Sarah Davies, a partner lead at Google, is speaking at InternetRetailing Expo (IRX 2018). Ahead of the event, she spoke to InternetRetailing on transforming a business into a mobile-first champion amongst the competition of multichannel juggernauts’ such as Amazon and Google.
IR: At IRX 2018 you will be discussing the importance of a mobile-first strategy in an omnichannel market in a presentation-Mobile: Understanding the metrics that matter for retail. Can you tell me about one challenge that is particularly important in this area? And one major benefit?
SD: My role is to help commercial web publishers thrive in a digital future. We help them to effectively monetise their websites, be that on desktop, tablet or mobile, through their own sales or ads revenue, and what we are seeing is user migration away from the desktop and onto mobile. Yet, the majority of partners we work with are still developing their mobile strategy and platform, and as such are not giving their users a best in class experience. Traditionally their focus has been on building better stores or on the desktop experience, depending on their origins; and mobile has grown up so fast, that they haven’t yet pivoted their strategy to meet this new form of user interaction.
In this increasingly competitive ecommerce market, commerce players need to be truly omnichannel, giving their best experience to consumers at each and every touch point in their shopping journey, and that means having an excellent mobile experience as part of it. If they can do that, if mobile can become a core strategic aspect of the online sales model, and one that works seamlessly in this modern world, then the benefit should be increased engagement which you can translate into sales and loyalty.
IR: What would one piece of advice you give to retailers looking to improve site performance and the quality of the conversion across all devices to become the champion of the multichannel operations?
SD: Without giving too much away before the conference, I would say the ecommerce publishers need to focus on designing for speed and context. Without speed, you will lose consumers before they can convert. Consumers expect sites to load in 2 secs or less. It’s a high bar, but one that we should all be aiming for. And without context, consumers won’t understand what you are showing them, they won’t feel engaged, and they won’t have a satisfying user journey.
IR: In your view, what’s the most important upcoming trend in multichannel/ecommerce that is set to change the way we shop – and sell? Why do you think this is so important?
SD: There is a lot of work being done around assistance at the moment. Google’s Assistant, Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa are setting the bar, but I believe it could expand much further than this. Recent headlines have discussed the rise of chat assistants on websites, and technology using AI and machine learning to make smarter suggestions and help us navigate online. We have also read about more traditional means such as email marketing seeing growth again, but now more carefully curated for relevance to the individual, e.g. for fashion or wine. It’s about making that personal connection, knowing the customer and surfacing only the most relevant news and items for them. In this fast-paced world, consumers are demanding more and retailers can make this a success by winning both hearts and minds, if they (as we like to say) show up, speed up and wise up!
IR: What are you most looking forward to at IRX (beyond your own presentation)?
SD: I’m really looking forward to hearing a few more mobile stories, particularly from Kurt Geiger and John Lewis on some of the work they’ve been doing. I am a bit of a technology fan, so I hope to listen to the Innovations & Future presentations, to hear about some of the new technologies that could be changing the retail experience over the new few years.