4 reflections on Channel Advisor Catalyst Europe 2014

Not much more than a week ago, I spent a useful and interesting day at Catalyst. And it made me wonder, what are events and expos are for?

It means taking a day out from the bread and butter operations and that’s an investment of time for any firm. So it has to be worthwhile. And the value of such events is in the conglomoration of interesting, like-minded and focussed people being in one place. That gives the chance to listen and absorb and hopefully, pause for thought.

From conversations with people I had never met before and also chats with old faces, alongside the various talks and presentations meant, I came away with four impressions I wanted to share.

Ecommerce is growing in size and sophistication
I’ve never really dealt much with, or had much time for, buzz terms such as omnichannel or multichannel. But it was notable the extent to which the scope of ecommerce has developed in recent years.

To be an effective online seller, you need a lot more know how and imagination than you needed even a few years ago. And a lot of the answers are by no means easy to find.

China as a buying nation
There is a huge amount of compelling information that shows that China can become a huge export market for the UK in the years to come. It’s especially true for brands and at the high end but even for small traders there is possibility. Alas, the infrastructure for such exports is still under-developed.

Amazon is innovating
Chris Poad gave an interesting account of what Amazon is upto and much of that wasn’t a surprise. The company is full of energy and thinking big, it seems to me. Of particular interest was the news that they are starting to think about collectables and the like with some small trials stateside. Not good news for eBay.

There’s no one seller solution
It’s striking how many new suppliers and helpers there are out there. (We’ve noted the same in the Tamebay Guide.) but what is clear is that as ecommerce grows, buyer needs diverge and cross border grows in importance, sellers will need a portfolio of services to help them do business. No bad thing, but quite bewildering.