Ecommerce Expo North

Last week I went to Ecommerce Expo North, a free Exhibition and Conference held at Old Trafford football ground.

I would heartily recommend that anyone interested in taking their business online or already trading on the world wide web takes the time to discover what is out there and learn about current best practice and ideas which may help us in the future. We have a tendency to get stuck in our own ways with all the pressures of day to day work; trying to squeeze the most out of every hour, we lose sight of what is changing around us. These kinds of events really allow us to take a step back from the daily grind and reflect amidst some of the more successful members of our peer group.

Some rather exciting facts and statistics were discussed at the morning brief. With my free coffee and croissant in hand, I learned that online retail has been growing 13-14% year on year for the past 5 years. Currently, for every £1 spent in the retail industry, 20p is spent online! And this trend is set to continue at a similar rate for the foreseeable future. Ecommerce in the UK is going mainstream; no longer is the internet home of the 20-something males buying the latest electronic gadgetry.

The most online growth has been experienced by established “multichannel retailers” such as Next, M&S and Argos. Having a trustworthy reputation and good old fashioned brick and mortar presence on the high street, helps these retailers recruit new business from the more cautious 50-somethings, known affectionately as the “silver surfers”. With these largely untapped segments of the online community in mind we can easily envisage potential for further growth in online retailing. In fact, only 51% of the UK’s adult population have shopped online and this is growing, as are average order values. It would seem that now is as good a time as ever to get involved in this growing online marketplace.

Some of the highlights of the conference for me were:

  • Click and Buy, a competitor to PayPal. They seem to be able to really help retailers sell in the European marketplace. Did you know that only 30% of German online shoppers (the largest European online market) purchase online using a credit card?
  • Pure 360’s email marketing workshop. Keeping in touch with your customers and keep them shopping with you. You have at most, 7 seconds to capture your recipient’s attention. The average click through rates from HTML emails are 3.05%, and plain text 2.95%, such little difference may suggest there is no need to worry if you haven’t got the resources to get that perfect glossy HTML email composed. If you’ve got a message, just send it.
  • SLI Systems’ bolt on Learning Search smart site search tool. Users of your site search are 3 times more likely to purchase from your store than users clicking through navigation menus.

Source for stats IMRG Online Access And Shopping Report April 2010.