Internet Retailer 2013 eCommerce Success Stories and Trends
Last week, Internet Retailer hosted over 10,000 online merchants, online stores owners and ecommerce experts and vendors, which was the biggest attendance since its inception. Plus, the keynote speaker was Al Gore himself, with a key message to all of us, shaping the future of ecommerce industry:
“The global mind is made up of the Internet and the collection of networks that connect billions and billions of people and billions and billions of devices. And (soon) there will be 50 billion smart devices connected to the Internet…
“You in your industry ought to feel absolutely great—even in the midst of economic stress and a weak recovery, you are growing more than 15% year on year.”
I also took an active part in bringing this event to success by speaking on Facebook Graph Search ( Making Sense of It ) as a marketing opportunity for internet retailers to amplify your messages and other marketing, be that on Facebook or outside (any other marketing: email, display, etc.).
I shared how SEO on Facebook is different from what we know on search engines. I shed light on how top 2 retailers (Eventbrite and Zappos) are already mining gold via direct sales or upsell increase from Facebook marketing. Find the details on commercebrain slideshare. The audience was surely intrigued by the uncovered possibilities and best mix of owned, paid and earned conversions on Facebook.
If you attended the speech or the conference, you will also receive a link to the library and the speech audio. I also shared extras for the attendees in my session – for liking CommerceBrain Facebook page and sending an email to me directly. Bonuses and a gift included:
1. a link to the library on all the resources (tools, people and experts) on Facebook marketing I compiled for the last 5 months to help you train your team (my public Evernote).
2. 20 min free Skype consultation.
3. an exclusive offer for my upcoming book on ecommerce (Oct 2013).
Why should you care? Well, a week has past since I spoke and there is a new release of hashtags to be used on Facebook that confirms the golden opportunity for businesses to start now to take advantage of this new channel before it is crowded.
Facebook search is moving fast. Plus, search will cover both organic and paid experiences for your audiences. So, what are you waiting for?
Back to the IRCE 2013, my personal experience started the day before with a sweet gesture from the event folks that made me feel loved. Thank you, Eileen!
Yet, the ability to share insights and connect to various store owners and hear their stories helped me understand the pains and challenges of my customers even better. It was also good to reconnect with old friends at the IRCE 2013 expo, which confirmed that the world is small and everyone is somehow doing ecommerce.
Here are the key lessons, ecommerce trends and success stories that captured my attention:
1. Industries outside retail embrace eCommerce technology to make our lives better.
eCommerce is not only retail or selling online, it is also a way to effectively work together, sharing resources at the times most needed – when disasters strike. Graig A Oldham, VP of Digital Engagement Marketing shared a story how Red Cross improved its effectiveness as a non profit organization and helped more people faster and at scale. It struggled with so much disorientation, plowing through the unnecessary logistical and communication challenges in the past.
American Red Cross spent a number of months re-wiring its internal processes and integrated the internet technology, which allowed for the value of ecommerce showing up right away in how it does its services. It now even does AB testing which increased its total site donation revenues by 22% quarter over quarter and the course subscriptions by 21% over the last 3 months. This trend is super good for business for all ecommerce players in the market.
2. Offline brands and retailers got very serious about going online, selling direct and merging the two worlds.
This time, I met people from CPG world as Borsch and brick-and-mortar retail chains who came to the event specifically to get vendors, info and strategies to go digital and start selling direct or integrating more offline commerce with online marketing and shopping experience. There was entire track of sessions with stories from retailers, including Vera Bradley on “Turning online info into store action” and C.Wonder on “Store associate as Internet advocate: The right training, the right incentives.” C. Wonder found its own approach to tackle the omni-channel dilemma: “Culture, internal education, and constant engagement are as powerful than the most sophisticated tactics.”
Clearly, ecommerce and internet marketing can no longer be considered as a separate organization since consumers and shoppers perceive them as one single experience.
3. Smaller online retailers are the true champions.
I found sessions with smaller retailers more fascinating due to the stories shared on growing the business, replatforming and scaling to profit. Some of the best will be featured in my upcoming book.
In the USA, we do enjoy the luxury to having tons of vendors and ecommerce technology providers to choose doing business with. Our logistics and infrastructure systems support the ongoing sophistication of US online shopper. Yet, this requires diligence and smart time-saving processes from the smaller online shops to select the right vendor and not to lose a shirt in the process. Stellar insights were shared not only in the sessions, but in private hallway conversations as well. Loved it!
To close, whether you do internet retail in the USA or Asia or India or Latin America, you are helping other people make a living. It does not matter small or large, we are all in this together. So, let’s make it a beautiful and profitable ride. It gets much more exciting every passing year!