The Big eCommerce Conference 2013, held in leafy Woking, Surrey, attracted around 100 delegates. Whilst BIG was in the title, the event itself which in terms of some conferences can be seen to be anything but BIG.
However, as they say size is not everything and instead the quality of the attendees was everything! From the outset the delegates approached the event with a different mind-set. People joined in, got involved, gave feedback, talked, networked, actively participated rather than passively engaging. The atmosphere was friendly and collaborative. As I scanned the room and absolutely no-one appeared to be engrossed in their smart phones, instead people were actually listening. This boded well for my presentation as one of my goals was to ensure that I gave people interesting information that would deter that inexcusable but somewhat addictive smart phone mania that is a modern day affliction.
With the growth in global ecommerce sales set to tip $1.4 trillion dollars by the end of 2015, we all agreed that we wanted to do everything to be a part of this explosion and find ways to encourage customers to shop more and increase the life time value of each shopper.
We identified that while ecommerce sales are growing at approximately 19% year on year, there are still some factors that are hindering this growth. We explored these factors as a group and most of the participants during the BlueSnap presentation agreed wholeheartedly that forcing customers to enter spurious or irrelevant data at the checkout was infuriating, and would invariably lead to cart abandonment.
A common theme throughout the day was how to break down barriers to cross the eCommerce sales border and how to elevate the customer experience.
Barriers to truly global ecommerce, including not localising the online checkout experience, and providing ways to avoid customers entering important payment data in a language that is foreign to them. We agreed that offering customers the choice to pay in a localized payment method that they were familiar with was going to engage them in a way that made them comfortable.
Surprisingly, for the UK, we had a heat wave this year, and even more surprisingly, ecommerce sales actually dropped by 2% in July compared to June. Who would have thought that the weather would have had such a significant effect on our shopping habits? However, more importantly for anybody still under the illusion that mobile checkout is a ‘nice to have’ sales via mobile devices continued to grow, as people continued to use their mobiles in the rare British sunshine. The irony was not lost on me that one of my goals was to avoid people looking at their mobiles when I was presenting, and yet I was agreeing with them that savvy ecommerce shoppers are now reverting to their mobiles more and more to identify bargains, and make purchases online.
At least during this precious sunny, autumnal day in Woking, 100 or so savvy delegates were putting their mobiles to one side to share and enjoy a day of highly interesting and relevant information and exchanging ideas and contact details to broaden their chances of taking a bigger piece of the ecommerce pie.