Meet Magento UK: the evolution of ecommerce as told by Peter Sheldon

Meet Magento UK is one of the biggest events in the Magento calendar. With a packed agenda, the event delivers real insight into the future of ecommerce. The first speaker of the day, Peter Sheldon, VP of Strategy at Magento Commerce started with exactly that. Here are a few of the key insights from his keynote on the Evolution of Ecommerce.

As Peter outlined, the world of ecommerce is changing and becoming more complex, as the customer journey becomes less linear. The challenge is to create a seamless journey across the five phases of customer experience – awareness, discovery, consideration, conversion and support.

Here are the key trends in ecommerce according to Peter:

Mobile only, not mobile first

With Google increasingly placing weight on mobile speed as a key factor in their algorithm, this comes as no surprise. As mobile usage becomes more prominent across the globe, it’s sad but true that desktop purchases still exist in the volumes they do because of badly executed mobile experiences. Some 40% of consumers still find it easier to shop on desktop, but this will change as progressive web apps become an increasingly important item on the ecommerce agenda.

Experience perfection

Retailers need to focus on removing all purchase anxiety, by delivering perfect information about product, price and anything else that causes concern to a customer. The conventions of what can be sold online are already being disrupted thanks to shoppable content. Today we can be comfortable buying items that we would never have considered purchasing without seeing them first before. A great example of this comes from Houzz, who allow you to use their ‘View in my Room’ functionality to see products in situ before purchasing. Data shows that customers who use this functionality are 11 times more likely to make a purchase. Brands need to consider how they might find innovative ways to answer the questions that consumers didn’t even know they had.

The subscription model is also something we will see continuing to evolve as consumers put even more trust in brands to deliver what they want and need. Even traditional retailers such as Gap are embracing this concept, providing clothes bundles for babies that are sent just at the moment they are likely to have grown out of their existing outfits. This is a great example of a brand that is removing the need for consumers to think about replenishment.

Fast and frictionless

There will no longer be any tolerance for slow and clunky experiences, as smooth and seamless continues to win out. As Peter stated, “the checkout’s obituary is written.” Retailers should consider what they can do to streamline their checkout processes, removing the concept of the form field and providing one touch checkouts wherever possible.  

Conversational commerce will also become more real as Alexa and other similar products change the way we buy. Combining voice technology with machine learning will allow retailers to make low consideration purchases almost unconscious, knowing what customers have bought and in what quantities, and automatically identifying when items need to be replenished.

Post purchase expectations are rising

The services provided by Amazon Prime have become the norm and all retailers will need to meet the same expectations. Forrester research shows that 41% of retailers state their number one priority is improving their shipping capabilities to compete with Prime. Brands need to focus on removing the last barrier to ecommerce – delivery anxiety. Consumers will be loyal to brands that they can shop with without worrying about where their delivery will be left, or what to do if they’re not home.

Peter summarised his keynote by saying that ‘retailers need to win beyond the buy button. Brands should work on retaining their customers in the long-term by ensuring that the first few days after their purchase are as engaging as they can be. From content about how the product was made and how to get the most from it, to invitations to join the community or loyalty program, brands who get this right will see increased repeat purchase, retention and advocacy.

Stay tuned for more updates from Meet Magento UK, or follow the day’s events on Twitter with #MM18UK.

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