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What you missed at Retail Without Borders 2020

By Chris Dawson March 2, 2020 - 10:30 am

Where do you get to meet over 20 marketplaces around the world from every corner of the globe at one time? The only place is what’s now the biggest marketplace conference in the world – Retail Without Borders 2020. The stats themselves are staggering:

2 Days
20+ Marketplaces
100s of speakers
2000 Attendees

If you missed Retail Without Borders 2020 then you’ll want to be sure to book for Retail Without Borders 2021 if you are the slightest bit serious about selling on marketplaces as there was something from everyone. Whether you were looking for a general goods marketplace in New Zealand (TheMarket), a Mother and Baby marketplace in the Middle East (Sprii) or simply an alternative marketplace to expand your UK sales (OnBuy), this is the one time you can find everyone under one roof. And it’s not just the conference, you can meet the marketplaces in person at one of the marketplace speed dating sessions and nothing beats having a personal relationship with someone that works for a marketplacee.

Of course the content was also amazing – headlined by none other than Gerald Ratner who made perhaps not the biggest but certainly one of the most notorious errors in business. When he described one of his products as ‘Crap’, seeing the crash to almost worthlessness of his Ratner’s chain of shops, ‘Doing a Ratner’ became part of the English language used to describe anyone who made a monumental error.

Gerald was a breath of fresh air and a joy to listen to, he said he’s made many many mistakes in business but sadly not been credited for any of them because of the big one overshadowing all his other errors. He also had a hot tip for anyone struggling to get an appointment with their bank manager – apparently if your share price collapses to the point where you owe the bank a billion quid then at that point it’s really really easy to see your bank manager!

Other speakers had amazingly practical tips to help you sell more, for instance Mike Adams from Purple spoke about accessibility for websites and one of his simplest tips is to stop putting your auction titles in capitals – many voice readers used by those with sight difficulties interpret all capital letters as acronyms and read them out letter by letter instead of as words. Use upper and lower case and those using readers won’t hit the back key (and that goes for your website as well!).

It would be impossible to give you a full overview of the conference in one post, seriously you need to book yourself for 2021 and see for yourself, so I’ll leave you with a top tip from none other than Gerald Ratner himself who expanded his chain of retail stores into Holland. Doing reasonably well at the start, he was confident as frankly the high street jewellery business model is to lose money for 11 months of the year and make your entire year’s profit at Christmas. So, imagine the horror when there was no increase in this lovely new international expansion at Christmas…. until asking what the heck was going on the Dutch told Gerald “Oh, didn’t you know, people in Holland don’t give each other gifts at Christmas!!!” Top Tip from Gerald… Do your research properly before expanding overseas and go meet the marketplaces and people that work for them and live in the countries you wish to target at Retail Without Borders 2021.

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