Know strategies to drive success of your eCommerce business as Big Data & AI shape its future: IE’s eCommerce Innovation Summit

The eCommerce Innovation Summit, 2018 – powered by the Innovation Enterprise, brings together the senior leaders in ecommerce, sales, marketing and digital space, to discuss about the latest ecommerce strategies and opportunities in the market.

The event kick-started on 20th March at San Francisco and has brought in over 28 speakers and an interactive audience of 100 business executives. The key discussion points this year are:

  • Identifying and adopting new digital trends like virtual reality, chatbots, etc.
  • Ways to enhance the modern mobile shopping experience.
  • Growth of AI applications.
  • Cross channel marketing.
  • Required skill set of an ecommerce team.
  • Ways to build and develop brand credibility.

This year, the event has been co-located with the Chief Marketing Officer Summit, in which discussions are held for multi-channel brand strategy, evolution of social media and ways of survival, and how CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) can be used as a tool to develop brand identity.

The first day at the event was full of learning with key sessions and networking exchanges. Marat Gazlev – Director of SEO, IGN Entertainment, took the opening keynote, wherein he discussed the importance of schema markup for ecommerce sites. He shared some tricks and tips to leverage schema markup to stand out in Google’s search results.

Virginia Hines, Product Director, Yahoo Payment Platform, Yahoo, in her session Opportunities and challenges for eCommerce merchants in the evolving payments industry discussed about rapidly changing payment modes and how merchants need to use a plenty of methods and tools to ensure secure transactions. She discussed about merchant side changes in the Yahoo/Oath Global Payments to enhance the security of online payments and present an opportunity for payment service providers.

Annie Barry – Product Manager, Front End Optimization, Levi Strauss & Co. discussed about how brands can develop a data-driven and brand centric product roadmap using their unique identity. She discussed about sprint planning prioritization methods in her session.

Later, Tanumoy Ghosh – Director, Platform Analytics and Customer Data Science, Customer and Strategy, GAP, took a session on Powering customer experiences through data science, wherein he emphasized the impact of customer experience on a brand’s image, how data science can be used to study each phase of customer’s buying journey and ensure maximum customer satisfaction.

Gaurav Agarwal – VP Growth, Molekule in his session Finding your channel mix in a disparate ecosystem said that in the last 3 years, total advertising spends in the US increased by only 20%, whereas digital advertising spends increased by 70% and mobile spend by over 200%. He discussed about the major pitfalls that a brand can commit while choosing an advertising channel mix and how to select the right channel mix for maximizing cost efficiency.

Luke Edson – CRO at Future PLC talked about how to drive qualified consumers to purchase leveraging custom content. He discussed how brands and retailers can build a unique ecommerce approach, which is completely integrated to provide a smooth path to purchase for the consumers.

The event also had an interesting session on the role of AI and machine learning to drive user engagements in ecommerce. Karthik Bala – Head of Data Strategy, Conde Nast, discussed about how publishers can use operational optimization in marketing, personalization and advanced search. He said that AI is shaping the future of shopping with processes like automated inventory planning, dynamic pricing etc.

General Assembly, in association with L’Oréal, conducted a skill assessment test of digital marketing wherein over 20,000 people participated. The session headed by Chief Marketing Officer at General Assembly – Edward Nevraumont, revealed the details of the digital marketing gap to eventually find out about the skills that companies require in order to differentiate themselves in the market.

Chang Li – VP of Technology at Contentful, shared with the audience his experience of building out an ecommerce solution based on headless architecture on the Amazon Cloud leveraging Contentful, for a North American Telco.

Elizabeth Carbone – Lead Product Manager, Hotel Tonight, discussed about ways to grow your shopping revenue across your mobile sites.

The first day at the event was full of informational sessions and the second day will again bring in more knowledge for the ecommerce folks.

Stay tuned to get more details.


The Web World: Who Owns Who?

There seems to be many companies around, but that’s not actually true. There are only a handful of parent companies that own hundreds of little companies.

It’s no surprise that the market is shrinking. It’s destroying the competition in the market and creating monopolies.

How are these big companies staying on top?

In this article, I’ll share with you what strategies the big companies are using to stay on top and limit competition in the market.

#1 Thinking About the Future
Companies such as Facebook, Google, Expedia and Amazon are always thinking about the future.

They analyze what they did in the past and where the current trends are going.

Facebook’s new Newsfeed algorithms will make a more personable and engaging experience for its users. Facebook listened when users said they didn’t want to see irrelevant and posts they don’t value anymore. As a result, Facebook users will see more things that they like and ads will be less clickbait-like.

Another example is Amazon’s new social media platform called Spark. They understood how its users spend their time on other social media platforms and wanted to mimic it.

Spark is a cross between Pinterest and Instagram – which is owned by Facebook – that lets users scroll through items based on their interest. If they like an item, they can make a purchase without switching apps. It simplifies things and makes the shopping experience more engaging for the user.

These are just a couple of examples of how companies are always looking forward to create a new or improved experience for their users.

#2 Looking at the Competition
Companies that spend more time looking at the competition improve their strategies more than the ones that don’t.

Big companies don’t just analyze other company’s strategies, they also figure out how those strategies could help or hurt their own business.

Facebook makes strategies that make other companies adjust to them instead of the opposite.

Taking Facebook’s new Newsfeed algorithm example, businesses who use Facebook marketing have to adjust their strategies. If they don’t, they risk not popping up on their target audience’s newsfeed with videos and other marketing posts.

#3 Analyzing Customer Data
Companies pay attention to customer statistics and data brought in through behavior.

Big companies use this data to test new strategies on a small group and figure what works and doesn’t work. Afterwards, they release solutions to the general public.

#4 Using Outside Consultants
Companies use their own company’s employees to help run their day-to-day business tasks. However, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for them to research outside of the company realm.

Companies such as Facebook and Amazon hire outside consultants to help them understand the market, their competitors, and how their strategy could improve.

#5 Attacking the Competition
Along with following the competition, big companies also attack them too.

Throughout the years, Expedia has not shied away from purchasing smaller travel-related companies. Mind, smaller doesn’t mean small at all, as the likes of Orbitz, TripAdvisor, HomeAway are anything but insignificant.

These acquisitions allowed Expedia to diversify its portfolio, get valuable personnel, eliminate competition and, ultimately, to provide a much more rounded product, meeting all the needs of the globetrotters.

Companies analyze how another company is at a disadvantage and takes advantage of it.

They attack their competition in a way that they cannot easily “fight” back.

Have you seen any of these tactics in use?

This clarifies how and why the big companies stay on top and why they buy the little ones or push them out of the market.To understand how the web world operates, one needs to know which are the parent companies and what number of small companies they own.

The Infographic below gives you an overview of – The Web World: Who owns who?

Guest Author: Karthik Reddy