Last Wednesday night, I gave a talk to some of the brightest minds in omnichannel retail marketing, at the top of the Gherkin.
That’s right, at the top of the Gherkin. Now, anybody that knows me will attest that for all of my (many) talents, standing up in front of a crowd to deliver a speech / presentation / anything at all is not where my light shines brightest… However, going in at the top (literally) I had an amazing time both listening to the insights brought by other speakers, and sharing my thoughts on organic search’s importance in the omnichannel mix.
Huge thanks to Nathan Lomax and Quickfire Digital for hosting the event, and for giving both Hive19 & I the pleasure of a live audience, and a room full of eCommerce marketing experts.
This was the final Engage With eCommerce live event of 2023, discussing the burning hot topic of omnichannel marketing. For those not familiar with the term, it refers to the strategy of employing multiple touchpoints for a consumer to engage with throughout the purchasing process, both digital and physical.
Setting the scene
Firstly, what a venue. The very top of the Gherkin provided the setting, and with it came the quite spectacular views of an illuminated London and the beautiful architecture visible within – at the apex of one of London’s most iconic buildings.
Nathan is a natural host, and effortlessly kicked off the night off with welcomes before handing over to ‘the queen of omnichannel’, Miya Knights.
Retail Technology Magazine Publisher, Author, Consultant
Miya opened proceedings with a fascinating insight to omnichannel, setting the scene with her talk on: Omnichannel retail – winning with customers to make a profit.
‘The world has gone digital’, but leading that charge is the UK eCommerce holds the highest percentage of all retail sales within the country:
- 26.5% UK
- 19.6% Germany
- 19.2% Netherlands
- 18.8% US
- 14.9% France
- 10.4% Spain
- 10.2% Italy
On top of this interesting insight, Miya made a number of excellent points – which, in summary were:
“Winners make a digital connection through Places, Things & People”
“Winners orchestrate through using data of Sales, Stock & Customers”
- Know your best customers
- Find more like them
- Run a better business
Introduce digital, and utilise the D.I.A.L. framework:
Finishing up this excellent introduction to the evening, Miya left us with:
- Focus on how you sell what you sell
- Understand who you are selling to
- Update when and where you sell
- Refine what you sell
Next, the first panel of the evening saw one question each for:
Yasamine Beheshti – Head of e-Commerce
Rehab El Hadari – Sr.Partner Manager UK
Jerome Billiet – Co-Founder
Scott Sutcliffe – Senior Digital Activation Manager
This was a fabulous insight into the experience of each panel member, and the journey that has led them into the positions they now hold. The themes of the evening were building, and relevance was definitely the one that resonated most with me.
Next up, my time to shine!
Supercharging organic authority
Aaron Thomas – Managing Director
This was a fabulous moment for me, and for Hive19. Sharing our experience in content marketing and organic’s place in the omnichannel mix was a real pleasure.
My talk, Supercharging Organic Authority in eCommerce, focused on the potential untapped sources of authority for eCommerce stores, and how marketers can maximise their visibility in a search engine to begin the purchasing process in the best possible way.
68% of consumers begin their online journey with a search engine, so it stands to reason that having a solid foundation from which to build other touchpoints is fundamental to that purchasing process.
On top of real world examples, we covered:
- Reputation Management
- 10X Content
- Topical Authority
We brought along the latest batch of honey from the local beehives that we sponsor to share with everyone, to demonstrate the power of a brand’s purpose and values in the purchasing journey. If you missed out on a jar, you can join our waitlist for the next batch.
With a warm crowd sweetened by mini jars of Hive19 honey and my dulcet tones, Meta’s Ryan Daly took the stage.
Ryan Daly – Client Solutions Manager
Ryan opened with the simple breakdown of omnichannel, and what it means to the work they do at Meta. “Omnichannel simply refers to different locations. You can have omnichannel marketing, in that you are advertising on TV, Radio & Digital. However, omnichannel retailing is more like going to try on a bunch of clothes in a store before meeting a friend for dinner, and then buying them online on the train home.”
Like a few of the other speakers, Ryan mentioned the pandemic and how we are starting to see trends revert to something like the old ways. In store shopping has come back after Covid, with ONS reporting 72% of conversions happening in-store since Jan 2023.
The pandemic inflated online sales shopping, and it’s now reverting to the previous trendline with consumers returning back to the store to make purchases.
