Live Q&A | The Current State of eCommerce

Introduction.

This Q&A was hosted by Holly, the Marketing Manager at Evolution, and included three guest speakers. The first was Lety Kemp, the Data and Analytic Director at Videmus. Videmus aim to help clients utilise their data to gain a competitive advantage in the business world.

The second guest speaker was Mark Garett from Evolution. As the head of eCommerce strategy, Mark explained how Evolution supports their clients and customers by helping them understand the benefits of digital transformation.

The third and final speaker was Martin Hughes, the Technical Director at Crunch Digital Media. Crunch is a media buying agency that works across every platform to make every click count.

All three agencies are a part of the Audience Collective, a group of specialist digital agencies.


Q. What challenges are online retailers currently facing?

We should not only look at online retailers but all retailers. There is a lot of talk around supply chain issues (petrol shortage, chicken shortage, etc.,) but there are also behind the scenes issues regarding manufacturing that we have not begun to see the effects of yet.

Some of these issues include the fact that Chinese manufacturers are now working on a three-day workweek, heavily constricted global shipping routes are pushing up prices, and the labour shortage issue. Operating in this world is proving very difficult, and it is impacting eCommerce specifically. It has been reported that 45% of UK shoppers have said they will complete their Christmas shopping a week earlier than previous years due to the reasons just mentioned.


Q. How is IOS15 going to affect retailers online?

Apple had warned people of the new privacy changes coming into effect with the update. Users can stop apps tracking them across other websites they visit.

When IOS14 came into place in April of last year, Facebook began to lose its advertising effectiveness. Their reporting suite was no longer useful due to IOS users who were now blocking its tracking.

Effects like this are just the beginning of what marketers must face as more users utilise their privacy settings.


Q. How do IOS privacy settings affect clicks and general interaction?

We are seeing some studies where it is causing interference. If you are linking out to shopping catalogues, privacy settings can interfere with data. At least 90% of IOS users will be using privacy masking within 12 months.

In response to this, marketers need to re-establish how they are structuring their emails. If you do some analysis, look at your IOS user base, and it is anything over 30% – you need to start adjusting.


Q. Is retargeting dead?

This depends on how you compose your audience. If you are relying solely on website interactions, you may have a problem if you are retargeting through Facebook, for example.

But there are ways around it. One suggestion is to put effort back into your creatives. You could begin doing this by switching from static image ads to engaging videos or gifs.

By going back to basics, you will be ensuring that you are nurturing your existing customer base. As marketers, it is easy to focus on the latest AI and automation and forget about the actual marketing behind it all.

Marketers tend to focus on gaining new customers, but we should also be nurturing the audiences we already have to encourage them to keep buying. After all, acquiring new customers can cost five times more than retaining your existing ones.


Q. How could utilising data help businesses?

Because we have been so addicted to letting the platforms do everything for us, we are making less effort in the creative aspects of marketing.

If you are trying to sell something, you need to know your customers. If your business is entirely online, this can be considerably harder as the only interactions you have are from behind a screen. There is a lot of data to try and make sense of in eCommerce, including store data, transaction data, and region data.

Marketers are drowning in data. The way Videmus can help with this is by combining data that is relevant. Lety then begins to give a helpful demonstration of how Videmus can utilise your data (from 16:19 on the YouTube video.)

Videmus aims to help all businesses, whether big or small. If you are a smaller business, you can save yourself time and money on sourcing data scientists and conducting interviews by simply outsourcing Videmus. All your data will be ready to use without having to compile it all yourselves.

New businesses can benefit from using data early on, as you will be basing your business on reality rather than perception.

Marketing can be expensive. You could be wasting your budget on tools that are not benefiting you, so it is good to see what is genuinely working for you based on the data evidence – this is what it means to be data-driven.


Q. How does this method compare to platforms like Magenta in terms of data display?

The dashboard is better. Other platforms tend to restrict what data they show you depending on what they want you to see to encourage you to purchase upgrades.

Videmus can present data in an accessible way. Data is not easy to digest. If your clients are presented with a bunch of numbers, they could begin to switch off. Presenting data in an understandable way is everything when it comes to data services.


Q. During the pandemic, eCommerce sales skyrocketed, this year they have dipped. How can you use data visualisation to build an eCommerce strategy?

This has been challenging for many agencies as their clients experienced such a huge boom in sales in 2020. People were not going on holidays, they could not take the kids out, they were not spending the day in town browsing shops and restaurants. Instead, people were spending a lot of money on home delivery services and home improvements, to name a few.

When it comes to explaining these statistics to clients, comparing 2021 sales with 2019 is much clearer. 2020 showed what eCommerce is capable of, but 2019 gives more realistic statistics when you consider that we are not homebound anymore.


Q. Flexible payment options have seen a big increase. Forbes reported that the ‘buy now, pay later’ payment providers are here to stay – what do you think about this?

There was a lot of job instability during the lockdown. Considering the financial situation, any retailer needed to be as flexible as possible when it came to purchasing their product – and they still do. Ease is so important when it comes to eCommerce. Retailers should ensure they have a variety of payment methods available, such as Klarna, Apple pay, and multiple credit card options.

All businesses should give terms and conditions that work well for the customer as well as the business.


Q. What do you think is the immediate future of eCommerce?

The future of eCommerce is to drop the ‘e.’ This is now ‘commerce;’ we live in an omnichannel world where everything becomes shoppable, placing the customer at the centre. It is up to businesses to go to the customer and make it as easy as possible for them to buy from you – if you don’t, someone else will.

As far as data is concerned, there is a lot to be done. She expects data services to become inherited in eCommerce.

B2B services will become more accessible online. All the statistics show that B2B is looking at how eCommerce works and adapting accordingly. Providing services online is especially important as the younger generations who are used to getting anything they want online are becoming adults.


Conclusion.

The Q&A concluded with a return to its main advice – everything needs to be customer-centric. Take your marketing back to basics by putting effort into your creatives and using data to drive a strategy that amplifies that.