Experts View: The Most Interesting Thing in eCommerce in 2017: Shopify, Marketplaces, Google, Alexa (episode 134)

Chloe speaks with five eCommerce experts on the topic of the most interesting thing that happened in eCommerce in 2017.

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ecommerce 2017 review
The Most Interesting Thing in eCommerce in 2017

Alex O’Byrne

Alex O’Byrne is one of the founders of We Make Websites, one of Europe’s number one Shopify agencies. For Alex, the growth of Shopify as a platform that appeals to top-tier and household-name retailers in 2017 has been the most interesting thing. In the past, Shopify has been viewed as a platform for smaller businesses, but now they have clients doing up to 40 million through Shopify.

Alex believes this growth came about because Shopify has expanded its functionality so it can cater to those businesses. There’s a whole ecosystem of partners and agencies like We Make Websites that get Shopify to a place where it’s of massive value to merchants, while at the same time, merchants don’t have to deal with things like PCI compliance, security, upgrades, and downtime.

Head here for a special eCMP Shopify discount.

Matt Warren

Matt Warren is the founder of Veeqo, the number one inventory management system. Matt believes that 2017 was the beginning of the end for Google. Google has dominated online retailers in terms of leads, shopping, and organic search, but for the first time, Matt can see that decreasing. Millennials are buying via Instagram or Pinterest instead of performing traditional searches. Things like Amazon’s Alexa tool allow people to buy via voice command without searching at all. Facebook has started to come of age. A few years ago, Facebook advertisements weren’t that effective. They are now, and they’re more cost-effective than Google shopping advertisements. Matt has met many customers at Veeqo whose only source of revenue is Instagram, and they’re not small customers, either. He knows some who are turning over up to 7 million pounds, using Instagram as their number one source for traffic, and who are growing rapidly.

Listen to Matt’s regular interview with Chloe, the second-most listened to interview of 2017.

Ciaran Bollard

Ciaran Bollard is the managing director of Kooomo, a cloud commerce platform. He has over 20 years’ experience at growing and developing online businesses, on both the client side and the supplier side. Ciaran noticed three interesting things in 2017.

  1. The first interesting thing in 2017 was the explosion of marketplaces. Amazon and eBay represent about a billion users, but the advent of retailers using those marketplaces to launch their seasons had never really happened before 2017. Marketplaces are starting to become the go-to place for brands to launch collections.
  2. A second interesting thing is that changes in marketplaces are putting a lot of pressure on retailers. For example, Amazon can deliver purchases within a couple of hours of the order being placed in some places, and consumers are starting to expect it. It’s an interesting dynamic that creates a lot of pressure for retailers to try to compete with that level of service to a customer.
  3. The third thing that Ciaran found interesting is voice search. Amazon is now the go-to place for product searches instead of Google, and now Amazon’s Alexa tool has voice searching. It will be an interesting journey to see where that ends up in 2018.

Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson of Tamebay also found Amazon’s Alexa interesting, as well as the Google Home or Google Home Mini. People will be starting to use voice searches to shop. One in five people have already placed a voice order, and it’s expected that one third of people will place a voice order at some point in 2018. Retailers need to start thinking about how they’re going to integrate voice and what difference this will make for how consumers buy products.

Voice shopping isn’t the only interesting thing that has caught Chris’ attention. There are now image searches on eBay where a consumer can take a photo or find a photo anywhere on the web and drop it into the eBay search bar, and eBay will go and find products that look like that image. It’s a tipping point where people will be using other ways to search the web.

To take advantage of this trend in 2018, Chris recommends going back to basics. For image searches, get really sharp, good-quality images on a plain background so that eBay, Amazon, Google, and Bing can analyze the image.

Listen to learn how those images are analyzed.

It’s also key to attach product attributes. It’s important to describe your products in detail so that search engines can find them. It’s a lot of work, but consumers are searching for specific details, and the retailer who bothered to put those details into their data will be the retailer who wins that consumer’s business.

Simon Bell

Simon Bell is the founder and managing director of Diligent, a Magento agency. For Simon, the most interesting thing in 2017 was the growth of customer-focused thinking. It’s a switch in approach from the simple acquisition of selling one item to more thinking about maximizing lifetime value. This is fundamental because it’s expensive to generate new business, and much more cost-effective to retain customers.

Listen to learn evidence of this shift as it relates to AI and big data.