According to data released by McKinsey, omnichannel shoppers make 70% more frequent purchases – and 34% spend more than against the solely in-store shoppers.
Ryan’s top tips for maximising your visibility across Meta products included:
Be relevant with localised creative
- Dynamically display products from your local inventory
- Include a map card highlighting your nearest location
- Show local pricing and availability at local store
- Limit products to only those available at local store
Ryan’s 3 main takeaways, were:
- Be where people are
- Be relevant
- Test and learn
A quick refreshment break followed Ryan’s talk, where Nathan helped to share out the remaining pots of Hive19 honey. I could relax a little bit, and even have a cheeky beer now that my talk was complete. Part 2 kicked off soon after with the final solo speaker, Richard Lim.
The state of omnichannel in the UK
Richard Lim – Chief Executive
During our chat in the interval, it was clear that Richard is a heavyweight in the retail marketing world, having achieved great success with his firm Retail Economics – and his talk on the State of omnichannel in the UK confirmed this.
Presenting the data behind purchasing trends and decisions, Richard brought to life the facts behind how consumers are interacting with retail brands, and what it means for the seller.
Using Retail Economics primary data, we learned that:
- 13% shop entirely online
- 26% shop mostly online, but sometimes in-store
- 29% shop sometimes online, but mostly in-store
- 32% shop almost entirely in-store
- 39% of shoppers opt for online-first
- 61% of shoppers opt for in-store first
Possibly the most intriguing stat came from the next slide, comparing generations. As you’d think, the online-first approach increased from boomers to Gen Z, but Gen X are reverting to a store-first approach:
- 36% Gen Z (18-24)
- 45% Millennials (25-44)
- 39% Gen X (45-64)
- 31% Boomers (65+)
From this data, it would appear that the trend with Gen Z is favouring more in-store commerce, which bucks the trend seen through the generations. This, could be argued is omnichannel – where products are viewed first in-store, and then purchased online.
In some ways quite predictably, the most affluent demographic begin their shopping experience with an online-first approach:
- 37% Least affluent
- 39% Middle income
- 44% Most affluent
And, quite predictably – those that work from home adopt an online-first approach:
- 48% work from home
- 38% commuters
Electricals and clothing are the biggest beneficiaries of the entirely online approach, with food, DIY and gardening seeing the most in-store consumers.
A fabulous insight from Richard was rounded off with the advice that omnichannel needs to be adopted at every stage of the value chain. From design and manufacture right the way through to support and loyalty.
Finally, to round off the talks before the networking and drinks… another fabulous panel who each shared great insight into omnichannel, and how the future looks.
Each panel member also expertly answered the question (amongst others) “What tip would you give to everyone here to adopt omnichannel marketing in 2024”:
James Dyer – Chief Executive Officer & Co-founder
A: “Use all of the data you have on your consumers, go back to the drawing board and create your communication strategy with the knowledge you have, not what you think.”
James Barber – VP Customer | Product
A: “Adopt phygital (the cross between physical and digital)”
Ian Moore – CEO
A: “Sync your systems and ensure you have live inventory wherever possible”
Hannah Goldie – Marketing Manager
A: “Automate wherever you can, and ensure you have a clear and concise message throughout every seller or reseller.”
Kirsty Jarvis – Founder & CEO
A: “Find out where your demographic are hanging out, and speak to them directly there.”
Sabrina D’Angelis – Strategic Partnerships Manager
Stephen Jones – Ecom Tech Geek | Partnerships
Quickfire Digital’s Engage With eCommerce Omnichannel was an inspiring evening, and a real pleasure to be a part of. Bringing together some of the leading minds in the eCommerce and retail industry, the key takeaway is the adoption of digital and where value can be added to your consumer’s purchase decision.
From Miya’s opening, setting the scene with ‘the world has gone digital’ right the way through to Richard’s insight into how the different generations are behaving – it is clear that marketing strategies need to continue evolving toward relevance, and targeting where your consumers are.
Whilst consumers are now afforded more choice than ever before, marketers also have more avenues in which to demonstrate their company’s brand values and product benefits. Whilst search engines are fundamental to beginning the entire process, a consumer’s ability to shop around presents many more touchpoints in where your brand needs to be front and centre, and ahead of the competition.
If you’d like to better understand your brand equity and share of voice in organic search, request an authority check and we will analyse your online presence and identify ways to start building the trust and credibility that is so fundamental to omnichannel marketing.