This week I had the opportunity to attend E-Commerce Forum hosted by Irish Titan, a fellow web development and digital strategy company in the Twin Cities. I’m glad to say I learned a lot and I am excited to share my key takeaways from the night!
The Importance of Transparency
The keynote speaker was Peter Sheldon, a VP of Strategy at Magento Commerce. Peter focuses on direct-to-consumer marketing and the demise of “big-box” store that serve as third-party re-sellers. In place of these big-box stores, brands are opening up flagship stores where consumers can purchase products directly and with the help of employees from that company. I had never sat back and evaluated my actions as a consumer like this before.
Peter also discussed Ikea and Amazon’s e-commerce practices and how these manage to keep customers coming back time and time again. He demonstrated how Ikea uses a predictive analysis chart to tell customers when they expect a product to be back in stock and if the product is available in your store. Amazon, on the other hand, tells customers exactly how many items are in stock at that moment. Amazon Prime has also bred a customer base who expects shipping to be fast, free and predictable.
The final point that Peter made was about content finally becoming king. Companies are integrating product personalization to serve as a brand differentiator. A trend that is popping up on retail sites is a Live Chat feature. This allows customers to interact with brand personnel during while they online shopping, thus enhancing their experiencing and increasing the likely hood of them returning. This was my first time sitting down and learning about e-commerce from an industry expert and I think Peter shared great inside on customer loyalty and trends we should expect to see in the future.
Following Peter Sheldon’s presentation on e-commerce trends was a panel discussion. They discussed how today the power is in the hands of the consumer to make or break a company based on reviews and recommendations. I appreciated this point because we try to express the importance of testimonials to our customers because it provides invaluable credibility to your business before people walk in the door.
One of the panelists, Maia Haag, founder of I See Me! also talked about how SEO is key to getting consumers to your website. As a digital marketer, I certainly appreciate this testament.
Wrapping Up E-Comm Forum
Another panelist made the point that they see social media and e-commerce blending together more each day. Particularly on how consumers decide on whether or not to make a purchase. As a young consumer, I also believe this trend is true and will continue to take off so more formally in the near future.
I am really glad I attended E-Comm Forum and took the opportunity to go out of my comfort zone, meet new people and absorb this information from industry experts on the trends and the future of e-commerce. I’m looking forward to going back next year and seeing how things have changed in e-commerce by then!