How to Be a Better eCommerce Leader and Inspire Your Team

The phrase, “Pick a boss, not a job,” has become popular in recent years, as company loyalty has been diluted in a digital world that brings constant change.

So, strong leadership is important for inspiring staff to develop, thrive and embrace the company vision. You can’t do anything well without great people, and for great people to flourish, you need to be a great leader.

Space 48’s Founder and MD, Jon Woodall, offers his advice for Heads of eCommerce on how to become better leaders and inspire their eCommerce teams.

Communicate Effectively and Empower Your Team

Effective communication is crucial. This applies to one-to-one interactions, as well as communications in meetings, workshops and during project planning. Fully understanding your team is vital.

We recommend that you assess the different personality types within your eCommerce team, as this will help you to understand individual traits and enable you to adapt and have better conversations.

Keep developing, improving and be inspired by others

You should always be open to learning, improving your skills and seeking inspiration from other leaders and thinkers. Being a good leader is about listening and learning from others, to make the right decisions more often than not.

Encourage your team to do the same and promote development from within. This will help your team to move out of their comfort zone and expand their skills. No matter what the job role or level of seniority, every team member should have a voice and a platform to create an impact.

Learning is a key part of Space 48’s culture, and in our new office we created a space that would be the perfect environment to take this learning and development culture forward.

Be passionate about tech trends and changes

eCommerce is a fast-evolving industry and to be a successful Head of eCommerce you need to have a passion for technology and data. You should demonstrate this passion to inspire your team to embrace change and be innovative.

Your team will look to you for inspiration and direction, so providing an energetic and innovative working atmosphere will have a positive impact on your team.

Learn from your mistakes

The key to being a successful leader is to learn from your mistakes and be agile enough to make bold changes where necessary – we fully advocate mistake-driven success.

Don’t fear making big decisions, as you’re not going to get them all right. The more you learn from your mistakes (rather like how boxers often come back stronger from defeats and learn things about themselves through their failures), the easier it will become.

Build the right team around you

We aspire to work with the brightest people and our recruitment and acquisition approach reflects this. It’s important to create a varied dynamic of different personality types, skills and strengths. When it comes to growth, we strive to work with innovative individuals and ambitious organisations.

Surround yourself with amazing people and ensure your team has the right balance. This will make inspiring and leading your team much easier.


We hope you found these leadership tips and insights useful. A successful ecommerce team needs a good leader, who commands respect by demonstrating the right attitude and building the right working culture for people to develop and improve.

The Latest eCommerce Matters eBook Has Arrived

eCommerce Show North returned to EventCity, Manchester earlier this month, cementing itself as the largest event of its type outside of London.

Over the two days more than 2,500 delegates travelled to Manchester for the year’s biggest gathering of eCommerce companies, vendors and suppliers held outside the capital.

In this eBook – the third in our series – you will find interviews and articles from some of eCommerce Show North’s exhibitors. The pieces cover a range of topics that look to help you garner a deeper understanding of how to get ahead in Search Marketing, Product Information Data, Recruiting the right talent as well as interviews with senior professionals from Hopewiser, Kelkoo and the CEO of Kooomo.

The ebook includes content from:

Ciaran Bollard, CEO, Kooomo
Scott Hanson, Retail Product Information Specialist, Pimberly
Mike Garvey, Senior Business Development Manager, Click Consult
Kirsty Allen, Head of Social Media, Digital Media Team
Ed Schofield, Founder, Digital People
Neil Kuschel, CEO Europe, Global-e
Amy Croft, Portal Product Manager & Jon Good, General Manager UK, Hopewiser
Charlotte Mackenzie, PR Manager, Kelkoo
Katharina Hermann, PR Representative, Shopware

You can access the eBook here.

eCommerce Show North will be returning in 2019 in for two days on May 8th & 9th. 

Here Are the Key Takeaways From This Year’s eCommerce Show North

eCommerce Show North returned to Event City in Manchester earlier this month, cementing itself as the biggest gathering of eCommerce companies, vendors and suppliers held outside London in 2018.

Over the two days thousands of delegates arrived at the expo looking for innovative demos, panel debates, seminars and more to help them get ahead in a quickly evolving sector.

Below we have collected some of the biggest takeaways and learnings from this year’s expo. 

The two days saw over 60 different talks across four theatres


And more than 80 exhibitors giving out everything from sweets to champagne


B2B is a growing area in eCommerce and a lot of people are getting left behind


With a growing amount of innovative tech available, Umbraco made a point of ensuring that we don’t forget the human-touch


The expo has become a central point for the industry to meet, drive business and also network



The North is quickly becoming a real force in the sector


Manchester based Media Chain made a point of reminding companies to have a social-first approach to their content strategy


The event is a key part of a company’s marketing strategy, helping businesses create leads and build lasting relationships


Yes there were a lot of companies offering unique takes on the industry, but there was also a Big Red Bus selling alcohol for the exhibitor party


Companies were able to have their founders and directors deliver engaging talks that continued on to their stands


The expo also saw international companies travel over for the event, Yuqo below traveled from The Netherlands


Event Partner Space48 covered the data driven approach to a successful eCommerce strategy


Leeds was represented by the Google Shopping specialists, Bidnamic


Event Partner Endless Gain spoke in the Keynote Theatre on The Evolution of Conversion Optimisation


And Lead Sponsor UKFast covered The Psychology of Speed


How are brands getting ahead? Digital Creative Director of Two Jay – Tom Wittlin – highlighted where Patagonia, Uber and Kenco are succeeding


The event allows CEOs and Directors to share ideas and best practices


A range of topics were discussed at this year’s eCommerce Show North including the growing opportunities on offer in Voice and AI


For the first time, The Fashion Network took over a theatre and delivered a packed programme full of panels debates between Influencers, PR agencies, Talent Managers and more


All theatres were full across the two days with some even pouring out into the walkways


Our Lead Sponsor UKFast encapsulated the value of the event with a talk focussing on how to help businesses of all sizes exceed their expectations in 2019



Already excited for next year? Pre-register for your ticket here.

How Data And Addresses Affect Customer Service

Hopewiser were exhibitors at eCommerce Show North 2018. The below article originally appeared on their website.

Customer service. It’s at the forefront of your business, or at least it should be. Why is that? Because it’s your customers that are keeping you in business.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a B2B or a B2C organisation, you all sell products to people. Whether those people are corporate clients or individuals shopping via their smartphones, it’s imperative to your success that you get it right. If you don’t then I’m sure there are a sea of competitors out there just waiting to swallow your customers up.

But what constitutes as good and bad customer service? Well, bad customer service would cover such things as getting an address wrong and shipping your customers’ purchases to the wrong location. Additionally, sending out marketing material to a buyer who has moved house, or even to a deceased person. What may seem like a minor mistake at the time could have a large impact in the long run.

Think about it, if your customer doesn’t receive their purchase on account of a miscalculated postcode, or a bereaved family member receives a letter on behalf of the intended recipient, they’re going to be upset, right? They may subsequently take their business elsewhere, and whilst you may still not be worried at the prospect of losing the odd customer, word of mouth and repeated mistakes could potentially damage your reputation further down the line.

On the other hand, good customer service would entail the quick and effective delivery of purchases to the right addresses. If a customer or a business client receives their products to the address in which they provided within the allotted time frame, then they will be more likely to consider you for repeat purchase in the future.

Another example of good and considerate customer service would be running your database against a series of suppression files to see if any of your customers have either moved house or sadly passed away. In the event of the latter, it goes without saying that you should remove any deceased records from your database forthwith. Although bereaved friends and relatives won’t know to thank you for doing so, they will be appreciative of anyone who goes the extra mile to ensure that they don’t continue marketing to the deceased person in question.

It could be argued that customer service is just one aspect of the wider customer experience. There are many, many factors that accumulate to determine whether someone has a good or a bad experience when purchasing from you. There’s the accessibility of your website, the appearance and quality of the products, as well as their prices.

But what a lot of businesses fail to realise is that it’s something much more inconspicuous that has a large effect on customer experience. What’s that then, you ask? Data, my dear Watson.

