April 22, 2024

Ecommerce Insights - Hot off the press...

The Data Refinery team headed over the Pennines last week to Retail Summits Manchester Ecommerce Summit. They day was packed full of interesting panels and talks and the speakers were all really generous with their experiences - I'm always appreciative of those that keep it real 👏 Here's my summary
Ecommerce Insights - Hot off the press...

👉 1. Market Saturation - this was probably the overarching theme of the day, precipitating a lot of the other themes. Finding new customers is hard. Very hard. Consumers have less to spend and this is having a big impact on their buying behaviours: According to Worldline's research, 60% of consumers are buying less, 43% are using more coupons & discounts. 26% are buying second hand and 25% are buying cheaper/lower quality.

👉 2. Retention & Reactivation have become more important than ever to drive revenue in this saturated market. Knowing your customer and giving them what they want, when they want it, are key to sustaining margins when the battle for customer growth is expensive and difficult.

💡 Did you know that The Data Refinery offers segmentation and audience builder tools based on your customers spending behaviour and enhanced geo-demographic insights from open data like The Office of National Statistics, Land Registry and EPC?

👉 3. Brand Authenticity - in a VERY noisy world where customer retention is key, knowing who you are as a brand, your tone of voice, offering and proposition is more important than ever. Community & consistency of message across all channels is important to drive customer loyalty. Straying from this is a real danger zone. Thanks to Victoria Shuttleworth, Beckie Turnbull, Lucy Newman, Victoria Coffey, Grace Monk & Elaine Brannan for their thoughts on this - it was a common thread through the day. Make people feel part of something, feel special with previews & treats, rescue poor experience & keep authentic to the reason they connected with you is key to differentiating from your competitors, maintaining customer relationships and driving retention.

👉 4. Channel Fragmentation. Channels mentioned yesterday: PPC, Direct, SEO, Social, Influencers, Ambassadors, Tik Tok Shop (more on this later), Email, SMS, Whatsapp, Facebook Messanger and finally at 4.40pm good old Direct Mail got a look in. People are looking to connect with their customers however they want to talk. As Anil Patel was sharing his insights on the role of SMS in the channel mix at Moda in Pelle, I received my first ever text from &otherstories inviting me to pre-shop an exclusive co-lab, which felt like the perfect illustration of the points so far.

💡 As comms & promos fragment across channels, tracking performance & KPIs is harder than ever. Did you know that The Data Refinery has over 500 connectors that can integrate all your performance, customer, transactional and product data into one CLEAN data set & automate your reporting? BYE SPREADSHEETS.

👉 5. New Routes To Market. John Baines from the Department for Business and Trade discussed overseas expansion with his panel on the "Future of ecommerce". There is lots of opportunity overseas right now, particularly tempting when the UK market is so saturated (see point 1 from yesterdays post). A note of caution though. The BORING stuff matters. Picking a market with similarities to your core market first. Check tax, regulation and legals. Understand that your brand assets may not work and explore tone of voice, channel preferences, preferred payment tools etc - don't assume that anything will be the same. Approach this strategy with a test and learn mindset and pick your new market with intention.

💡 Tracking data across multiple markets and comms channels makes reporting and KPI management ever trickier. The Data Refinery can manage multiple currencies and provides country level filters on reporting to allow customers to view the data they need with ease.

👉 6. Similar to above - new Channels. The room was abuzz with Tik Tok Shop chat. Jennifer Blease-Williams & Stacey Priestley were particularly generous with their insights on this topic. Be patient - it's a laborious onboarding process. Prepare your stock and operations teams - if something goes, it REALLY GOES and you need to be ready. Be prepared to be more relaxed about your content guidelines and let your partners come up with their own content. It's not just for fashion and beauty either - both Lanisoh & Faith in Nature were making it work for them.

👉 7. The proliferation of marketing & trading channels whilst maintaining an authentic & consistent brand voice with clear messages means having a comprehensive comms plan is more important than ever. Being clear on your key messages, how you're going to flex them by channel (by understanding your customers by channel), what the objective is (brand awareness vs conversion) and how you're going to measure success is key to prevent budget wastage (or worse, brand damage). Having a robust, detailed and visible plan that can be communicated to the business is more important than ever, and managing expectations of your board around desired results and KPIs is critical.

👉 8. The importance of 1 click checkouts came across loud and clear. I know that as a BIG shopper myself, when I see the shop pay button it makes me very happy. According to Hilary Platt from Stripe, their research found that 62% of customers would abandon a checkout requiring more than 2 minutes to complete. The average check out time currently? 3mins and 20 seconds... leaving $49 BILLION on the table to grab.

👉 9. The whole experience matters, not just visit to check out. Anjuli Parmar had some excellent insights about how Jacuzzi group had improved their Trust Pilot score - very important to their target audience with the size of purchase. A seamless experience from first visit to delivery & listening to feedback from customers helped them shift their score significantly. Elizabeth Jackson had similar things to say about customer service and both brands are embracing augmented reality to support the purchase of their higher value items.

👉 10. Finally, AI. We couldn't get through the day without an AI mention! Surprisingly (and somewhat refreshingly) AI was far down the list of priorities. There was a real get the basics right first movement. AI was being deployed for tactical time & energy saving stuff like SKU photography and images (minimising travel = +1 for the 🌍 ) but there was little chatter about more strategic AI initiatives.

Not included in the list above was a general frustration with the ongoing changes from Google with GA4 and consent mode V2. We’re helping our clients understand the ongoing impact of these changes and working together to minimise the impact they’re having on performance reporting.

If this or any of the above challenges are causing frustration with you, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch here, or come and see us at:

- Retail Tech Show, 24th & 25th April - stand 5E75

- FUTR, 30th April - stand 13

- IRX - 22nd & 23rd May - stand TBC

Maximise your data value

See how The Data Refinery can unlock the value in your data.
CEO at The Data Refinery

Check out our latest posts

Book your free 30 minute
data value review

Are you ready to supercharge your organisation’s analytics & AI capabilities,
but not quite ready to invest £100,000s for a bespoke solution?