Reliving the eCommerce Expo 2014

Last week we attended the eCommerce expo at London Olympia. This two day event comprised of exhibitor stands, seminars and of course – the much needed visitors.

Arriving 45 minutes before the gates opened and ready to lend a hand – I was greeted by an empty, yet fully setup booth. The all-important handouts were neatly laid out, and the sweets (meant for our visitors) were looking oh-so tempting! What was left to do? Caffeine – the only way to start the day! It’s a testament to our marketing team that with almost an hour to spare we were ready to go. “Would you grab the exhibitor badge scanners from the office please” was the only remaining request.

A quick introduction with our neighbouring vendors and we were off. The gates opened at 10am, and slowly but surely the visitors started to roll in.

It never ceases to amaze me – the mixture of characters you meet at these events. I often wonder why some of them attend. “Good morning” – I greet them as they wander by. Some stop to stare at the pop-ups and the company information on display. You can see the cogs in their head spinning, “what do they do? Should I run away or should I return a greeting? I don’t want to be sold to, retreat!” This was the majority, but those of a less timid disposition did smile and engage.

Perhaps it’s just me – a naturally inquisitive individual who is always asking questions. Once I conclude the relevance, it’s easy to thank them for their time and move long, or ask for a follow up. Often with a polite “I’m not sure this is relevant for me but I appreciate your information. It’s always good to see how other businesses in the industry operate. Enjoy the rest of the event.” We are all here to network after all…

The (hopefully) soon to be customers that did engage were open about the challenges they faced, and asked how we would possibly help. The fact that we have CapitaConnect – widgets allowing our system to talk to theirs – was always welcomed as a pleasant surprise. “No more emailing? That will improve our workflow and certainly lower our operating costs”.

I also managed to sit in on a couple of seminars across the course of the 2 day event. The first was entitled “Effective localisation as a driver to boost international online sales” by Amir Schlachet from Global-E. The intro slide pops up with what’s going to be covered, and with half a dozen points on the agenda, it looks like it’s all around payments. OK great – this fits with our business offering – possibly a complementary service I think.

The talk was useful. Amir discussed the importance of doing your homework for each market. ‘Make it easy for your customer to buy’ was the overarching message. Do this by considering shipping, currency offering, payment methods and possible risks. But wait, why is language not being expanded on as a great consideration? Time for Q&A!

The arms go up! The second question was about language, and it was a great one. He must be another language supplier I thought. The response to his question – “if you don’t get language right it can have a detrimental effect. Often it can cause people to feel tricked“. I agree entirely – to not factor localisation into your global expansion plan at all could be a costly decision. Is it a corner you want to cut, or worse still, do it badly!?

Capita TI team at eCommerce ExpoWe always sit down with our customers to understand their goals before we present any solutions, as we believe that this is the only way to ensure needs are properly met. Businesses invest heavily into branding, so a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution doesn’t often work. Tone and style are important factors to ensure that the messages for your brand are consistent and carry the right messages in the intended market.

All in all it was a great event. The key take away for me was that it’s all about the customer experience. More often than not – that’s your opportunity for conversion – don’t drop the ball by making it hard for the site visitors as they’ll be less likely to return. Consider each element of the process and select the right partners who will help you to reach your goals.

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