many events over the years (even put on a few myself) and while they often tick a few boxes, this set a new standard. Events like this are a great opportunity to step out from behind our desks and take on the different perspectives of our peers. We were privileged to be given such a great line up of speakers with some great insights being shared. All that is left to say is a huge thank you to SLI and when is the next event?