Data is what helps make the world go around. Every organisation on this earth compiles data about their customers in one way or another. And what does that data include? Addresses, usually. Everyone has a forename and a surname, and everyone who purchases something online or signs up to a mailing list has an address. And every address has a postcode. Did you know that there are 30 million address points in the UK alone? That’s a lot! Therefore, it’s important that you match the right delivery address with the right customer. Because it’s no good having Mrs Walters receive Mr Jones’ watering can when she has been expecting a new pair of curling tongues.

Every ecommerce website needs accurate addressing and data solutions. Luckily for you, Hopewiser can bring a lot to ecommerce because addresses and data are what we are built on. With over 36 years of industry experience, I think we can safely say you can rely on us to help you improve your customers’ experience. Just take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Website Trends 2019. Also, our new online portal poses exciting new solutions that your business can benefit from at just the touch of a button.

Our Address Lookup service is a vital tool that you really cannot afford to live without as it is the quickest and most accurate online address and postcode lookup available. With no set-up and maintenance fees and free technical support, not only is it hassle free but you also get a no-obligation free trial to see if it is the solution for you. Just simply enter a postcode or partial address into the address finder and let Hopewiser do the rest of the work. Additionally, daily Postcode Address File (PAF) updates and the option to add international data sets and bank account validation means you’ll be able to use the tool to heighten your customers’ experience from all over the world.

If you decide that a web-based solution isn’t for you, fear not because we can tailor our software to suit the needs of your business with CRM integrations as well as installations in your company’s system. The latter is ideal for those organisations conducting large volumes of transactions as you can either pay per user or have a global licence fee.

Also available on the portal is our top of the range Address Cleanse solution, which is ideal for those who wish to run their customer database through a range of suppression files to ensure that their data is updated with any movers, goneaways, and deceased records. All you need to do is register online before uploading your files to receive instant cleansing and verification. Prices start from £35 and you’ll receive a free sample analysis of your data before choosing to pay.

Again, Hopewiser’s Data Cleansing services are also available as software installations or CRM integrations, so you’ll have complete peace of mind that you can continuously cleanse large amounts of your data and still receive optimum accuracy.

In a post GDPR world where there is an increasing awareness surrounding data protection, some businesses have taken it upon themselves to invest in technical areas such as cyber security to ensure that their customers’ experience is not negatively affected. For example, John Lewis and Partners recently announced a colossal 99% fall in profits to a pre tax sum of £1.2 million in the six months leading up to 28 July 2018. The retailer who owns Waitrose stated one of the reasons behind the vast decrease in profits is due to heavy investment in IT. One could assume that this increased focus is data related and could be a way of maintaining the corporations treatment of their customers, thus improving their experience.

All that remains for us to ask now is, how much do you value your customers’ experience? Very highly, we would hope! And whilst you may have the best of intentions, you may not even realise that a lacking address and postcode finder or outdated records may be damaging your reputation and your business as a whole more than you might think.

Don’t waste time wondering if you’re doing the right thing, contact Hopewiser today to see how we can help make it right.

Multi-Carrier Parcel Delivery Software: A Smart Solution for Growing Enterprises

SmartConsign will be exhibiting at this year’s eCommerce Show North. The below article originally appeared on their website.

As online retail soars so too does the demand for faster, better delivery, with most people in most instances expecting an option for next-day or free delivery.

In this landscape retailers can only benefit from having more carrier choices. A multi-carrier system has many advantages and helps to spread the risks as well as drive efficiencies by taking advantage of the unique strengths each carrier brings to the table.

Although carriers act largely outside of the control of the retailers they serve, the fact that customers are interacting with delivery suppliers at a much higher rate than ever before means that customers make judgements about the retailer in conjunction with making judgements about the delivery.  As a consequence, a poor delivery experience reflects poorly on the retailer – sometimes even more so than on the carrier. On the other hand if customers have come to view a specific carrier negatively they may choose not to purchase through a retailer in order to avoid dealing with their delivery option.

Despite the advantages, the thought of managing a multi-carrier system can be daunting and, in some cases, prohibitive. At SmartConsign we have created multi-carrier management software that makes management easier, not more difficult.

With access to 25 carriers using our simple, efficient system, retailers can effortlessly find and utilise whichever carrier best fits their needs, every time.

Key benefits of the SmartConsign multi-carrier management software

  • Carrier Agnostic System – our  software doesn’t charge carriers to be integrated on the system. This ensures all the information you access about carriers is totally independent and unbiased
  • Operational Efficiencies – you can access all carrier rates in one place, reducing the time it takes to research rates and process orders
  • Operational Flexibility – you can review carrier performance and easily benchmark carriers strengths and weaknesses. This gives you the flexibility to choose the best carrier for the job
  • Minimise Risk – the shipping logistics environment is subject to constant change (for example poor weather or traffic delays) having a choice of carriers at your fingertips gives you choice and helps mitigate risks
  • Buyer Power – with access to all the rates and performance of carriers you are in stronger position to negotiate and get best rates
  • Win new clients – match preferences for certain carriers – particularly if they are locked into certain contracts
  • Customer Service – our software gives you the ability to meet rising demands for shipping whether for same day or free delivery. With access to multiple carriers you are free to choose the best option for your brand
  • Returns Management – get enhanced ability to manage inbound shipping which allows you to access the right carrier at the right time for the job

In addition, we know that labelling can become an issue – at SmartConsign we’ve standardised all label formats to 4 by 6 inches, so there’s no need to worry about which carrier you’ll be using for each parcel – you can print off the same size label for all of them.

When Does Online Fraud Prevention Start to Turn Away Real Customers?

Kooomo are exhibiting at this year’s eCommerce Show North. The below blog originally appeared on their website.

There’s no way to completely avoid eCommerce fraud. There, we said it.

Sure, there are plenty of measures that retailers can take to ensure that they’re as protected as possible against fraud. Having a world class eCommerce platform with a built in automatic order system and algorithms designed to detect fraud is one that we happen to know a thing or two about!

And sure, there are lots of ways that you can limit the amount of fraudulent transactions coming through your online store. Like using CVV numbers. Making sure that you are fully PCI Compliant. Always checking that billing addresses match IP addresses. Tracking your packages. Honestly, we could go on all day.

Whether we like it or not, fraud is and will probably always be the number one threat to online retailers. Account takeover fraud rose by 45% in Q2 2017 alone, at the monstrous price tag of $3.3 billion. Merchants are up against it in a big way.  Fraudsters are no longer just stealing card details – they’re using local data to ensure that all of the information they provide online stacks up – names, postal addresses, IP addresses, the lot. Throwing even more fuel on the fire is the timeline that brands face when dealing with chargebacks, sometimes up to 180 days of investigation before liability is ultimately determined. Oh, and that liability tends to fall back on merchants more often than not, with an average of 8% of retailers’ revenue being pumped into managing online fraud.

Now on one hand, you can ramp up your security measures in a bid to shift liability and keep chargebacks to a minimum. But on the other hand, by doing that, your customer experience is undoubtedly going to take a hit.

Because what do real-life, legitimate customers want? They want frictionless checkout. And by frictionless, we mean one page wherever possible. They want the option to check out as a guest if they haven’t already registered on your site. They probably don’t want to be taken away from your website to complete 3D Secure authentication, then try to remember their password and possibly have to contact their bank to either set or reset their credentials. And they certainly don’t want to be contacted by a loss prevention manager for further authentication details simply because they decided to have an online shopping spree on payday!

A fine line

Clearly, we’re dealing with a fine line here. So are you damned if you do and damned if you don’t?

Well…yes and no.

Apart from the obvious financial implications around eCommerce fraud, the key cause for concern is really the reputation of your brand, and how it’s being viewed by your potential and existing customers. If, for example Dave randomly checks his bank account and sees transactions from your online store that he never made, he has to go through the rigmarole of contacting his bank and being out of pocket for however long it takes for the charge to be returned to him, through no fault of his own. Sure, chances are that Dave understands how online fraud works and that he’s one of the unlucky ones that unfortunately has to take it on the chin. But from that moment forward, every time Dave sees an ad for your company, or someone mentions the brand in passing, he will always remember the grief that the experience caused him. At some point he has probably questioned the level of security behind your website. And you can bet your bottom dollar that he has told his friends, family and colleagues all of the gory details. Not ideal. Not ideal at all.

