This year we got involved with Leeds Digital Festival and hosted our own event at tech venue, Futurelabs_, and organised a panel of eCommerce experts to discuss the up and coming trends in eCommerce. Our event was sold out with a fantastic turnout, so we’re glad to see that we’ve now begun to see an emerging eCommerce community in the Leeds area!
Leeds is becoming well known for its digital expertise and skills network, and the Leeds Digital Festival is a big part of that, so we were keen to get involved. We also know from our experience with running our Shopify Meetups, that there is an evolving eCommerce community - and so we brought the two together to run our ‘eCommerce 2020 - The key trends to drive future growth’ event.
We had three speakers on the panel, which was moderated by our MD, Dan Conboy - who has both retailer and agency eCommerce experience. The first speaker was Gavin Masters, an eCommerce consultant and specialist from Maginus with a wealth of experience from his career with a number of big brands. The second speaker was Stuart Pick, one of the directors of Brightpearl, an omni-channel retail management system which integrates with some key eCommerce platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce. The third speaker was Nick Stubbs, who is the International eCommerce Manager at EJOT - a B2B and B2C retail brand in the construction and engineering sectors.
The first, and arguably most important, topic to talk about when discussing online retail (or any kind of retail) is what the customer will come to expect.
This lead into the first question around mobile - many online stores are still not mobile-friendly, but will customers have a high expectation for all retailers to have a responsive store by 2020? Similarly, how can retailers improve conversion rate on mobiles, now that traffic from mobiles is overtaking desktop traffic?
It was agreed that this should definitely be a priority for all retailers, especially if you find that your customers are beginning to strongly demand it.
The second question around customer expectations, which sparked a lot of questions from the room, was around delivery. Is there more pressure for retailers to offer faster delivery because of Amazon and other bigger brands?
The second segment of the panel was around systems and strategies - how are brands going to change how they sell? Which systems will be the big players in 2020?
Naturally, the first question was around the platform that retailers use - how crucial is it that retailers choose the right platform for them?
We are Shopify Experts at Statement, but we have also worked with clients and partners on other platforms and we know how important a secure and reliable platform is for running an online retail business - a sentiment shared by the panel.
Similarly, the panel also discussed integrations and the importance of using stable and reliable integrations and apps. As an omni-channel retail management system, Stuart had many insights on this and it reiterated that retailers should really invest time and resource into making sure any systems they use are flexible enough to change when the business changes, and strong enough to handle what your business needs.
When talking about trends, we also wanted to discuss which trends are fads and which are functional features.
We’ve seen a growth in brands using artificial intelligence and technologies such as Amazon Echo that integrate with eCommerce - but will this be something that retailers can take advantage of to ensure a return on investment, or is it a fad?
Dan mentioned that he believed retailers should really carefully consider the “big shiny objects” that come onto the landscape and focus on the fundamentals, such as email marketing and social, before trying anything new.
Similarly, Nick mentioned that everybody thought mobile commerce was a fad when it first appeared on the scene, so it’s a balance that retailers need to get right.
We had such a great turnout, with an engaged and interactive audience, that we are looking to host more general eCommerce events for all those who specialise in, work in, or are plainly interested in eCommerce and online retail. If this would be something you’d be interested in, please feel free to leave your email address below to register your interest - so we can get an idea of what the interest is!
If you also have any questions about the event in general, or want to get in touch with us to have a more in-depth chat about anything that we discussed, feel free to let us know.