Scot Wingo kicked off this year’s Catalyst conference attended by 250 retailers, with an overview of what’s happening in the ecommerce world.
Scot talked about the changes in how shoppers find products, how eBay appear to have turned the corner in the UK with fixed price sales accelerating in comparison to auctions and how eBay are starting to close the gap between their and Amazon’s growth rates. Finally Scot talked about the future and how companies can prepare themselves to take full advantage of social media.
In the UK 54% on consumers buy online and the UK spend (average £717 per year) is the highest in either the EU or US and is growing t 10% per year. Today consumers use search as the primary way to research products with 43% of consumers starting on a search engine. About 23% of consumers go directly to a marketplace such as eBay or Amazon with the number of consumers using their mobile to look for products starting to become significant.
Scot pointed to some changes to how consumers shop. Google are putting less emphasis on Shopping Comparison Engines, but interestingly social media including Twitter is started to show in search results. In the UK although eBay growth has been slow, it’s accelerating again and closing the gap on Amazon. More consumers are using their smart phones or other mobile devices to shop so make sure that your website works with mobile browsers.
Social media is growing, although currently few companies are profiting from the phenomenon. However applications like Farmville are attracting up to 80 million visitors a day, a small percentage of who are actually willing to pay for bonus features. Hosting sites such as Facebook where users use Farmville are seeing these small payments, and are building payment systems which in the future will grow to include full ecommerce payments.
Although currently it may be appear difficult or almost impossible to profit from social media it is the time to start building a loyal customer base of followeres/subscribers. Using unique offers such as short term coupon codes is a great way to build customer loyalty and to attract consumers to subscribe to your Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Scot Wingo’s tips for best Social Media practises:
On Facebook set up a Fan Page, think about ecommerce opportunities on fan page and any promotions you can run specifically for your Facebook fans.
Use social media such as Twitter, Facebook and your blog to issue coupons
Integrate your social media with your blog, Twitter and Facebook links on your website
Be prepared for Twitter and Facebook payment methods becoming mainstream. Get ready to sell your product on distributed commerce systems (such as on your Facebook wall) instead of purely on your own website.
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