Finding the balance

When it comes to detecting, preventing, and managing online fraud, it’s really all about balance. Because it’s just as important for brands to create as seamless a purchasing experience as possible as it is to deter hackers from their online stores. Should brands be implementing one page checkout as much as possible? Absolutely. Should they also be taking the appropriate measure to protect themselves against fraud? Of course they should! But how can you effectively achieve both? Well, we’ve already mentioned how important it is to have an eCommerce solution that will not only safeguard your store against scammers, but that also has data share in place to detect profiles that have performed fraud elsewhere on the platform’s network.

It’s also vital that behind that platform sits a highly qualified loss prevention specialist with the knowledge and experience to be able to 1) quickly take action on potential fraudulent activity, 2) determine which transactions are ok to authorise, and 3) strike a balance between the two.

At Kooomo, we call that person Peter.

But wait, there’s something else you can do to keep the fraud scales balanced and that is to test, report, and optimise. If you’ve decided to add another layer of security to the online checkout process with the likes of 3D secure, that’s all well and good. But while you’re doing that, you may also want to monitor your shopping cart abandonment rate. If it suddenly starts to go through the roof while your conversion rates simultaneously start to plummet, you could actually be putting your brand at a greater risk by losing legitimate customers. If your cart abandonment rate remains largely unchanged on the other hand, you could quickly start to see a fall in the number of chargebacks coming through. The point here is that you shouldn’t be making a judgement call on the security of your online store without testing out various measures, tracking the results, and optimising for customer experience while still limiting the risk of fraud.

There’s always going to be advances in technology to protect merchants, as well as advances in all of the ways that scammers can outsmart that technology. The big question always tends to be ‘who is two steps ahead?’ The answer is debatable. But in terms of what sits at the root of all this chat about security, and the answer is always the same – the customer.

5 Must-haves When Choosing a Hosting Provider for eCommerce

Teledata will be exhibiting at this year’s eCommerce Show North. The below blog was written by James Burns and originally appeared on their website.

There are plenty of hosting providers on the market today who offer so-called “eCommerce hosting” services.

In reality, however, there are many different ways you can host a successful online store: any dedicated or cloud server with a high enough spec can be used to run popular eCommerce platforms such as Magento and WooCommerce, and you could also start from scratch and build your website within a more flexible IaaS environment.

However, regardless of whether or not you decide to sign up with a self-proclaimed eCommerce hosting expert, some things should be non-negotiable when choosing a hosting provider for an eCommerce website.

Here are five examples.

1. Security for customer data

It’s impossible to run an online store without handling large amounts of customer data that needs to be kept secure. If your website’s security is compromised, some of the repercussions could include fines under GDPR, loss of customers and lasting reputation damage – all of which could be enough to sink a business in the ultra-competitive world of ecommerce. This is especially true in the current climate where data and privacy concerns are big news and increasingly in the consciousness of your customers.

As such, it pays to compliment your own security measures by working with a PCI DSS-conscious, security-savvy provider that can help you with compliance and won’t expose you to unnecessary risk by failing to keep on top of security patching, for example, or by using low-quality data centre and cloud infrastructure partners.

Another consideration is whether your provider will supply your website’s SSL certificate and keep this up to date, or whether this falls on you.

2. Suitable data centre locations

In a cloud-centric world, it can be tempting to take the view that your provider’s data centre is out of sight and out of mind. However, we wouldn’t recommend that an ecommerce business turns a blind eye to data centre location as it can have a significant impact on the speed of their website for the customers they want to sell to. According to one stat from Google, more than half (57%) of mobile shoppers will abandon a website if a page takes more than three seconds to load.

The takeaway? If you want to sell to customers in the UK, choose a UK data centre – and, if your provider can’t confirm where your website will be hosted, look elsewhere.

For some companies, data centre location could also be a critical compliance factor as it may be considered a compliance risk to let personal data leave UK shores.

3. DR capabilities

In addition to a primary data centre that meets your requirements around latency and data residency, check that your provider can offer some level of protection against prolonged unplanned downtime and data loss. Examples could include offering remote storage as standard for backups, offering automated backups of your entire environment, or more sophisticated disaster recovery (DR) solutions such as DRaaS.

4. Quality support

Nothing can make or break the relationship between an ecommerce business and its hosting provider quite like quality of support. There is, after all, a direct link between the performance and availability of an online store and its ability to make money, and it’s more than a little frustrating to work with providers that don’t understand this and aren’t able to offer fast, outcome-focused support when there’s unplanned downtime or a speed issue to fix.

To get a feel for the quality of support on offer from a particular provider, we recommend you look for references from other customers, find out whether their support is inclusive and check which channels you can use to access support (whether they offer phone support, for example).

It’s also worth talking to their support staff about your requirements upfront, as a decent provider should be able to offer some advice on the best setup for your website and the best way to move from your current provider as smoothly as possible. Indeed, the extent to which you’re granted pre-sales access to support teams and how they perform is a very worthwhile and revealing exercise. It’s a great way of testing the water before you make a decision on your hosting provider – so pick up the phone and see how you get on.

5. Industry track record

Finally, choosing a supplier with a proven track record in the ecommerce world is a good way to ensure your hosting provider understands the common challenges and must-haves for online retailers and ecommerce agencies, and has experience of delivering against them successfully. Again: any provider can offer a commodity server product that has a high enough spec to run Magento or another popular ecommerce platform, but far fewer can offer glowing references from customers who trust them with multiple websites.

Getting Started With Collating and Managing Your Product Information

Pimberly are Event Partners for this year’s eCommerce Show North. The below article was originally published on their website.

You’ve read all about the benefits of rich, well-managed product information for your business and you’re ready to get started. But how do you set yourself up for the challenge of collating all your product data?

And more importantly ­­– where do you start?

The key to integrating product information practices in your organisation comes down to three things: process, people and technology. Taking control of these three factors will create efficiencies and savings within your product information processes, improving the handling of data to create a self-supporting cycle that works both ways.


Your product information goes on a real journey to get to your customers. It’s key to map out and understand all aspects of this journey to best identify how you can improve your processes. You could increase SEO and traffic, improve the customer experience, increase conversions and average order value.

Very often, your product information processes are down to timing. The right people need to see the right information, about the right products, at the right time. While this might sound tricky, this is exactly what a good PIM can help you achieve.

You’ll also need to decide which products or product lines are priorities. For example, it will be vital that some products appear on your eCommerce site on launch day, whereas other ranges may be appropriate for seasonal roll outs.

Equally, some products require much more information to be available to customers than others. If you’re listing kitchen supplies, you’re going to need a lot more technical and sizing information for a cooker than you would for a wooden spoon. Putting time and effort into understanding how your product data should be structured will have endless benefits later on.

When it comes to starting data migration, we’ve taken a layered approach to the process. This way you can quickly identify, diagnose and solve any issues that arise in your data model, and avoid the pitfalls of traditional systems. It also allows everyone to get familiar and confident with the system as the implementation rolls out, benefitting everyone in the long run.


It’s imperative to have the key people in all your teams onside when implementing a new system such as PIM. People throughout your organisation must embrace change. Everyone must be open to the possibilities of gaining benefits from doing things a new way.

In order to do this, you must provide everyone with the necessary information and training they will need to do their job effectively. Without the right technology in place, your skilled copywriters and product managers can get stuck wasting time on data collection and entry. A strong PIM system lets them get on with doing what they do best. They can focus on adding value for themselves and ultimately improving the quality of work they produce. This further improves your product information, which improves your employees’ experience and quality of work.

Freeing your creative teams up to produce lifestyle content and link this to your products is the key to creating a rich experience for your customers. This allows you to elevate the online experience beyond what customers can get. Even in brick and mortar stores, giving customers the chance to explore everything a product has to offer can lead to better sales. These cross and up-sell opportunities are uniquely accessible in an eCommerce setting and something not to be missed out on.


Having the right technology supporting your PIM processes and people is obviously vital. Once that step is working correctly, all the technology throughout your business will harmonise and work more effectively.

