The future of e-commerce envisioned by the hosts of Lengow Day

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Last month, various hosts of leading podcasts joined our annual event Lengow Day to host discussions on hot topics in the world of e-commerce.

From live commerce to SEO to the circular economy… in today’s article, these experts share their vision of the future of this constantly evolving market.

1/ Who will come out on top of the Covid-19 crisis, and why?

Chloë Thomas – eCommerce Masterplan – Podcast host

“I think the winners will be the companies who already had the tech stack in place, and the team with the skill to adapt fast. You’ve got to have both the people and the tech – got the tech, not got the right people? You won’t move fast enough or effectively enough. Got the people and not the tech? You’re going to lose the people – because there are a LOT of great jobs going out there, and constantly being thwarted by bad tech is no one’s idea of a fulfilling work life.

I hope as an industry we keep our reactiveness, and continuing basing our business decisions on what the customers want. Being forced to do this has been a change for the good.

Carina McLeod – eCommerce Nurse – Podcast host

“Those that survive will be those businesses that can quickly adapt, are flexible and open to change. The retail dynamics have changed, I don’t believe they will revert back. Instead, there is a new way of working and businesses need to keep up with the changes. Those that will truly succeed are those that are prepared to innovate and lead in their industry. Those businesses that will struggle are those that don’t move forward and resist change, waiting for things to go back to how they were.”

2/ How do you see the live commerce market growing currently? How do brands adopt this new sales channel?

Frédéric Clément – Lengow – CMO

“The live streaming phenomenon has become an effective e-commerce tool, enabling brands to engage with their audiences. Marketers call upon celebrities and influencers to showcase products, talk through their functionalities and demonstrate usage techniques via live stream.

It’s no secret that the West plays catch-up with China in all things e-commerce and social media. For live commerce it’s no different. Social platforms are increasingly shoppable and brands need to start adapting to them, but more interestingly in China, we see the rise of “retailtainment”, with e-commerce sites transforming into social platforms. Let’s bear in mind that in the West, Amazon just launched AmazonLive for Prime Day. Retailers should watch this space!”

Carina McLeod – eCommerce Nurse – Podcast host

“Video streaming is becoming more and more popular, it’s inevitable that this popularity will carry over to the world of retail. Starting off as a channel to drive awareness and engagement and then converting the interest into a sale not to mention creating a sense of urgency to make a purchase. Live streaming similar to social media platforms will require constant attention and newness. For example, it’s like working with Instagram, once the post goes live it will have a certain window when it is easily visible and the audience is engaged but that window is short and even shorter with live streaming. Brands in this space will need to be constantly producing fresh content to drive continual engagement and convert that interest into a sale.”

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3/ Which marketing channels are essential for driving performance, and which are essential for branding?

Chloë Thomas – eCommerce MasterPlan – Podcast host

Sales performance is all about your advertising (Facebook, Google, Influencers, etc.), and direct communication channels (SMS and email). Those channels you have control over, can clearly track results from, and can optimise to drive greater performance.

Branding has to be right everywhere. The consumers don’t follow one path so we need to be on-brand everywhere. But content, websites, and social should be invested in by anyone looking increase the power of their brand.”

Carina McLeod – eCommerce Nurse – Podcast host

“All brands need to have a social media presence not solely to sell but to be able to share more about the brand, what it stands for and build a community. Many people these days are buying into brands that have a story that resonates with them, that they believe in. It is not just about finding the cheapest product on the market, brand ethics are becoming an important factor. Many brands that we work with on Amazon that are seeing huge success, have a strong presence on Facebook and Instagram. The most successful channel often depends on the product and target audience. Therefore it is important that brands have a clear social media strategy and know their customer for maximum engagement, click through and sales growth.”

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4/ What do you think makes e-commerce SEO different or unique compared to optimising other websites?

Luke Carthy – eCommerce Growth Consultant

As an e-commerce SEO consultant, the stuff I dream of and ask for all the time is: content strategy, proper funnel assessment – the whole growth funnel, from discovery right the way through to purchase. 

Some advice if you’re a new player on the e-commerce market with a small budget to play with: carve out a niche, find your richest most engaged audience and build it from there. Start small, think big. Your SEO foundation needs to be solid from the beginning.

Chloë Thomas – eCommerce MasterPlan – Podcast host

Product and category pages! Simple automation will do a lot of the work for you, but to make the most of the key ones you need to get focused. The flip side of that of course is that products and categories die – so you need to be ready to deal with the SEO implications of that not just the customer experience implications.”

5/ What brands are already getting circular e-commerce right?

Cyril Artur du Plessis – Les digital doers – Podcast host

Circular e-commerce is more than a trend. This is something which is relatively new in the economy and increasingly used by brands and by retailers. In France, we can see lots of examples of brands that operate with a secondhand supply: Jacadi or Cyrillus for kids’ fashion. They now provide customers with a way to buy secondhand clothes. There is also Back Market, which is a big new player in the refurbished tech market. These businesses are built on the circular model.”

Frédéric Clément – Lengow – CMO

Consumers increasingly embrace social causes and seek products and brands that align with their values. Brands and retailers should reiterate their commitment to a new, circular model to remain relevant to their customers.

In the past few years, we have seen a wave of new digital platforms responding to this problem, enabling consumers to buy and sell used items, such as Vinted or BackMarket.

Brands are also increasingly focused on offering better service to consumers. Let’s take giants FnacDarty or H&M for example, who have a focus on in-store repair services. Repairing is always more ecologically friendly than replacing products, but at the heart of the circular e-commerce models, products should be designed to last.

A huge thanks to Carina McLeod (eCommerce Nurse), Chloë Thomas (eCommerce MasterPlan), Cyril Artur du Plessis (Les digital doers), Luke Carthy and Lengow’s CMO Frédéric Clément for these insights and for hosting these inspiring conversations.

Did you miss the round tables on Lengow Day? It’s not too late!

Naomi Botting

Communications Manager - UK/NORDICS