Last week we had the pleasure of taking part in eCommerce Quebec conference at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal. The one day summit provided a great chance for technology companies to get together, show their products and discuss the current state of eCommerce.
Personalization, integration with traditional media and how to provide a true omni-channel customer experience were discussed and debated. Speakers from retail, technology and academic backgrounds talked about current trends and opportunities at length, but 3 themes came up throughout the different talks.
#1 - A Mobile Strategy Is Not an Option, It's Essential
This shouldn't really come as news. Everyone knows that customers are researching your products and buying on their mobile devices. But how much usage is really happening?
According to Richard Cohene, his experience at Beyond the Rack has shown that 40 - 60% of sales come from phones and tablets. He also noted that for his company, tablet users tend to have the highest order value of any customer segment.
"Mobile First" For All Channels
Beyond having a responsive ecommerce site, Cohene also shared that it can be beneficial to ensure all customer interactions are mobile friendly. When his team noticed engagement with their customer and marketing email dropping, he suggested they switch their message templates to be responsive for all devices. This resulted in an increase in click through rates by over 40%.
#2 - Centralized, Structured Data is Your Secret Weapon
As we previously discussed in our post about Product Information Management, many speakers touched on the idea of collecting all essential data into one location to leverage it. Antoine Grosfilley of Zen Data Marketing gave a great presentation on how to classify your customer data so you can make informed assumptions about where a person is in the buying cycle.
Using Data to Drive Omni-channel Sales
By collecting your usage (online/instore), customer opinion (survey's/reviews) and transactional data into one place, you can tailor your marketing messages to suit an individual customers need. Having this type of data associated with specific products also makes it easy to cross sell, which will increase your average cart value. Antoine made it clear that finding and consolidating your data can be difficult, but companies who invest the time will reap the benefits.
#3 - Omni-channel isn't Just About Technology
Technology is a tool help improve your bottom line. While the conference was full of talk about beacons, in-store wifi, mobile integration and other tech focused strategy - some executives wanted to make it clear that technology was only part of the equation.
During the afternoon omni-chanel panel Rudel Caron, from Vente en Gros, pointed out that it's best to avoid getting attached to specific technology as "omni-channel is a constant evolution". Simon's director of eCommerce, Yannick Vial, added that an omni-channel mindset is something that should be tackled from an operational point of view. The omni-channel approach to retail is still being defined so, as Vial said, it is best to keep you team focused on a simple end goal: provide the best customer experience possible.
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