Top 4 things I learnt at the Ecommerce Expo 2015

I recently attended the Annual Ecommerce Expo at the London Olympia. Being my first time, I had no idea what to expect but went along with the aim of discovering the latest news and innovations in the world of Ecommerce to bring back to Team Zanzi.

I wasn’t disappointed. There was a vast amount of talks to choose from, and my two days were packed with insights from all sorts of expertise under the “Ecommerce” umbrella. But I’ve picked out four of the most useful things I learnt at the conference which I’d like to share with you.

1. Mobile is key

As we know, mobile is becoming more and more important in the digital world with 82% of consumers researching products on their mobile before making a purchase (Jeremy Morris, Industry Head, Retail and Technology at Google). But, as Dave Chaffey from Smart Insights suggested, mobile is the one area where companies feel least equipped to deal with.

Almost every talk touched on the importance of optimising your Ecommerce site for mobile, and a “I want to know, I want to go, and I want to buy” model was discussed at length. Consumers are increasingly using their mobiles for the broader process of purchasing, from research to finding a physical store, to making a purchase online.

In fact, getting your site optimised for mobile is increasingly easy. Most online website platforms have mobile optimisation built in.  Interestingly, mobile optimisation has come on in such leaps and bounds over the last few years that companies what feel they ought to have an App, need not actually bother. Unless an App were to give them a very particular function (say a barcode scanner), then a website optimised for mobile is sufficient.

2. Purchases on Google

Recent news from Google was their new product, Purchases on Google, which makes it easier for consumers to make transactions directly from search ads. Ads will display a simple “buy” button, clicking through to a page, hosted by Google. While Google hosts the page, merchants will still be responsible for the transaction, keeping the relationship with consumers intact. The page, for example, will still be branded by the merchant. You can read more about Purchases on Google here.

At the expo, however, there was a clear suspicion over Google’s intentions for getting in the middle of the consumer-merchant relationship. Are they genuinely helping people to improve their conversions, or are they trying to enter the marketplace alongside the Amazons and EBays of this world?

Time will tell, although Google aren’t specific about when we should expect to see Purchases rolled out. Watch this space….

3. Google Shopping

Whilst I’ve known for some time that Google Shopping is a core part of Pay-Per-Click for Ecommerce, it was encouraging to find that the Ecommerce community also hold it in high esteem. Google Shopping popped up a significant amount throughout the conference, with traditional text ads disappearing off the agenda completely (although it’s still worth noting the importance of text and display ads for lead generation). One particular agency suggested that around 80% of clicks and revenue come from shopping ads over search and display ads.

Google Shopping, it seems, is the new powerhouse for Ecommerce, and is being given increasing real estate on the Google results pages. Google is also encouraging the likes of Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest to implement their own ‘buy’ buttons, hailing a new era of PPC.

4. Device attributions

Ecommerce businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to separate out attributions at different parts of the sales channel. For example, when a purchase is finally made, it’s impossible to see how that sale originally begun because of the multi-device lifestyle consumers lead. A person may well have come to your site by clicking on a display ad on their mobile; they then leave the site; the following day search for the website organically on a desktop; they then make a purchase through the checkout. But how can this journey be captured?

Haensel, a German software development company, has built a piece of software with one ingenious piece of observation in mind… taken from the football field.

The Ecommerce purchasing process, they argue, is just like the footie pitch, with one person not solely responsible for the win or loss of the match.

1. The initialisers

These are the players who start the run of play by getting the ball off the opposition. In Ecommerce, this would be, for example, the display ad that grabs the consumer’s attention better than their competitor.

2. The holders

The mid-fielders are in charge of passing the ball, keeping it in play by keeping competitors away and creating opportunities for scoring. Online, this would be the remarketing, extra blog articles and emails that keep a consumer’s interest alive.

3. The closer

This is the striker who shoots and scores (or shoots on target). This, in Ecommerce, is the traffic source that achieved the conversion, whether this be, for example, a purchase or an enquiry.

This model goes to show that the success of a football match, or an online sale, cannot be attributed to the closer alone. Therefore, to successfully reflect the contribution of each player, Haensel have designed a process for allocating your Ecommerce spend on each stage (1 to 3) depending on their contribution to your individual purchasing process.

This seems like a pretty sensible design doesn’t it? But what wasn’t discussed was how successful this model has been, and how great the uptake.  But it’s one to look out for in the future. Check out Haensel here.

 

For more on these, and more insights from the Ecommerce Expo 2015, click here.

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