Ecommerce Expo 2023 Roundup: Navigating Digital Transformation

2nd October 2023

Ecommerce Expo 2023 was a resounding success that brought together industry leaders, innovators, and ecommerce enthusiasts from all around. This year's expo proved to be a pivotal event for Unified, offering a comprehensive view of the evolving ecommerce landscape and shining valuable light onto the future of digital retail.

The event featured a lineup of renowned speakers, tech partners and merchants who shared their expertise and visions for the industry's future. Keynote presentations, panel discussions, and workshops gave us a wealth of knowledge and networking opportunities.

"The UK’s only event that covers everything related to online trade, 27 - 28 September 2023 at ExCeL London!

Be a part of the latest conversations happening in eCommerce, gain exclusive insights tailored to your areas of interest, and connect with pioneers in the industry."

We started our day aboard the Sunborn yacht for breakfast, where Klevu and Storykblok astounded us with their work on Paul Smith’s website. It is great to see live examples of how tech partners working together can be really beneficial for both agencies and brands; providing a varied approach and expert communication.

We also dove deeper into the latest buzzword ‘composable commerce’ and how this modern approach to ecommerce architecture emphasises flexibility, modularity, and adaptability. It has allowed Paul Smith’s businesses to build their ecommerce solutions by piecing together various microservices and components, rather than relying on a monolithic ecommerce platform.

An interesting moment was discussing the need for an external agency rather than in house (don’t worry a whole blog is coming about this). It was evident that there are of course pros and cons to both, but the main pro was that internal developers can’t keep up with headless tech stacks, whilst agencies have the expertise in house that covers a variety of tech stacks and platforms; not to mention more time to get stuck into long terms projects.

The power of personalisation

Personalisation is still an emerging dominant theme throughout the industry. From AI-driven product recommendations to tailored customer experiences, the importance of catering to individual preferences and needs was underscored at the expo. Personalisation makes customers feel valued and understood. When businesses cater to individual preferences, customers are more likely to have positive interactions and experiences.

Email marketing

We joined Shopify, StrategiQ Marketing, and MailChimp to hear about the importance of email and its role in the future of ecommerce marketing. News flash; email marketing is not dead!

This talk explored the role of email in personalising marketing for maximum profitability and discussed how merging technologies like AI will be transformative in helping ecommerce businesses and marketers tell their brand story, engage their customers, delight them, and deliver value on the way to increasing sales via email.

Consumer experience insights

A deep dive into consumer behaviour in the digital age was a highlight. We gained valuable insights into changing consumer expectations, the role of social commerce, and the impact of mobile shopping. Dermalogica’s Kevin Rowlands (Senior Ecommerce Growth Manager), Casio’s Monique Green (Ecommerce Manager), and Nosto’s Phil Gregory (Head of Customer Experience, UK Nordics) discussed how to improve key online commerce metrics by putting your audience, product, and content intelligence to work in a single Commerce Experience Platform. It was clear that this would enable brands to scale campaigns and grow revenue. Casio and Dermalogica were two prime examples of  this; delivering superior commerce experiences on both the Shopify Plus and Adobe Commerce (Magento) platforms.

Let’s talk about peak

It wouldn’t be an ecommerce event without talking about peak season as we enter the run up to Black Friday, or should we say Black November as let’s be honest it is no longer just one day. IMRG presented an extremely detailed insight into their exclusive data revealing when retailers plan to start their Black Friday campaigns this year, and the sort of growth retailers can expect. It was evident that there are days that consumers naturally want to shop, such as pay day, despite whether there is a campaign running, or how long it is, yet brands are still sticking to the campaigns they have always run.

IMRG also explored how consumers are already looking into Christmas purchases and gifting, with the use of pay later options an discounted Black Friday products making payments easier to juggle with the extra costs during the holiday season.

Candy Kittens brand journey

A true highlight was the main keynote of day one; Jamie Laing and Edward Williams co-founders of Candy Kittens discussing the brands journey to date and where it’s headed. Candy Kittens' journey showcased how a commitment to quality, innovation, and sustainability can lead to the creation of a beloved and successful brand in the confectionery industry.

The main topic was following logic and staying on the right path to meet your goals; you may be faced with decisions along the way so always remember will this aid or hinder me. Wherever you’re headed or going know what your destination is before you begin otherwise you tend to get lost. We could spend a whole blog writing about this talk, but here are our takeaways:

  • Make sure to connect emotionally with your audience or consumer whether in store, online or through social media. Storytelling will emotionally connect you to your consumer and audience and therefore build an emotional connection which is much harder to break once the consumer becomes loyal to your brand.

  • Jamie expressed it is actually particularly hard to start a brand when the brand is associated to an influencer due to managing expectations of such a large audience who already associates a specific behaviour with the influencer. For example as he was on television a lot of people associated his on screen behaviour with a lack of seriousness and didn’t want to partner with him in the start. This taught him to chase his dream even harder!

  • Be different and be human. Don’t forget to be yourself when pitching an idea.

  • Candy Kittens continues to evolve, exploring new flavours, expanding its product range, and embracing sustainability as a core value to eventually knock “Haribo off their pedestal”.

Ecommerce Expo 2023 reinforced the notion that the ecommerce landscape is continually evolving. As digital retail becomes increasingly intertwined with our daily lives, businesses must remain agile, customer-centric, and environmentally conscious to thrive in this ever-changing ecosystem. It truly was a remarkable event that left us excited and prepared to shape the future of digital retail. As the ecommerce journey continues, the knowledge, insights, and connections forged at this expo will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in the success of businesses worldwide.

We aim to be your eyes and ears on the ground at these events and share whatever knowledge we glean, to save your time and budgets! However, if you would like to talk to Unified about any of these topics in more depth, please feel free to reach out for a no obligation conversation. We offer consultancy services that can support retail brands in their planning their ecommerce roadmap and marketing efforts. Get in touch now!

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