ChannelAdvisor Catalyst UK: Scot Wingo Keynote

Scot Wingo‘s annual keynote at Catalyst is always worth listening to because he is accountable to his customers and they want results. He doesn’t deal in theoretical coolness or geeky oneupmanship: he is interested in things that work (perhaps a reflection of his engineering training?), deliver sales and help CA merchants. This year was no different and he presented an engaging and illuminating overview of the global ecommerce landscape. Here are the notes I made.

Overview
– ChannelAdvisor sellers sold $2.1bn GMV in 2007 ($1.6bn in 2006): about $7m a day. Expect $3bn in 2008.

– European ecommerce has now equalled US ecommerce and will grow faster year-on-year to 2012. Asia is growing too.

– Search continues to grow as a critical online sales channel.

– A multi-channel selling strategy is a must: if you’re limiting youself to eBay you’re only addressing a quarter of the opportunity.

– A successful mix includes search, comparison shopping engines, direct sales from a website and marketplaces.

Comparison Shopping Engines
– CSEs are the ‘forgotten channel’. Some ChannelAdvisor customers generate 40% of their GMV from CSEs: what could it be doing for you?

– UK CSE usage by shoppers is greater than EU and US at 50%.

– Wingo explained CSE 2.0: there is a new wave of CSEs out there so if you have previously dismissed CSEs as a channel, it might be time to reassess that decision.

– Old CSEs (such as Shopping.com, kelkoo etc) were based on cost per click. New sites have emerged and business models centred on reviews, social networks, cost per action and vertical niches (such as apparel and DIY) now exist.

– ChannelAdvisor supports 98 CSEs and is adding more each week. Some examples: ciao, pronto, jellyfish, smarter, shoplocal, bobvila, thefind.com, buzzillions.

– Google Product Search (which is the #5 US CSE) has the chance to be very disruptive. Tweaked and enhanced Statside last year, expect the same changes in the UK soon. It’s free! Get to it!

Marketplaces
– eBay is growing slower than ecommerce. Amazon is growing at a magnificent pace for two reasons: Amazon Prime (essentially a subscription service that means you get unlimited next day delivery) and the Third Party Network.

– Third Party Network allows sellers to enhance Amazon’s own inventory, and genuinely provide Amazon with long tail niches. For Amazon, it can mean good revenue and low costs (because they aren’t storing or despatching the goods.)

– Amazon’s experiment has inspired other retailers to append a third party element to their own websites. Check out play.com and pixmania.

Emerging Trends
– No surprise that web usage and traffic has moved from portals to social networks and community sites in the last few years.

– Facebook has seen 305% YoY growth in membership. Adds 250k members daily. >50% of members use Facebook every day (!). And they’re gradually adding and exploring promotional and selling tools: watch out for Facebook ‘Beacon’.

Quip
– On Yahoo getting close to Google to see off Microsoft: ‘..like cutting off your left arm to save your leg.”

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