Recently our VP of Marketing, Laura, flew to Chicago to attend the IRCE- the world’s largest internet retailing conference. Among thousands of others, Laura listened to experts covering all aspects of internet retailing, met so many interesting people and attended several additional “events” hosted by our integrations partners (aka: parties! pre-parties, after-parties, after-after parties, whew – Nick had a full week of in-person meetings planned for her weeks in advance). Despite the late nights, she was highly focused on learning from all involved and took enough notes to fill a textbook – she came home with a ton of great information. It was a busy few days.
I sat down with her to pick her brain and find out what’s coming up in ecommerce. She had a lot to share that can directly impact the lives (and profits) of the online retailer. Here are her top 3 takeaways from the IRCE that you need to know:
What’s Amazon up to?
Amazon has been very busy lately. Is it because of competitor and Chinese powerhouse Alibaba’s gradual migration into European and American based markets? Maybe, but probably not. Whatever the reason, Amazon has been unveiling some big ideas and rolling out big goals. For one, they’ve recently introduced Fire, their new smartphone with AT&T that endeavors to make purchasing items as easy as pointing your phone and clicking. Amazon is clearly shifting toward increasing profits derived from web services and other ancillary services. Amazon is working hard to become more like Google or Facebook over time, and less like Walmart. With services like FBA and Prime, they’re quickly shifting consumer expectations and habits for shopping online – expect more, pay less.
Optimize product listing ads
One of the biggest themes reiterated at the IRCE was the importance of optimizing your product listings. In order to make sure your listing best represents you, your product, and your brand, make sure you fill out all of the details. Details will also help set proper expectations – which in turn – can greatly improve seller ratings. Be aware of keyword combinations customers might search for, and use those in your descriptions. These tie into the search algorithms that determine what products and sellers of those products show up after someone does a search. Ease, simplicity and cost effectiveness of shipping is quickly becoming the top priority of customers, so make sure you’re accurately describing your shipping process as well. If your products ship 1-2 days after order, be careful to use simple and clear language to differentiate between “ships in X days or “delivered in X days” when displaying this information. It’s not uncommon for customers to confuse the two, and then become disgruntled when the product isn’t on their doorstep two days later. Of course, if you can automate some, most, or all of the shipping process, that was definitely an advantage shared by some of the most successful ecommerce sellers today.
Much like optimizing your listings, advertising is a vital piece of the process. Laura mentioned one of her favorite ecommerce experts shared “Instead of spending years working on SEO for your own website, use Amazon and eBay as your advertising.” Also, try out shopping feeds now, while most of the big retailers still don’t know what they’re doing. If you can master them now, you have a huge opportunity to win here and get ahead of the rest. Try it, test everything – and check the feeds for errors and optimization opportunities. Link to your listings on Amazon and eBay, and piggyback off of the reputation of those trusted marketplaces. Try it, tweak it, see what works, and repeat!