Retail Without Borders - A Reflection

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Steve Arsenault

May 31st, 2022

This year Onport was fortunate to participate in the annual “Retail Without Borders” conference on the 30th and 31st of March - the two day event featured a number of industry experts speaking about a wide range of eCommerce related topics.

The exponential increase in online shopping has pulled back the curtain on something that had been somewhat overlooked: Lack of personalization on the digital shelf. To expand your brand equity, individualized content can no longer be ignored. It is a huge driver of purchase behavior. Companies continue to to be as innovative as possible with AI solutions that can quickly test vast quantities of data to understand its effectiveness. The process you take and what platform you’re using matters a lot, and it doesn’t appear to be reversing course.

Here are some of our top takeaways from a panel we sat in on featuring four experts in the Artificial Intelligence field. The panel included decision makers from the likes of Mars, Vizit, Dexi and many more.

Stop and think about what is changing and what remains the same.

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Its vital that a marketplace takes the time to assess what has changed recently within the ecommerce ecosystem and how this impacts them and their offering. Such changes include areas like:

Channels - social, e-retail, etc You need to take the time to consider where and how your customers may find you and how their entry point may affect their buyer journey.

Connectivity - We are more connected than ever before and costumers expect cross-platform integration. Seamless transfers of data from one platform to another is increasingly becoming the norm.

Speed - New solutions and concepts are being released constantly and very fast; putting constant pressure on the supply chain. Examine whether your current structure can cope with new and unexpected challenges.

Consumer expectations - These are higher than ever before. Consumers expect high quality, the next day, and a better experience than buying something in person. Customer aftersales care is an increasingly important segment of the buyer journey and includes things like returns.

People shop on Auto-pilot - They have a routine and often stick to it. The key is to understand what that routine is, and find your way in. If you can include your brand within their buying routine, you are onto a winner.

While much has indeed changed, particularly in the past 24 months in the world of ecommerce, much has also remained the same. It is important not to overlook these topics and ensure that your marketplace is able to address them at a high level.

Businesses need to be sure to do these 3 things

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Design a customer experience - no more cookie cutter websites but truly personalised and engaging experiences which help to elevate your brand and your audiences association with it.

Use data to your advantage - data is your friend and help you understand customer journey and help enhance that process, identifying any areas of concern so you can address them accordingly.

Use predictive analytics to reduce noise - tighten up customer journey and streamline your processes to ensure that end conversions occur as smoothly and as organically as possible.

The starting point for every business should be an audit

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Take Stock - Start with a broad stroke approach to your audit and look at things as a whole - doing so will give you a better overall and macro view of your business and where you currently stand.

Knowing where you sit in the market and the resources available to you will help plan for the future better. After that, you can dig down and tailor your approach to your specific audience better.

Have a mobile first mindset

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Think Mobile - You may have an endless digital shelf, but the majority of the time it has to fit on a very small screen. Most websites nowadays are mobile-first and yours should be no different.

It’s important that you take the time to consider how you will grab the attention of a potential customer and show them what they are looking for quickly.

Tech is evolving Fast. Make adjustments in flight

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Test SaaS platforms often - Understand your current offering and how it relates to the wider market. Does it solve real world problems faced by the industry today?

Be open to the market - never be too comfortable to simply rest on your laurels. It’s vital that you regularly assess the market and see opportunities and how you can adapt your offering to current challenges.

Eliminate one size fits all

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Individuals have different buying behaviors - It’s important to tailor your offering so it brings value to more potential customers instead of choosing a single approach which may not be relevant for everybody.

Prioritize flexibilty - The more flexible your offering, the more it can serve a wider audience. This will win you favour with clients with more advanced needs and requirements.

A reliable partner for the future - Onport

Onport is committed to providing our customers with an evolving multi-vendor marketplace solution that can be deployed fast, remains flexible to accommodate your business needs, and does not require a large amount of internal resources dedicated on your end.

With the industry changing on a daily basis, Onport can quickly deploy a solution that will conform to your customers and brand partners, without relying on a one size fits all approach.

Navigate your business with Onport, a multi-vendor marketplace solution to scale your operations.

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