Last week our friends over at Retail Global hosted their annual Australian eCommerce conference on the Gold Coast.
Sadly neither myself or Richard were able to make it ‘Down Under’ so I recruited the help of an Australian friend, eCommerce seller and eSellerCafe reader, Eveliene.
This post is a compilation of Eveliene’s trip to Retail Global Gold Coast and some of her Key Takeaways from the event.
Let me hand you over to Eveliene
At Retail Global Gold Coast 2018, 3 topics permeated through many conversations on stage:
1. Amazon is in Australia, what is happening next with Amazon.com.au and with eCommerce in Australia?
2. Marketplaces will be the global opportunity.
3. We’re still at the start of eCommerce, and a prevailing view is that bricks & mortar retail and eCommerce will blend into one seamless experience.
Phil Leahy, The CEO of Retail Global welcomed everyone introduces the event and explained how everything would work over the next few days.
Amazon in Australia, what is happening next with Amazon.com.au and with eCommerce?
Brittany Rinker, Amazon Marketing Manager in Australia, emphasised that Amazon’s vision is to be earth’s most customer obsessed company. Her goal is to educate sellers on how to benefit from Amazon in Australia. With FBA already launched and Prime coming to Australia this year, Amazon is gearing up fast.
Andy Slamans, Ecommerce Brand Owner & Partner at Amazing Freedom advised people to jump on the bandwagon, as he predicts Amazon will be the premier platform and early adaptors will have an advantage: this is the chance to get a head start as there are still very few customer reviews, even in niches that will become very competitive.
Amazon wouldn’t be in Australia if they didn’t think it was worth it. It is a unique opportunity, it is not very often that a company with such clout invests this heavily in one country and invites you to join them.
Simon Clarkson, Managing Director, ChannelAdvisor says that we should realise that Amazon selected Australia as their next country to launch based on data.
Amazon is investing heavily in Australia, just look at the amazing speed in which FBA has been rolled out, soon to be followed by Prime. Amazon is more customer centric than seller focussed, but he sees that as a good thing – it will lift the game in Australia.
Simon points to the difference in expectation between Australian and American customers.
The American customers are used to fast deliveries and the features the Amazon app delivers, such as augmented reality (for example, seeing how that coffee table would look in your living room). Once people have experienced the convenience and service levels from Amazon, the overall mindset will change.
Lana Hopkins, Founder, Former Ceo of MonPurse stated that you have to give people what they are going to want tomorrow, and that is the magic: the experience, the service, the design, and personalisation together.
Marketplaces will be the global opportunity
Jason Wyatt, Co Founder and Managing Director of Marketplacer advocated that marketplaces, such as Amazon, Alibaba, carsales.com.au and realestate.com.au are the new omnichannel. Marketplaces offer ease, convenience, choice and trust to customers that individual websites usually can’t.
Wyatt stated how often only one generic mega marketplace is successful per country.
Next to those mega marketplaces, classified marketplaces carve out a space through specialisation, such as carsales.com.au, seek and realestate.com.au.
Niche marketplaces, such as bikeexchange.com and Airbnb focus on a small niche and a deep understanding of their customer’s needs.
Finally, brand marketplaces, such as the ones Disney and Toyota are offering, are focused around keeping control of the customer’s experience.
Take Toyota.com.au. Up until recently, you could buy very little off any car brand’s website. On Toyota’s website you can search for a dealer, and you can even book a service and sell your own car online. Toyota has realised that they can be the destination, by giving their customers what they want.
These marketplaces can collect data from their sales and use that to give a better experience, both for the customer and the stores that use the marketplace. For example, bikeexchange shares data with their bike stores, helping them to understand trends and how to drive traffic to their physical stores.
According to James Hudson, Director of Corporate Affairs & Marketing, Alibaba Group (Australia and New Zealand), Alibaba wants to make it easier for SMBs to sell to China through Alibaba’s platforms.
To incubate and grow smaller brands selling to China, they’ve created a site: www.alibabamadeeasy.com.au and organise 2 expositions per year. James emphasised that as a small business you need to partner with a Chinese speaker to successfully sell in China.
Nati Harpaz, CEO at the Catch Group (catch.com.au, previously catch-of-the-day), explained that Catch has benefited from becoming a marketplace. Inviting 3rd party sellers has helped Catch grow even though the margin on marketplace sales is lower than on their own products:
“We want to give the customer the best service, so we have to just deal with the lower margins on marketplace sales.” Nati Harpaz, CEO at the Catch Group
James Hudson stated that the view of Alibaba is that there won’t be much difference between payment platforms, offline and online retailing, mobile and desktop.
To illustrate his point, he referred to Tmall: Alibaba’s ‘new retail’: stores where the store experience is seamlessly integrated with an online experience, offering new, often surprising features to the customer.
For example: you see a garment you like in a store. You take a photo of the garment on your phone, and you are shown suggestions of similar garments in the store.
Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, Founder & Publisher, RetailMinded.com claimed that the missing opportunity is the physical shopping experience mixed with online shopping. For example, a tourist sees something they’d like to buy in a shop in Australia, and would be happy to go online in the shop to organise shipping it home.
Dominique Lamb, CEO, National Retail Association shared that in Australia, retail had declined. Only online retail had increased in 2017 but is currently only 2.5% of the total retail market.
Many of the smaller retail store owners are not ready to go online, some are still using fax machines. However, they have a wealth of experience and knowledge in retail. There is an opportunity for the two sides to work together.
Other predictions for eCommerce
Britney Muller, Senior SEO Scientist, MOZ believes that keyword-less searches will grow – it has already started with image search on Google. Soon you’ll just take a photo and search.
We’ll see more automated solutions in our search results, based on data that is already available. A current example is the graph Google shows when you search for a shop or a restaurant, showing when their peak visiting hours of the day are.
Google will become the new home page for many SMBs. There is little need anymore to go to their websites if you already see opening hours, location, a menu and reviews.
How to manage an eBay listing when sales have dropped off
Katrina Kail, Founder, Reboot Retail explained that if a product is worth selling, but for some reason has dropped off the search results, there are 3 strategies to blow life back into the listing.
Use your marketing budget to fund the losses while you drop the price dramatically.
All the listing’s watchers will get an email from eBay, boosting sales. The listing will move up to the top of the search results again, at which point you start increasing the price again.
End the listing completely. Re-list the listing by using the ‘sell similar’ button (don’t re-activate the same listing). Every new listing gets a boost for a few days.
End the listing completely. Re-list by using the ‘sell similar’ button, and drop the price dramatically. The new listing gets a boost and the price will ensure it cements its position at the top of the search results, after which you start increasing the price again.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Retail Global event and came away with lots of new ideas and action points which I can’t wait to implement in my eCommerce business. I’d recommend making the effort to attend to any online seller.
How about Retail Global in Vegas?
We’d like to say a huge thanks to Eveliene for covering the event on our behalf on the sunny Gold Coast.
Now the exciting news is, if you are based in the USA, the great folks at Retail Global are doing this all again in a few months time on your home soil in Las Vegas.
From October 9th to 11th Retail Global Las Vegas will be descending on the strip to bring you actionable tips to help you grow your online business.
We are hoping to be at this event ourselves and we will of course keep you posted on all the latest updates as we get them.
Did you attend Retail Global Gold Coast? If so what did you think and what were your main takeaways? Head over to our Facebook Discussion Group or use the comments section below.