When selecting a new piece of technology to help manage your product information, you need a tool that’s going to:

  • Take product data from any upstream systems.
  • Take and share product data with suppliers, distributors, customers, retailers, data aggregator.
  • Manage your enrichment process.
  • Collaborate on product data with parties external to your organization (photographers, translators, copy writers, marketers etc).
  • Send data to websites, Apps, market places, comparison sites, resellers, international sites etc.
  • Hold a single source of all your rich product information in a single, easily accessible location for all parties.

We knew this when we were building Pimberly – so that’s exactly what it does.

There is a two-way support network between product information and the processes, people and technology within your business. Keeping a mutually beneficial relationship between them allows for better SEO and traffic, improved customer experiences, increased upsell, and many more benefits.

3 Ways to Dramatically Reduce Your Return Rate

Kooomo are exhibiting at this year’s eCommerce Show North. The below blog originally appeared on their website.

Returns. They’re the bane of any online brand’s existence. 

We’re talking escalating supply chain costs. Stock that needs to be repackaged in order to be resold. Stock that can’t be resold due to seasonality, damage, or fraud. Oh, and did we mention all of the admin that’s involved?

There’s no doubt about it – returns remain to be one of the biggest challenges that online retailers face on a daily basis. Shopper expectations, partnered with the need to keep up in an outrageously competitive market means that if your returns process isn’t a) free, and b) easy, you’re going to a) miss out on potential sales, and b) lose return customers.

As a result, returns have become such a routine part of the online purchasing process that buyer’s remorse is arguably a thing of the past.

At least 30% of all products that are ordered online are returned, compared to just 8.89% of items purchased in physical stores. So we can’t help but wonder – is providing an excellent customer experience by making the returns process a piece of cake just encouraging your customers to buy more stuff, so they can return more stuff?

Well, as important as it is to create a seamless returns experience for your customers, companies often forget to focus the same attention on decreasing the rate of returns that come through in the first place.

Today we’re going to look at 3 simple ways that you can start to tackle the returns rate for your online store.

Up Your Product Description Game

About 22% of online returns are made as a result of products looking different in reality to what’s displayed on your website.

We’ve all been there. You order an item that seems to ticks all the boxes. Maybe it’s a knee-length dress that, in reality, skims your ankles because the model’s height wasn’t highlighted in the product description. Maybe it’s a watch that appeared to have an oversized face, but in reality is only the size of a 20 cent coin, because the product image didn’t show what it looked like on a wrist.

Context is everything. So your product descriptions need to be, for lack of a better term…descriptive. Detailed sizing guides, product specifications, and additional benefits should be included wherever necessary. And even if you do all of this, there’s a very good chance that your product descriptions are only going to be skimmed by shoppers. So cover all your bases with high quality, true to life product images and videos to ensure that they also tell your customers the story of exactly what the product is, who it’s for, and why they need it.

And while we’re on the topic of context, how could we not mention the mack daddy of bringing context to the purchasing experience – augmented reality.  40% of consumers would be willing to spend extra money on a product if they could experience it through augmented reality. So it might also be time to embrace AR technology to add a more sensory experience to your product pages – Sephora does it with Virtual Artist, IKEA does it with IKEA Place – so what’s it going to be for your brand?

Integrate User Generated Content & Reviews

Decreasing your returns rate is just one of the many benefits of integrating reviews and user generated content into your e-shop. In fact, there are more statistics about the power of UGC and online reviews than you can shake a stick at. 93% of customers find user-generated content to be helpful when making a purchasing decision. 71% of consumers feel more comfortable buying a product after researching user reviews. And 70% of consumers trust online peer reviews and recommendations more than professional content and copy.

So even though your online store needs to have top notch product descriptions, images, and videos, chances are that most shoppers are still going to want to see what other people who bought your product thought about it before they commit to the purchase. They want to see your products in the light of day. If you sell clothing, they want to see how they look on different body types. If you sell furniture, they want to know what kind of wear and tear can be expected. So the best thing that you can possibly do for online shoppers is to plug all of this information into your website, so that it not only adds that layer of social proof to your offering, but further supports the decision-making process, as well as the overall customer experience.
One of the best examples of a brand that has mastered leveraging user-generated content and reviews is Glossier, who attribute an incredible 90% of their revenue to word-of-mouth, free promotion. Reviews feed into every product page, with the most liked positive review and most liked negative review featuring side by side at the top of the feed for all to see. They don’t gloss over (see what we did there…) any negative reviews. All feedback is welcomed.  Meanwhile, over on Instagram, customers are encouraged to use the hashtag #glossier to share their photos and thoughts on the products – often reposted by the brand to their 1 million plus followers.

By empowering your customers with all of the information they need to make an informed decision about whether to buy your products or not, it’s going to have a knock-on effect on your rate of returns.

Get Returns Feedback That’s Relevant

You may already be gathering customer feedback in the form of checkboxes on return slips. And that’s great. But those return slips are only going to be of actual value to you if these two things are happening:

  1. You’re gathering information that’s relevant
  2. You’re actually doing something with it!

It’s all well and good discovering that the top reason for your online returns is down to items not fitting correctly, but what exactly does ‘correctly’ mean? Take it a step further and give customers the option to indicate whether the item was ‘too big’ or ‘too small’. That way, you know that you need to add more information to your product descriptions or change the positioning of the sizing guides on your product pages, for example.

Or maybe you start to notice that you’re getting an influx of returns citing ‘damage’ as the primary reason. And maybe, you just switched to a new form of packaging in a bid to offset shipping costs. Coincidence? Probably not.

You need to understand why customers are returning your products. It’s really as simple as that. Because all of those return slips will undoubtedly spell out for you what you need to do to take action and turn the returns train around.

The reality of running any kind of online store is that returns are always going to be part and parcel of the process. There’s no escaping them. And sure, you can leverage free and easy returns as a way to amplify the customer experience and even boost sales, but at the end of the day, prevention is still better than cure.

And you can bet your bottom dollar that having an online store that’s optimised to limit the rate of returns provides just as powerful a customer experience than one that makes the returns process as smooth as possible.

Top 5 Ways to Reduce Retail Shipping Costs

SmartConsign will be exhibiting at eCommerce Show North 2018. The blog below originally appeared on their website.

Are you looking to reduce shipping costs for your retail business? If so, read on to discover the top five ways you can reduce shipping costs.

You’ve extended your market to other cities, counties, states, maybe even other countries. But you’ve realized getting your product into distant hands is expensive.

How expensive?

Just consider that companies last year alone spent nearly $1.5 trillion dollars on shipping costs. Cutting back some of the costs might be a lot easier than you think, and we’ll show you how.

Continue reading to learn how you can reduce shipping costs without compromising any quality!

Reduce Shipping Costs with These 5 Tips

1. Offer Discounts to Nab Big Sales

While not immediately reducing the cost of shipping, this can increase basket values to offset shipping costs. Discounts for bundling items or seasonal coupons can encourage customers to purchase more products at once.

Try offering free shipping on large items or on items totalling higher than a set amount.

2. Negotiate Your Price

If you’re signed up with a large company like FedEx or UPS, you can negotiate ways to maximise your pricing model. Consider your contract and how you can adjust it to meet your business’ current needs.

Often, a company will sign up for one delivery service but not remember to adjust it into another as the business grows.

3. Don’t Settle for the Big Names

Because the market is so heavily saturated with the big names like FedEx and UPS, many companies don’t think to look for other options. Actually, there are tons of alternative or hybrid options that only use big names in small portions.

One of the caveats of choosing a smaller service provider is you may lose a guaranteed delivery date customers expect. You’ll have to weigh your available local options and consider if cutting shipping costs is worth the new service.

4. Be on the Lookout for Invoice Errors

Looking out for a potential recovery, while not hugely rewarding, will help you keep track of the pounds and pence. It’s what separates a lot of expert establishments from the novices.

Checking over every invoice with a fine-tooth comb would exhaust all your time and resources. Instead, Look for an automated solution to reconcile your carrier invoices & keep a lookout for credit-recapture opportunities.

5. Keep Track of Data

To improve your business and optimize the cost of shipping, you have to keep an eye on all your data. You should invest in a software (or opt-in for tools through major shipping companies) to stock all your information.

