Ecommerce Development London
This Wednesday kicked off the annual eCommerce Expo, the biggest ecommerce industry conference in the UK, which was hosted at Kensington Olympia in London. The eCommerce Expo, held from October 2-3, brings together leading vendors, thought leaders, retailers and marketers under one roof, creating an excellent opportunity to network, exchange ideas and learn about the latest trends and technologies available to today’s online stores. Although the networking and exploring was a big aspect of the conference, the highlight for me was the series of keynotes, and in particular the panels for each day.
On the first day, a panel discussion on ‘The Internal Struggles of the Multichannel Team, ’ brought up various insights into navigating the growth of ecommerce within a bricks and mortar business. Director of Practicology Nupur Manchanda chaired the discussion between David Cottage, former Head of E-Commerce at Hewlett-Packard, and Steven Wilson, Head of eCommerce at Sony Mobile Communications. Their discussion centred on what difficulties a newly formed multichannel ecommerce team faces from above, from within and from other departments.
Nupur discussed how ecommerce teams undergo three main life stages:
This is when ecommerce teams are initially formed, usually from Marketing and Sales, to form a small group of innovators. Only about 35% of teams have management positions within, and most are gathered from across departments. This causes many ecommerce teams to feel both alienated, and insecure about relationships to other departments, especially higher ups who may not be sold on digital jargon alone. They survive on miniscule budgets and hope for the best…
2) Hippo Culture
This is the point at which an ecommerce team is accounting for about 20% revenue of a company, and begins to earn respect (and oversight) from above. The problem with this is that once ecommerce begins to show promise, those from above (so-called hippos), who may not understand the research-driven proposals for budget and campaign, will try to become involved. One example included a team working and researching the design of a website for months, only for a manager to say they want the CTA on the other side, and to change the colours too... ahhhh! Many times, higher ups will sideline ecommerce teams without meaning to, but because they aren’t aware of the complexities of selling online, they will want to steer without the proper metrics and goals in mind.
3) Data-driven Success
Data-driven ecommerce teams usually have a solid set of experienced individuals who have the proper tools to create compelling campaigns, can say they have company clout, and are able to work semi-autonomously because they back up their arguments and campaigns with the right metrics. They are able to garner support from above, from within and from other departments. This is exactly where all ecommerce teams should aim to be, while continuing to optimise and test metrics according to strategy and consumer reactions.
One of the big lessons from the panel was that today’s ecommerce teams face a number of complex obstacles, whether they are getting sidelined within a larger Marketing or Sales department who hold the purse strings, or they risk getting micromanaged by execs from above. They also face struggles from within a team when learning on the job is mixed with diverging goals for ecommerce. The truth is, many ecommerce teams learn on the job about how to manage selling online and making a place for themselves within a company, but getting to the mature third stage of a successful ecommerce team requires being data-driven from the beginning, differentiating the KPIs needed for the short and long term, and building a team from diverse backgrounds who can contribute and see things in new ways. It is also vital to stay customer-focused, rather than tool-focused, as this will allow you to listen to how customers are interacting with your company, and plan your roadmap that way.