This year’s European Online Retail Forum in Barcelona brought together more than 240 attendees including 170 CEO’s, VP’s and Directors of ecommerce. The event is quickly morphing into one of the main retailer gatherings in Europe and if you had a chance to attend it this year, you undoubtedly walked away with lots of new ideas to bring to your business.
But if you weren’t able to attend, then you are still in luck! The keynote speakers addressed the challenges and opportunities that ecommerce is facing in 2015, and Strands has summed it up into 5 main takeaways, here:
Programmatic buying is the future
As technology is evolving and improving, new methods are constantly being invented to create efficiency in the retail space. It was mentioned at the EORF that within 15 years, technology will exist enabling human brains to be connected to the Internet. If 92% of online retailers say that technology has already impacted their shopping habits, what is going to happen when digital and brick-and-mortar become fast friends?
Data is the new oil
In a competitive retail landscape, access of big data and knowledge of your customers is a competitive advantage. In the past, retailers relied on intuition to make marketing decisions. Now data is the new oil, ruling ecommerce decision making. It shows a cultural shift in the way retailers connect with consumers, and that retailers are getting smarter by letting customer data help them drive their businesses.
An interesting fact we heard at the event is that 90% of CEO’s think that they deliver great experiences to their customers, however only 8% of consumers actually agree with it. Therefore big data should continue to bridge the gap between expectation and reality and help retailers delight customers.
Changing consumer landscape
With each emerging generation, the channels in which customers engage grow. A central theme at the conference this year was the rise of “On-Demand Generation” shoppers: Digital natives who refuse to wait for anything, and who demand a seamless shopping experience among all of their devices.
What does this mean for retailers? There are three things that impact the way retailers approach the “On-Demand” generation, and catching the moment is the key to success: personalized online experiences, complete content and product relevance, and 360 degree omnichannel strategy will all be essential pieces to success.
In order to stay relevant and embrace the new wave of retailing, you need to understand that every aspect of digital experience (site, mobile, tablet and in-store) is important. The experience must be customer-focused and pose no drop-offs when customers change devices. The operating word here is: seamless. Surprisingly, almost 75% of omni-channel shoppers prefer retailers to use their personal data in order to improve their online experience. As digital continues to touch every step of the customer journey, retailers who embrace and harness new technology will be ready to ride the new wave of retailing.
The importance of mobile
Lastly, and what should come as no surprise at all to anyone, is that mobile will continue to dominate. To be competitive, retailers need to marry all devices and make the experience seamless and uninterrupted. According to a eMarketer, mobile is the new retail hub: on average, a person engages with mobile devices at least 150X a day! However, only 60% of the top global retailers have a dedicated mobile website. In fact, 32% are still showing mobile users a desktop-optimized version of their website on mobile devices, so companies that find ways to leverage these devices will see its value across all channels.
Did you attend EORF in Barcelona? What were the main takeaways for you? Please share your thoughts!