The e-Commerce / Online Retail advisory council for ad:tech Sydney 2011 met to discuss the issues that are affecting the market and the content that should be on the ad:tech programme. Here is a summary of the key areas discussed:
The role of international retailers
• US players want to know how to get into Australia because consumers will now purchase overseas, UK retailers are also getting in to the market
• Consumers are realising there’s little risk in buying from overseas, they are more comfortable now, they are actively seeking international retailers and suppliers to buy from
• There are other changes that are fuelling consumers’ choice to buy from overseas:
o changes to shipping policies
o the range of products is better overseas than in Australia
o there may be regulatory changes, drops in GST limit
o there is more cross border transparency, comparison shopping and better information for consumers
• This is increasing threat to online suppliers in Australia but also bricks & mortar retailers in Australia
• Customer service standards are ‘set’ in US and UK – standards around returns (being able to return offline is important) are an especially big deal.
• Customer service standards (by bricks and mortar retailers) have always been set in US and now the online service standards are being set there too.
• What are Australian consumer expectations around service? And what is the impact on retailers coming in to the market?
• Now that there are more international retailers in the market it ‘ups’ the competition
• Online customer experience – how do we service a multi channel consumer?
Retailer value proposition
• If prices are the same by aggregators as direct supply then why do or should consumers choose to go direct? What’s the differentiator?
• Retailers need to work on their value proposition – they can’t compete on price
• The advisory, information piece is still missing.
• Where do consumers look for information: retailers / manufacturers?
• Retailers should play the information role, helping people to choose, being experts
• How do you bring other people in for advice, through social media for example.
• Price is still a key driver for people but customer service can be a differentiator
• Security can be a value add / differentiator. Peace of mind is a value Australian retailers can push more. What should or could the ‘peace of mind’ experience be? In terms of service and information?
• Mobile is an opportunity, what do retailers do about it?
• The question is whether to do an app or have mobile web presence?
• Product vertical influences the mobile strategy
• Businesses that have repeatable, frequent purchases are ideal for apps
• eBay, have the biggest app for retail in Australia
• What are the technical / technological developments and what do they mean? HTML 5 will change what’s available
• The amount that consumers are prepared to spend on mobile is shifting quickly
• For eBay the average price spent on mobile is now higher than on the site, and they can compare consumer behaviour mobile to site
• Eventually payments on mobile will be easier
• What about the virtual wallet and swipe pay?
• When consumers are using PC / laptop etc they tend to skip between sites – have many screens open
• When they’re on mobile / tablet they tend to stay on one site inc. aggregator sites
• Does tablet vs. mobile matter? eBay have stats on this that show that behaviour is the same but volumes are different. The interface of the technology is important and has impact on online retail behaviour
• It is not the device that’s important or that makes a difference to behaviour but where you are accessing (on the move, at home, in bedroom / living room etc)
• What should your response be when you know your consumers’ location? In US, there’s a retailer who give free coffee to people who’s location they know
• How do you respond to ‘check in’ and proximity?
• It is loyalty points (or versions of that) that drive people to share their location
• When will behavioural targeting hit the market? eBay do behavioural targeting, and are looking at tailoring the whole site.
• Recognising individuals and targeting one to one
• Shopping comparison and social media – how do they work together. Facebook connect helps recommendations. And how can recommendations be higher up on the site. It’s important to accept that consumers want to ask their friends for input. Social media can drive up conversion rates
• In this space tactics are confused as strategies
• How do you insert yourself (marketing / brand) in a conversation as opposed to ‘we have to be on a platform’. Advertisers need change to join conversations without selling.
• Public search on Twitter means you can interrupt conversation and insert your sales piece. But it can’t be scaled and it’s spam like
• Can you sell through social media or is it just there to service and advise? Don’t sell stuff; just be helpful; listen, don’t push.
• Sending content and information through social media is successful; sales is not. But it also depends on what you’re trying to achieve, and the market and demographic.
• Social shopping is a new trend. Apparel comparison that links to retailers and suppliers
The ‘group’ model
• At the moment there’s a lot of players in the ‘coupon’ space, the best one will win eventually
• ‘coupons’ links to the Foursquare model – check in and mobilising crowds
• The model means there is a loss on the first transaction in order to get repeat business; loss leading for the life time value benefit of the customers. This used to be an offline practice and now it is online
• The franchise model can hinder online performance / capability; it is hard to push online sales when up against franchise marketing as well
• Brand loyalty and story loyalty is a particular challenge for the franchise model
• The check out / paying experience of some retailers is terrible
• PayPal are cutting down the process and making experience better
• There is still a lot of concern about fraud. There are still a lot of stories on security.
Have your say
This is a summary of the points that were made in the meeting. We’ll be working on this and integrating these topics and themes into the ad:tech Sydney 2011 conference programme. If you have feedback on these points or want to make suggestions about additional topics or speakers for the programme then please leave comments or get in touch with me here.
Notes from the other advisory council meetings
Who’s on the other advisory councils:
Social Media Strategy
Data & Analytics
Creative & Brand advisory
Core Digital Media
Entertainment & Experience
ad:tech Sydney advisory council groups named