This way, you can have various perspectives to work with including the big and little pictures.

To ultimately reduce shipping costs & keep your customers happy with multiple delivery choices and on-time delivery, you need to have a grasp on all the various shipping functions and numbers. This is difficult for someone to pull off in a single role without comprehensive software.

Retail is Changing: The Toys R Us Effect

Two Jay are a Magento Enterprise Partner and have built a strong reputation as one of the UK’s leading Magento agencies. The article below originally appeared on their website.

When it comes to eCommerce and retail, it’s about more than just a transaction. For the consumer, the decision comes down to a number of different selling points including customer experience (CX) and convenience.

In an increasingly fast-paced industry, consumers now expect more. From sophisticated search, fast checkouts, to next day (if not same day) delivery options, it is this convenience that now guides a shoppers purchasing decisions.

As someone involved in the eCommerce industry, I admire brands such as Amazon and ASOS who’s online stores hold no barriers for consumers and make purchasing super easy. Notably, these are two brands that only operate online and do not have a physical storefront which may perhaps be one of the key reasons they have been able to perfect their offering.

But, what if you fail to offer convenience online? What if you’re a retailer who generates the majority of conversions through a brick and mortar store?

Convenience vs. In-Store Experience

Iconic household name, Toys R Us collapsed into administration at the end of February. This got us thinking about how this could happen to what was once the UK’s most popular toy store. From my perspective the answers are simple, Toys R Us failed to innovate – failing to provide their customers with convenience nor an unordinary experience.

In 2000, Toys R Us didn’t believe in the power of the internet and outsourced their fulfilment to Amazon. As society became increasingly familiar with purchasing toys online and even from the supermarket whilst getting their weekly shop, the brand did not appear to implement any changes that would try to tackle this issue. Too late to the game, the brand finally invested in improving their online offering in May 2017. Streamlining their website browsing and minimising the checkout process from five or more clicks to two, the brand desperately tried to catch up on 10 years of innovation.

As an onlooker, I wonder if their lack of convenience could have been overcompensated by offering a better than average in-store experience? Driving customers to physical stores by offering unique experiences is something other traditional brick and mortar stores have successfully adopted.

A fashion retailer whose experiences are worth swapping the laptop for is Topshop – specifically its flagship store on London’s Oxford Street which uses a combination of pop-up retail and experiential campaigns. Alongside their free personal shopping service, in-store beauty salons and cafés, the store also has interactive VR displays and regular pop-ups such as Lola’s cupcakes.

For a fun brand like Toys R Us, the opportunities to innovate and break the norm could have been endless. Making the experience less about the end goal and more about the customer through simple changes such as employing engaged staff, hosting interactive toy demos or putting on children’s events and activities. Tempting customers with things they might not even realise they wanted whilst their in-store.

Innovate or Deteriorate… Fast

It’s not just Toys R Us that have filed for bankruptcy or have faced financial troubles through lack of innovation. Major brands such as HMV, Borders, Kodak, and Blockbuster have all struggled to cope with meeting the needs of the modern consumer, whilst many other brands are at risk of following suit.

The key message from this is to never live on past glories. Don’t sit still or get complacent. Regularly re-evaluate both your online and offline experience and strive to improve your CX in line, if not ahead of customer’s expectations. Put your customers first, and make sure convenience and experience are at the heart of your strategy.

What is eCommerce Hosting and is There a Benefit?

Teledata maximises and protects the potential of every precious visitor that clicks through to the online stores that you have a stake in. The below article originally appeared on their website.

If you’re in the market for a new hosting provider for your growing eCommerce website, there’s a good chance you’ll come across a myriad of providers promising speed and performance with solutions described as “eCommerce hosting” or “eCommerce-optimised hosting”.

However, there’s no one definition of what constitutes eCommerce hosting and the term may cover an array of different solutions or applications, from bare-bones server hosting to an all-in-one solution that can help businesses sell their products online.

So is eCommerce hosting the answer to your problems, or is just another marketing ploy?

While looking at eCommerce-specific hosting is a good place to start your journey, before you decide on a solution, it’s important to spend time reviewing the features on offer from each provider to understand if and how these features might really improve the performance of your website.

Here are four important features you should consider when choosing a hosting provider for eCommerce, regardless of how they choose to label their solutions:

1. Minimum eCommerce hosting requirements

Before you decide whether you need a specialist eCommerce hosting solution, your first port of call should be to look at the stated system requirements of your eCommerce platform and work out whether they would be met by a generalist one.

Here are some examples of common system requirements for two popular eCommerce platforms:

Magento – Magento is one of the world’s most robust and popular eCommerce platforms, powering over $50 billion in transactions every year. If you’re considering the Magento route, we recommend that you look at a hosting solution with at least 2GB of RAM to ensure decent baseline performance. It’s also worth your while checking Magento’s system requirements, as part of your research process.

Woocommerce – This platform powers 30% of all online stores and is great if you’re comfortable with the WordPress platform. However, they do ask that you have PHP version 7 or greater and a WordPress memory limit of 128MB or greater, among other recommendations.

As you can see, there’s nothing much out of the ordinary here, so there’s no absolute requirement to invest in specialist eCommerce hosting to use one of these platforms.

2. eCommerce hosting value-adds

Some specialist eCommerce hosting solutions are described as such because of value-adds such as:

Pre-installed software licences (for your eCommerce platform of choice)

SSL certificates – essential for eCommerce security (if your hosting provider can’t provide one, you’ll need to buy one from a third party). Additionally, with a SSL certificate, you’ll gain a valid HTTPS which gets a small ranking boost from Google and is an important trust signal to customers looking for a safe and secure shopping experience.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether this is a deal-breaker for your business, but many of these value-adds actually provide “must-have” functionality, as opposed to “nice-to-haves” for your website, so it’s definitely something to consider.

3. Infrastructure readiness

Sometimes, the term “eCommerce hosting” is used in reference to the actual infrastructure the solution is built on, i.e. cloud or dedicated server hosting. Some providers will argue an eCommerce website should be hosted in the cloud for scalability and resilience; others claim a dedicated hardware environment is best for security and performance.

We recommend that you review this carefully, as it can have a major impact on whether the solution will actually solve the unique pains of a growing eCommerce business. For example, if you experience performance issues as a result of unpredictable traffic volumes, above all else, you should look for a hosting provider that uses the cloud to allow on-demand scalability.

4. Tailored support

Finally, look at whether the provider’s support is tailored to the eCommerce industry. An outage at any time of the day can be disastrous for an eCommerce business and can damage your business’ revenue and reputation if customers aren’t able to complete purchases and go to your competitors instead. Therefore, it would be incredibly beneficial for your eCommerce business if you can get easily accessible, round-the-clock support.

That said, even if a hosting provider claims to provide 24/7 support, quality matters too. Check for any industry track record and references from other eCommerce firms, especially those whose requirements are similar – or greater – than yours (such as agencies running multiple websites for difference clients).

How User Generated Content Creates Engagement For eCommerce Brands

Digital Media Team can build, target and re-target specific audience’s and ensure product placement which in turn generates a fantastic ROI.

There’s a real buzz around User Generated Content at the moment and marketers are only just realising how influential it can be for eCommerce brands.

UGC can be any content created by a company’s audience, which shares the brand through the use of a consumer’s own social media.

Consumers are an incredible source for championing products and are able to show potential customers an unbiased view of your brand.

A whopping 86% of millennials have said that User Generated Content shows the true quality of a company and these campaigns should be the next step for any business looking to promote themselves in a positive way.

Here are a few of our favourite User Generated Content campaigns over the past few years…


This time last year we saw American women’s clothing company Aerie launch the #AerieReal Campaign, which encouraged users to post unretouched images of themselves wearing Aerie swim suits.

Not only did they receive thousands of images, they also donated $1 to NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) with every hashtag, which ended with over $10,000 being sent to the charity.

The campaign was so successful that the hashtag is still frequently used today, with the topical subject matter encouraging users to continue to engage with this body-positive message.


This well-known music streaming service is no stranger to UGC campaigns and nobody can forget their immensely popular “Thanks 2016. It’s been weird” project from last year, which saw lighthearted billboards showcasing Spotify users’ play history.

