The internet retailer conference and exhibition 2014 is the biggest event for ecommerce and retail companies worldwide, and this year was no different.
From the 10th-13th of June, IRCE got together the biggest names in the ecommerce industry for some eye-opening sessions and brilliant networking opportunities. The sessions at IRCE covered a plethora of topics to help both large and small ecommerce companies solve tough problems and maximize conversions.
From these sessions and from our talks with attendees, exhibitors and sponsors, we gleaned some interesting trends and insights for the future of the ecommerce industry. The industry is poised for a mobile revolution and there are exciting developments happening everyday on the localization, social media and personalization front.
Here are the top insights from the IRCE 2014!
The Mobile Revolution is Here
IRCE solidified the view that ecommerce companies without a mobile strategy would be directly impacted in terms of customer engagement and conversions. Some interesting statistics emerged from several of the sessions at IRCE.
- Consumers spend 55% of their online shopping time on mobile.
- According to a report by Forrester Research, 29% of all online retail sales in the U.S. will be transacted on smartphones and tablets by the end of 2014 with sales from the devices expected to reach $114 billion this year and $293 billion by 2018.
- SMBs are concentrating their efforts on mobile – More than half the companies in the IR second 500 list have a mobile site while 10% of them have mobile apps.
- In a session by Lauren Freedman, President – The eTailing Group, she mentions – Although retailers are waking up to the significance of mobile, a majority of them are focusing only on the technology, design and customer experience aspect of mobile
Glocalizaton – Being Local in a Global Market
Some of the largest retailers in the world have been making inroads into emerging markets like India and Latin America and smaller retailers too have been going global.
For instance, Amazon has localized sites in 13 countries while ebay recently launched their web and mobile marketplaces in Spanish and Portuguese.
The interesting trend though in not so much globalization but ‘Glocalization’ i.e. adopting local practices in new markets globally. According to SingPost, of the sites with an ecommerce presence in Asia, 40% have prices in the local currency whereas 9% have local customer support.
Social Media for the Win
Social Media continues to pay dividends for ecommerce companies and along with search, has grown to the largest acquisition channel for online shopping sites.
40% of people use social networking sites when shopping online. This alone goes to show the complementary nature of Social Media with ecommerce.
Social Media is also consistently being used by online retailers as a customer service channel According to Zendesk, 1 in 3 social media users prefer social care to contacting customer service on call. The key, as told by Audrey Griffith, Senior Manager of Customer Care at Modcloth, is speed, quality and proactive engagement.
Personalization Pays (Literally!)
The key trend with personalization is that every touchpoint should be personalized, including web recommendations, emails and content. This consistent and holistic personalization approach is what the modern consumer has come to expect.
According to Amy Larson, Vice President at The Children’s Place & Rama Ramakrishnan, CEO – CQuotient, it’s equally important to use big data in the right way and personalize interactions for every user individually and not just segments of visitors.
Niche is Now
It’s also becoming increasingly clear that even with extreme competition from the giants like Amazon and Tesco, niche ecommerce sites are still surviving and growing steadily. For instance, 472 of the IR Second 500 posted an increase in sales.
As mentioned by ￼￼￼Stefany Zaroban in her session on the IR Second 500, niche ecommerce sites thrive in areas that are ripe for growth. Niche sites are at an advantage in terms of building highly engaged communites and providing both a high quality experience and quality products.
So there you go! Our top 5 insights from IRCE 2014. I’d love to know what insights you gathered at the event – do share your learnings in the comments below.