Scot Wingo: State of Ecommerce 2013

Scot Wingo hmScot Wingo opened the annual ChannelAdvisor Catalyst conference with the standard investor disclosure statement. It’s the first time as ChannelAdvisor have only just floated on the stock markets with the ticker ECOM (Share price today is $17.00). Congrats on the share price!

That’s not what Scot was at Catalyst to talk about though – it’s the shape of Ecommerce in 2013 and Scot identified the key waves driving ecommerce currently.

Wave 1 – Amazon

Scot started with Amazon as the market leader driving up standards in ecommerce. Amazon’s growth rate is slowing down, but profits are up – that’s because they’re shipping ever more 3rd party items and with 54 fulfilment centres in the US and 48 around the world by the end of this year they’ll have 102 fulfilment centres around the world with some 70millino square feed of warehouse space.

With this scale Amazon can drive down everything from delivery to the speed that it takes an item to be delivered. According to Forrester some 30% of consumers now start their online shopping search at Amazon compared to just 13% at Google. Scot reckons the current figure would be 48% starting their search at Amazon.

That’s scary for Google who are reliant on search for revenues, and one of the main drivers for free Google shopping ending and Google Product Listing Ads being introduced. Scot predicts that in the future Google will become a marketplace where customers will add a bunch of products to a shopping basket and checkout with Google Wallet with orders delivered to merchants to fulfil.

Wave 2 – Mobile

Consumers may use apps and mobile commerce sites but in general consumers are gravitating towards eBay and Amazon apps and mobile sites. Scot advised that you should invest in making your site mobile, but consumers are more likely to prioritise on the main marketplaces than download an app for every retailer on the high street.

The message is that for your mobile solution the first move should be to get your products onto the mobile sites and apps that consumers are already using and in the UK that does mean eBay and Amazon.

Google are also looking at mobile shopping ads, similar to eBay Now in the US. However these are both trial apps in limited areas of the US currently.

Wave 3 – Social

Social is still not here yet, there are plenty of people on the Facebook mobile app each day and people pinning pictures or uploading images to Instagram but social commerce still hasn’t really happened. Facebook are building wishlists where you can add products you’d like, but there’s still not a way for retailers to get their products on the site.

There still seems to be confidence that social commerce will come, it’s just not here quite yet.

Wave 4 – Global and cross border trade

The US, APAC, EMEA and Latin America regions are growing massively and as eBay, Amazon and others will doubtless emphasise at Catalyst is the biggest opportunity in ecommerce today.

Andrew McCelland, COO of the IMRG explained, in the past a retailer would have had a high street shop and the goal of their marketing would be to extend their reach to the town or perhaps the county. Targeting the whole country with shops in multiple towns would have been the ultimate goal. It’s the same with ecommerce, listing on marketplaces or having a UK website enables you to target the UK. Chris Webster from eBay states that just by offering shipping and payments to overseas customers can increase sales by 15% or more. That can all be achieved without the ultimate step of opening up fully localised overseas websites.

If you’re not already offering overseas shipping it’s time to start.

The result of all these waves

Ecommerce is a lot more complicated today than it was in the past – ChannelAdvisor software connects to over 300 channels today, many of who are at Catalyst today. I’ve already met one marketplace I’d never even heard of before – trademe.co.nz based in New Zealand.

Catalyst is a great conference to get an up to date overview of how you can move your business forward. We’ll try to bring you the highlights and of course will be writing about new marketplaces and partners over the next few weeks.