This year they’ve upped their game by targeting individual users and highlighting some of the more bizarre and unique playlists that have been created.

This campaign has been splashed across billboards, as well as quirky videos where artists have commented on a playlist which includes their song.

It’s been a roaring success so far and we can’t wait to see what Spotify comes up with next!


Apple’s #ShotOnIphone campaign has been going for over two years now and it doesn’t look like it will be losing traction any time soon.

After consumers approached the brand about being less than satisfied with the iPhone’s camera, Apple decided to address this upon release of their new device by encouraging consumers to post images with the #ShotOniPhone hashtag.


They even brought in amateur and professional photographers to take images through an iPhone, blowing up the results on billboards across the world.

The campaign continues to be a major success for the brand because Apple not only listened to their consumers concerns, but tackled it by showing that they’d made improvements instead of just saying it.

User Generated Content campaigns are on the rise and we suggest jumping on the bandwagon. It’s a brilliant way to create brand messaging in an enjoyable and engaging way and shows how influential social media can be.

Webrooming: How Do Your Customers Shop?

Pimberly is a powerful cloud-based SaaS Product Information Management (PIM), Digital Asset Management (DAM) and workflow platform. The article below was originally published on their website.

It’s not surprising that consumers are increasingly opting for the convenience and accessibility of online browsing. But many are also still drawn in by the immediacy and experience of in-store purchasing.

Combining the benefits of both online and in-store shopping, webrooming has become a popular trend with modern shoppers. Some people feel more comfortable buying certain products in person, where they can physically see, touch, try on or test the merchandise.

Many shoppers still like to go to a physical store:

  • To physically touch and see the product
  • Certain things like clothes need trying on or testing
  • Physical retail gives you the instant gratification of taking home your purchase there and then, be it through necessity (last minute gifts for your friend whose birthday drinks later you’d totally forgotten about)… or just because sometimes it’s nice to get what you want quickly.

Stores also provide a physical connection with customers, and the opportunity for face to face interactions with your products and your staff. That’s an opportunity not to be missed.

The Rise of Webrooming and ROBO

In some industries, showrooming is a standard practice. Where consumers will go into a store to view the range, gather information from staff, and then make orders online for convenience or to take advantage of a deal. This is common for high value or large goods, for example furniture and white goods.

However in recent years, it’s become more apparent that while a lot of shoppers have moved their browsing and research activity to online stores, the benefits they get in a physical store mean that in many cases they will purchase there instead. This practice of browsing online and purchasing in store has been dubbed “webrooming”, or ROBO (research online, buy offline).

Shopping is About Gathering Information

The product experience you provide across your online platforms and in store relies on a number of factors, and the skills and expertise of many departments. From designers and stock control to eCommerce and visual merchandising, collaboration is key. You need the systems and processes in place to allow your team to deliver those experiences.

Don’t forget – The process of shopping is about consumers gathering information about products in order to make a decision.


Don’t forget – the process of shopping is about consumers gathering information about products in order to make a decision. Retailers and brands are racing to provide their customers with the most seamless and integrated shopping experience across all platforms. What they mustn’t lose sight of is the product experience must be driven by the quality of their product information. Key to getting this right is the smooth integration of business systems and processes.

A solid CRM system helps companies provide high quality customer services and marketing messages. Your product information needs the same attention to support the efforts of all sales channels.

Without good product information, a fancy new eCommerce website design will go to waste. Customers who find conflicting information at different touchpoints will lose faith in your brand. Ensuring that your product information is up to scratch will also improve your SEO. This makes sure that customers can find you in the first place.

For customers who love the instant gratification of taking home their purchase today, good product information is even more vital. Without it there’s a greater chance they’ll have to come back next week to return something that isn’t what they wanted. Goods needing to be returned or replaced lead to unsatisfied customers and lost faith in your brand, not to mention the time and money needed to correct the situation.

Expanding the Shopping Experience With Rich Product Data

When it comes to standing out from the competition, you’re no longer just competing on price in order to grab a customer’s attention. As the retail game is changing and buyer habits constantly evolve. Brands have got to keep up by adapting and innovating, and providing something new. Many stores understand the need to provide more than a shopping experience, and that customers aren’t just there for information. They’ve most likely made most of their buying decisions online.

Many brands are bringing technology into the retail experience. Gadgets and gizmos to detect your perfect makeup shade or help you understand what type of running shoes you need are more and more common in the modern shopping experience. Even the seemingly simple (but realistically tricky) task of arming sales-floor staff with the information customers might ask them for. It’s rich, accurate product information that powers these technologies.  These experiences are what allow retailers to maximise the value in all their store space – both the virtual and physical.

Adding Value to Webrooming with PIM

A seamless and engaging customer journey now involves many touchpoints. A great online experience with ease of comparison and plentiful information on all products allows customers to self-qualify.

By the time they are in your store they are primed and ready to purchase. The hard work is already out of the way to allow a smooth transition from visitor to customer.

By creating an enjoyable and interactive environment, you can maximise the opportunity by enticing them into impulse purchases or complementary products (that they may already have encountered on your website).

Consistent marketing messages and clear branding is important, but no longer enough to convince savvy modern customers of your brand and values. If you improve the way you manage information across your organisation, you’ll give your customers the confidence to browse and purchase across your channels and never worry they’ll be let down.

3 Ways to Reduce Packaging Waste (and the Eco-Friendly Brands to Learn From)

The below article originally appeared on the Kooomo website. Kooomo will be exhibiting at this year’s eCommerce Show North.

Have you ever received a giant box in the post and thought to yourself ‘Hmm, I don’t remember ordering anything this big…have I been shopping in my sleep again?!’

Then you open the box to find that it actually consists of 50% packing peanuts, 30% inflated airbags, 10% tissue paper, and the remaining 10% is the small, non-fragile items that you purchased online (probably also wrapped in a plastic bag for good measure).

In 2017, packaging waste in Ireland grew 27% to over 7,000 tonnes for the year, equivalent to the waste generated by a town of 16,000 residents. Furthermore, a recent study by MacFarlane Packaging found that 41% of online brands are using too much packaging for their items.

With global eCommerce sales due to reach $4 trillion by 2020, there’s never been a more crucial time for brands to do their part to reduce waste and be as environmentally conscious as possible. Because not only does reducing packaging have a substantial effect on the environment, it also has a knock-on effect on overall shipping costs. Win win!

Today, we’re looking at three ways that online retailers can be greener when it comes to utilising packaging and shipping materials as well as the brands that have taken major steps towards making eCommerce a more eco-friendly space.

 Tip #1: Use recyclable and bio-degradable materials wherever possible

It goes without saying (but we’re going to say it anyway) – you should ALWAYS choose recyclable shipping materials (paper, cardboard, bubble wrap, corn-starch items, and biodegradable plastic) over their non-recyclable counterparts. Better yet – try to use 100% recycled material when shipping your products. Polystyrene (aka Styrofoam), though it can technically be recycled, typically can’t be done locally, so either ends up in a landfill, or unknowingly gets tossed in a recycle bin, where it could potentially slow down the entire recycling process by damaging the machines that sort materials. A survey by Dotcom Distribution found that 61% of online shoppers take into account how green the brand’s packaging is before they make a purchase. Therefore it’s vital that you choose your shipping materials wisely – not only for the greater good of the environment, but also to enhance your overall customer experience. One brand who has nailed both is Puma, whose ‘clever little bag’ replaced the traditional shoebox in 2010. The non-woven bag, which holds shoes in place with a single piece of cardboard is responsible for saving 8500 tonnes of paper, 1 million litres of water, and 65% of cardboard material to date.

Tip #2: Size matters

If you want to ensure that your shipping materials are as eco-friendly as possible, you MUST start sizing to fit. The average package contains approximately 40% of empty space. Not only does this mean more emissions, but it also means a greater overall costs to merchants. Every inch counts just as much as every kilogram, especially considering the fact that most shipping costs are now based on dimensional weight. What this means is that weight is no longer the dominant factor in calculating shipping rates – how much room a package will take up in a delivery truck is!

