Welcome to a brand new feature on eSellerCafe which is our eCommerce Influencer Series. To mark our one year anniversary we have reached out to some of our high profile friends in the eCommerce industry to ask them some questions relating to the world of eCommerce.
To kick things off we are joined by the one and only John Lawson, Speaker, Entrepreneur and Best Selling Author. Let’s hand over to John.
Q. For anyone who doesn’t know you yet, who you are and what do you do?
A. I am John Lawson. I am an eCommerce industry panelist and keynote speaker.
Q. Looking back over the past 3 years what do you think have been the biggest changes in eCommerce?
A. I think probably the biggest change in eCommerce will have to be Amazon’s dominance. It’s just been talked about, but the rapid rate of how it is dominating not just eCommerce but voice search, processing of shipments, distribution, all of these things have just been unprecedented in eCommerce, and what that is doing is both positive and negative.
The obvious negatives are when you go through the entire holiday season and nearly 50% of all purchases are done on that one platform. That’s kind of a negative but at the same time if you look at the number of people that it is bringing into the world of eCommerce and that are starting to trust eCommerce and do business through eCommerce that’s been a good thing. So the tide now of Amazon is rising all the boats.
Q. Amazon obviously cannot be ignored in eCommerce anymore, do you believe they are largely friend or foe to SME’s and as Amazon continues to grow does this change?
A. It can’t be a friend and it can’t really be a foe and the reason why it can’t be is because it’s an entity, it’s not a human. So Amazon is going to always flow in its business model. They’re going to do what is exponential for them and if that helps you and I, and we’re on the same side of the boat, then that works.
When we’re on opposite sides of the boat, then Amazon will always follow the money. And if you understand that, then you don’t get too locked up in the person taking it personal when you talk about Amazon and whether they’re our friends or our foe.
Q. What is the biggest opportunity that you see for SME’s in 2018 and beyond?
A. The biggest opportunity that I see is to brand yourself, brand your products, brand your business, and make a direct connection with your consumer. That is your biggest opportunity right now is being able to make a direct connection with your customer.
It’s not always about marketplaces.
Marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy, all of that are great, however you also have a direct line, thanks to social media, to your customer so bring them inside of that circle so that when they think of that product, they think of your brand and of course, your brand is their experience shopping with you.
Q. What emerging technology do you see as the biggest game changer in eCommerce?
A. It’s probably not the game changer that you would think it is yet but voice is going to be the biggest game changer in eCommerce because of what voice does – being able to talk to a device and order a product.
It reduces the amount of friction in the ordering process, but part of reduction and friction is going to be reduction and selection. So when you order, for example some more toilet paper from your voice device, like from your Alexa or your Google Home, it’s going to give you the same toilet paper that you had last time. So you’re not going to keep choosing which brand. You’re just going to get the brand that you chose the last time.
Q. Where can people find out more about you and what you do?
And we are watching Amazon from a whole list of perspectives and how it is impacting everything from eCommerce to voice search to digital storage space, all of those things and areas even in the healthcare industry now. All of those places where Amazon is starting to make inroads we’re watching it.
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