GS1 Online Seller Summit for SMEs & networking

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At the GS1 Online Seller Summit, it was fantastic to see the wide range of people involved in ecommerce and the see how the complexity of online selling can be simplified and made manageable through the use of data.

Emma Jones MBE opened the conference talking about the huge opportunities open to businesses today but tempered with a touch of realism. For instance the much heralded Memorandum of Understanding which our Prime Minster signed with back in February has yet to translate into real business opportunities for UK retailers, but their Chines competitor Alibaba with their Tmall are showing promise with real seller success.

Data was a key theme throughout the day with everyone from Ryan Maresca from Google to eBay’s Murray Lambell emphasising that without product identifiers (handily, provided by GS1) the Internet simply won’t work.

Google explained that they can combine data from the retailer with data from manufacturers and other sources to enhance search results – that’s whey they are insisting upon GTINs for products on Google Shopping as without them them they have no way to connect different datapoints with certainty.

The logistics panel were equally adamant that data is key. With data, retailer can not only have visibility of returns before they arrive, but can plan the incoming stock into their forecasts and potentially get a proportion resold before it even arrives back at the warehouse.

The best part of the day was potentially not the speakers, but the opportunity to network with a host of small businesses from across the country.

Hosted by GS1, who are the brokers of GTINs for products around the world, the one takeaway from the Online Seller Summit guest speakers is like it or not a catalogued approach is the way the world is going. eBay may prescribe it as a good thing to enable them to collate listings from multiple sellers with different item conditions, and Google may want data in order to provide a richer shopping experience, but the one thing they all agree on is that data will form the basis of shopping and without it your listings, regardless of platform, will under-perform.

This morning, BabyHub, Yawn and Willow Tree Gin shared their experiences on stage answering questions on how they grew their businesses and all three have inspirational stories but with remarkable similar challenges associated with growing their businesses. Strategic organic growth was their preference over a meteoric rise and to stablise and maximise growth they recommended doubling down on marketing that works best.


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