Not every brand is going to have the resources available to integrate package design technology that will optimise every last inch of packaging, but every online retailer can absolutely take small steps that will make a big difference. Simply put, there’s no such thing as a one-size fits all box in online retail. So if you’re shipping a small product to a customer, let’s say a wallet for example – does it really need to be in a double wall 305 x 220 x 220mm box? Probably not. ‘But what about products that need to have the protection that only polystyrene blocks can provide?’ you might wonder. Well, look at Dell, who developed bamboo cushioning back in 2009 as an alternative to plastic foam following customer complaints about their shipping boxes. The cushioning, which can be recycled or composted in the same way as paper has played a significant part in reducing box sizes by 10% as well as cutting 20 million pounds of packaging and an 8% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Tip #3: Think inside the box

So assuming you have optimised the sizes of your shipping boxes, there’s another conundrum to consider – should you or shouldn’t you custom brand your shipping boxes? Well, over 40% of online consumers say that branded packaging makes them more likely to recommend products to friends and are more likely to share images on social media, so yes! You should absolutely consider custom branded shipping packaging for your products. However, if you’re going to pump considerable budget into creating custom branded packaging, you should try to ensure that it serves a greater purpose than brand awareness (or even *gasp*, customer experience). If you’re branding your shipping boxes, you should take the opportunity to remove a supplementary piece of material in your shipping box.

Take Farmacy as your source of innovation inspiration. The skincare brand constructed a 6-sided origami style box to hold their jars of ‘honey potion’ face masks. The box can then be unfolded to reveal the brand story and ingredient information, removing the need to include a separate insert into each product box. Try doing something similar with your own shipping boxes. Do you typically include a card containing your brand’s social media handles and official hashtags in each shipment to encourage user-generated content? Try printing this message on the inside of the box instead! And while you’re at it, always include a message asking your customers to get involved in making the world a greener place by recycling the box and/or various ways they can repurpose it!

It’s the responsibility of every online brand to ensure that they are doing their bit to reduce their carbon footprint. At Kooomo, we’re delighted to see so many of our partners and customers making strides towards increased sustainability through shipping and otherwise. La Sportiva recycles 50% of production waste through their adoption of the eco-sustainable ISO 14001 certification. Havaianas donates 7% of the proceeds from their IPE range to the conservation of Brazilian flora and fauna projects. Butlers Chocolates locally source packaging to reduce the amount of product materials used.

As far as shipping goes, who knows – maybe one day brands will somehow be able to get orders to customers without the need for packaging. But until then, every little change can make a big difference. Maybe that is removing a single non-essential piece of packaging from your shipments. Or maybe it means altering the sizes of your shipping boxes. Whatever that change may be, any change really is better than no change at all.

Setting Up Your First AdWords Shopping Campaign

The article below originally appeared on the adaplo website. adaplo will be exhibiting at his year’s eCommerce Show North.

For starters, you are in a great position because you have already decided to start (a good start is half the battle, right?).

You have also probably done your research and found out that Shopping Campaigns are one of the main growth drivers for eCommerce stores. Truth be told, they do get 75% of the search budget of sophisticated retailers (source: Merkle Digital Quarterly report Q2 2017) and have increased their share of total store orders by 160% in the last 2 years. Therefore, they are indeed a traffic source that lives up to the hype.

To help formulate your strategy for starting Google Shopping, there are plenty of resources available online. However, if you want everything you will ever need to start Google Shopping effectively and efficiently in one place, then this short guide is for you.

We did all the research for you and, combined with our experience working with different clients in different industries and countries, we give you a closer look into:

  • The requirements for Shopping Campaigns
  • The main steps involved
  • How to monitor the performance of your ads

Requirements for Shopping Campaigns

Before we get into the details, let’s first make sure that you are eligible to launch Product Listing Ads (the “other name” of Shopping Campaigns). There are some strict requirements to fulfill so that you don’t do all the hard work only to find out that you cannot run your ads.

The most important requirements are:

  • Your product and business must abide by the Google Shopping policies. These policies are different and on top of the standard Google AdWords policies. You can read the full policy but rest assured that you cannot advertise adult products, counterfeit goods or academic cheating goods.
  • You want to sell (and run ads) on a country that supports Shopping Campaigns. Although this product is out there for quite a while, it is not yet available in all Countries. You can find the full list of countries at the bottom of this help article
  • You have the ability to send updated information to Google about your products at least every 30 days. This is really important because data quality is important to Google in order to maintain a good user experience.

Now that you know the requirements to safely launch product listing ads, it’s time to set up your first campaign, which is an easy 4-step process that includes the following:

  1. Create your product feed
  2. Setup your Google Merchant Center account and sync your feed
  3. Create your Google AdWords account, if you do not already have one
  4. Link your Merchant Center account (MCA) with your AdWords account

Are you done with these? Let’s move forward!

How To Setup Google Shopping

Launching a new campaign is a straightforward process. On top of this, Google keeps improving the campaign setup process with a series of steps.

What I would like to share is a high-level approach to the most important decisions and settings you need. As with everything else, if you get the basics right, you are off to a good start.

1. Select a country

If you just sell in one Country, this would be a non-issue. But what if you are selling in multiple countries? Should you advertise in all of these countries or just a few of them? And, how do you choose which ones? I suggest you start with one country – preferably a country you are already getting sales from as it is a validated market – learn from it and then scale to more countries. Shopping will not work for you if you are trying to sell at a market in which you are not competitive, either due to product selection or due to price levels and competition.

A common bad practice that should be avoided:

More than often, I see Campaign Managers investing days of work trying to forecast or predict the results of new campaigns. I have lost count of the times I was asked to give an opinion on how the CPC (cost-per-click) will go per campaign and per country for an account that hasn’t even been launched yet. I suggest you don’t go down that road because:

  • It takes up a lot of your time to do these calculations/predictions (and for no good reason) – and time is money
  • No matter how good you are, your estimations will go really off, because you are not starting with good data but with ballpark assumptions

My recommendation is to just start and wait for a few days to have clean data (not assumptions) that you can base your calculations on.

2. Budget and bidding

Now you need to define your budget and bidding. Although Google first asks for your bidding, I believe that semantically you should first think about your budget and then decide how you are going to spend that money (aka bidding).

Start with a budget that you feel comfortable with, not the max amount you can invest or the amount that you would like to invest (to get to your sales growth targets). Keep in mind that this is a “testing budget”, given that in PPC (pay-per-click) you need to run things for some time so that you can see the real results after the system understands your case and after you have run some optimizations. Typically it takes close to 2 months before you start seeing the real performance. Then, you can decide how to scale the account. This does not mean that you will not be getting conversions for the first 2 months; it is just that you will not be getting the max returns for your budget.

To sum up, determine a short-term budget that you feel comfortable with and divide it by 2 months to get your initial daily budget.

Next comes setting your bidding strategy. These days, Google is offering different ways to bid, which is great. However, it also means that we have to choose. My recommendation would be to either choose “Target ROAS” or “Manual CPC”, depending on how much time you wish to allocate to your campaign management. Let me clarify. If this first campaign is just a start point in a quest to dive even deeper into this channel, then choose “Manual CPC”. You will get tons of data on various dimensions (campaign, ad group, product group, device, etc). Plus, you will be able to optimize the performance as you get more data. This is also the way sophisticated advertisers with proprietary algorithms choose. But if you do not have the time or skill set required to continuously optimize your account, go for “Target ROAS” since this is a machine-learning-based algorithm by Google that does what it says, namely increase your ROAS.

3. What products to advertise

As with countries, it is best to start with the product you are already selling like hot cakes. And, why is that product so popular? Because you have a good combo of product positioning, high-quality, relevant images, hard-to-beat pricing or competitive positioning. So, take what you already know works and start this new ad channel with it. The objective for your first weeks is to see if you can get more sales, not sell new items. Then you can scale your campaigns to other products.

The whole process needs to be agile, meaning that you should start small and then scale based on the data. Refrain from taking the “start small” approach to heart and have just 1 Shopping Campaign with 1 AdGroup which is a mistake many campaign managers make. This is not good practice as it will not deliver the results you expect and also minimises the learnings you can get from this first campaign.

