The 2016 eTail West conference was an awesome event that included many industry established giants as well as some very impressive up and coming retailers and technology providers. Speakers and conference presenters consisted of many highly notable executives including the CEO of Barnes & Noble and the CEO of Lenscrafters.
One of the biggest key messages that I took away was:
“If you want to win through online commerce you have to either be the category leader in price or experience.”
This was a very interesting and logical point and, many of the top speakers made it clear that “winning on price” was a means to an end and not a sustainable practice. With that being the case, the shopping experience is truly what is most critical and is an area that all eCommerce businesses need to focus heavily on.
Here are some of the technologies and vendors that really stuck out to me. These vendors can A) help you provide an exceptional experience for your shoppers and B) make your marketing easier and more targeted.
Most in the eCommerce space know them as the largest and most successful CDN (content delivery network) in the world. Their technology is used by 97 of the largest 100 internet retailers and can drastically increase site speed.
Why is site speed so important?
It makes the user’s shopping experience far less painless when they do not have to wait for pages to load (especially on mobile).
When your site is slow, your bounce rate skyrockets and your organic SEO rankings suffer. No one likes a slow website, and if you are having a hard time solving this problem, you may want to give Akamai a call.
This technology really stuck out to me and seemed to be an easy solution to greatly improve the user’s shopping experience. Their offering provides real-time customer recommendations based on what you are clicking on, viewing and searching for within the site. This means that not only are they looking at your historical data and what you have purchased in the past to customize what they show you, but they are also looking at exactly what you are looking for in that shopping experience to show you the most relevant selection of products.
As a result, studies show a greatly improved conversion rate and a higher average order value from those clients as they are now purchasing more items per visit. Reflektion is being used by leading brands such as Disney, Converse and O’Neill. It also won the 2015 Shop.org Digital Commerce Startup of the Year award. If you are in eCommerce and haven’t seen their demo, you need to check them out.
When it comes to eCommerce marketing automation and email tools, there were a lot of choices at this year’s conference. I felt like every corner I turned had another vendor selling me on their product. This made it hard to stand out. However, Bronto easily did. Not only did the product have all the advanced automation and customization features but it also was crazy easy to use. As we got the 10-minute demo, we simultaneously built out a seven email campaign. Their UI was drag and drop and was extremely simple which made it easy to fully leverage the tool and use all the advanced functionality.
This was another tool and service that we knew pretty well going into the conference. But, we were impressed with some of the service level advancements they were showcasing at eTail West! The UserTesting platform gives you the ability to gain first-hand insights into how your customers really interact with your website and various page templates. Through UserTesting, you can see and hear what happens as they navigate through the site and get up close and personal with your UX / UI. This feedback is then delivered to you in a few short hours and provides actionable insights you can use to improve the shopping experience for your customers.
These four vendors really stood out as highly actionable ways you can really improve the “shopping experience” for your customers. With the continued growth of online shopping, online consumers have more options than ever and are more sophisticated. If you don’t focus on making their shopping experience on your website NEXT LEVEL they will likely buy from someone else or not come back for a second purchase.