Ecommerce Club Interactive Manchester: Report

The latest Ecommerce Club Interactive took place on 22nd October, exploring the extent to which ecommerce is evolving into mcommerce. We were lucky enough to have Matthew Walsh of the IMRG to lead the discussion on ecommerce trends and market insights.

With brands ranging from Vision Express, Farmison, John Lewis, Express Gifts, KitBag, SalonWear Direct and more, it was an exciting conversation exploring the opportunities and challenges that the mobile evolution brings.

What was very evident was that the critical role of ecommerce in retail, and in fact economically, cannot be understated. While in 2000 online spend was £0.8 billion, the 2014 figures was around £104 billion. In 2015 Black Friday sales are predicted to be up 32 per cent. 2014 marked the first time that Boxing Day was not the highest day for online sales and tis November Black Friday is expected to be the first day in UK history that £1 billion is spent online in one day.

While ecommerce continues to expand, there is no question that mobile commerce is now coming of age. The majority of growth in digital commerce is now coming from mobile devices. The latest research shows that 8 out of 10 shoppers use digital devices to help improve their ability to find value – and many sites are finding the majority of traffic is coming that way, with some reporting stats of 60 per cent.

Social also has a huge role to play in driving sales, as many consumers will visit to explore the site, but may well purchase offline later. While this may not be tracked it should not be dismissed – as one delegate said, these days not having a social media presence is like having a shop without a display window. See XX for more

It’s not just traffic though, the percentage of sales through mobile has increased exponentially since 2012 to 40 per cent of transactions, although the majority of these are still from tablets not mobiles. The last year has shown a significant shift however, with 20 per cent of mobile commerce sales coming through smartphones in January 2014 to just under 30 per cent in July 2015.

Given the growing importance of mobile commerce, it’s important that every aspect of site optimisation is reflected in the mobile site – there is little question that responsive design is the way forward.

Other things to be aware of is the importance is the resurgence of email marketing, where conversion rates have risen from an average 7 per cent to 14 per cent. Another element is the importance of providing customers with the delivery or pickup option of their choice (see the Metapack survey on delivery choices). John Lewis has said that 56 per cent of its orders, for example, are click and collect and they see this as having contributed to conversion, while same delivery is only contributing 0.2 per cent, although overall growth of next day delivery is 14 per cent.

One thing retailers need to be concerned about is a fall in average basket value. There has been a downward trend in average basket values from £86 in 2010 to £81 in 2014, but at least this shows a recovery from 2013’s £78 average basket value. What’s worth tracking is number of baskets and which particular customers are providing the majority of the site’s income.

There are also little details that need to be considered. The growing importance of PCI compliance, which ensures that credit cards are linked to a real account, means you need to consider the use of certificates – make sure that the site has an appropriate certificate and one that works for mobile as well.