My recommendation is to start with a single Shopping Campaign and break down 7-10 AdGroups based on a column of your feed (preferably category or brand). Then, as you get more data, you can further break down more campaigns into more granular targetings to optimise both the targeting and the bidding.

Monitor performance

As you start getting ad clicks (and hopefully conversions) from your campaigns you will want to monitor the performance of your ads and find optimization ideas. The obvious place would be to check Google AdWords UI daily and see the performance of your Campaign.

The main metrics that you should monitor are:

  • Cost (how much you are spending)
  • Conversions, and
  • Conv value/Cost (aka ROAS, or how many $ you are getting from each $1 on ads)

But wouldn’t it be great if you could periodically run an audit of your Campaign(s) and see if there are optimisations that you could do? In this case, we have some exciting news. We have worked hard and created the first Google Shopping Performance Grader, which allows you to run a free audit of your campaigns in less than 60’’.

Our Grader will analyze your campaigns across 9 dimensions and give you a beautifully designed report with your score, as well as actionable recommendations.

How to Deal With Negative Product Reviews in eCommerce

Space48 are one of our Event Partners this year and will also be exhibiting at the expo. The below article originally appeared on their website and was written by their Head of Insight, Oliver Lees.

Many retailers and online businesses are afraid of negative product reviews, fearing they will damage the reputation of their brand and hinder conversion rate.

These days, customer reviews and user-generated content is important in eCommerce for influencing consumer decision-making.

Space 48’s Head of Insight, Oliver Lees, outlines 7 great ways to deal with negative product reviews, discussing how they can actually help your business improve!

Turn a negative into a positive

Don’t fear negative customer reviews and low products ratings. Perfect reviews on websites don’t look authentic. Seeing a few bad reviews amongst mainly positive reviews is normal and displaying them shows transparency and helps to build trust in brand.

A study by Yotpo, one of our favourite user-generated content (UGC) solutions, revealed that the most common words mentioned in negative product reviews were “disappointed” or “disappointment”. This signifies that issues with products are often about them not meeting consumer expectations, not that they’re necessarily bad products.

These type of negative reviews help the buying decisions of others, encouraging those who do want what other customers found disappointing to purchase, despite the “negative” reviews. You could have a great product, which just wasn’t what someone was expecting. Perhaps the negative review was about the price, which might not be a problem for other consumers viewing the product.

Learn from the feedback

There are lots of different ways to learn from negative reviews. As mentioned above, the low rating could be due to reasons that don’t reflect a fault, but instead are down to personal preference or requirements.

See this customer review below for a pair of gloves. The customer gives the product a low rating, but is helpful enough to explain the reason for the negative rating. The reviewer actually states that they would have given the gloves a good review if they’d wanted them for warmth in dry weather. It’s the lack of waterproofing that lets the product down, in their opinion.


Learn from useful reviews like this and consider where you could make this clear to future customers, so the expectations of the buyer are met.

Monitor reviews and respond where necessary

Some customer reviews are short and sweet, some are in-depth and informative, and others can be aggressive and even unreasonable. It’s a good idea to be to monitor your reviews and respond where necessary. If there are clear issues that need to be addressed, a quick response will be appreciated by consumers, whilst answering any common questions that come from negative reviews will help customers to trust your brand.

A numbers game: encourage more reviews

According to Yotpo, only 14% of customer reviews are 3 stars or less. Positive reviews account for the large majority and, therefore, encouraging more reviews will help you to further outweigh your negative products reviews with positive ones.

Encourage customers to review your products by incentivising users, rewarding repeat reviewers and sending post-purchase emails asking customers how they enjoyed their recent purchases. Also, make submitting product reviews easier and forms mobile-friendly, as mobile shopping continues to grow.

Provide more criteria to help the decision-making process

If negative reviews reveal any issues you have with products being difficult to use, you might be wise to curate how-to videos or add unboxing reviews and tutorials, using UGC tools like Videoly. Adding further criteria, visual content and useful information to your product pages assists consumer decision making.

ASOS is a trailblazer for delivering great customer service and UX-friendly product pages. Here’s an example of the tactics the brand uses to help customers make the right product choice. The images below show a clear offer for help with product sizing and then a tool which gives you a recommended size and calculates the percentage of people buying a particular size with a similar profile to you (adding “that didn’t return it”).


These tactics lead to a reduction in bad reviews, as customers will more often than not get the products they expected, which helps turn more browsers into buyers and increase your conversions. ASOS’ easy package tracking and returns policy help too!

Address issues and implement changes

If you get recurring negative product reviews that show a pattern of an inherent problem with a particular product or even your customer service, make sure you act quickly to address the problem. Make the required changes either to your product proposition or your customer service and processes, which will help to decrease negative reviews.

Consider chatbots to improve customer service

Chatbots can enable brands to deliver better browsing experiences for shoppers and assist with decision making. Customers who get a quick answer from the brand’s customer support about a product they’re considering buying, or have bought and discovered an issue, are less likely to write a negative review.

Retailers are seeing the benefit of AI assistants and enhanced customer support, whilst consumers are used to instant messenger apps and interacting with people via chat features. Would you rather get a quick answer or be on hold waiting for a support operative.

Buying behaviours are changing fast and chatbots are becoming more relevant to today’s shopper.

Last Mile Delivery: How to Efficiently Deliver to High Expectations

Neopost Shipping will be exhibiting at this year’s expo. The article below originally appeared on the Neopost website.

In today’s world, traffic is faster, food delivery is held to incredibly quick standards and when we order something online – we expect it at our door within two days.

Many companies are struggling to keep up, and their customer service is lacking when they fall short. Indications are that accelerated demands will become normalized. In fact, a recent Logistics Viewpoints report shows that 50 percent of millennials still desire even quicker deliveries.

According to the “State of Shipping in Commerce” report from Temando, many retailers are intent on expanding shipping and delivery options to keep up with how Amazon has revolutionized fulfillment, but the shoppers they are looking to satisfy are expecting more — and sooner.

“We’re noticing a huge push and pressure on the fulfillment side to get orders turned around on a much faster scale and pace than a lot of technology is capable of doing today,” says Michael Armanious, vice president of sales and marketing at Datex Corporation, a third-party logistics (3PL) management and warehouse solutions provider. “What normally would have taken less than an hour, all of the sudden needs to go out within minutes, which poses challenges in terms of planning.”

The truth is that customers want a window of delivery within a few hours, a “hyperlocal” last-mile initiative that companies are finding difficult to deploy. “By the time the order comes in, it has to be processed and ready to go for us to meet that very narrow window,” adds Armanious.

Last mile delivery is defined as ‘the movement of goods from a transportation hub to the final delivery destination’ – typically a personal residence – and is becoming more important than ever due to the surge of online ordering. The focus of last mile logistics is to deliver items to the end user when they expect it – which is as fast as possible. Last mile logistics has become an important area of interest for retailers because of the growing demand for fully integrated omnichannel retailing.

Evolving omnichannel needs have made retailers evaluate their current transportation network capabilities and adjust accordingly.

This year more than 40 percent of all e-commerce purchases will be made on Amazon – according to an eMarketer estimate. They have set the standard for fast shipping with their Amazon Prime subscribers and continue to rank high in customer service satisfaction. The online behemoth announced recently a new Amazon Delivery Service Partner program, which is designed to let entrepreneurs run with their own local delivery networks of up to 40 vans, all proudly displaying the Prime logo.

Amazon currently has 75 stations in the US where packages are sent to and picked up by drivers. Algorithms determine which packages are sent there and which are sent to other delivery partners like FedEx and UPS.

“This is all about scaling cost effectively,” said Dave Clark, senior vice president of Amazon Worldwide Operations. He says that the program is “much more about customer experience and meeting overall growth. We think this is going to be a cost-effective way to do that.”

This program brings more of the costs and customer service under the control of Amazon, and the smaller entrepreneurs get to operate under the giant company’s name. Amazon said that the program is aimed to enable hundreds of small businesses to get started and will hire tens of thousands of new delivery drivers countrywide. Given the current trucker shortage and carrier strikes in the US, transportation costs are on the rise for many businesses, and this solution helps to lower them.

Not only are final mile logistics expensive when it comes to assets and providers, but a poor home delivery experience can also have a negative impact on a brand’s reputation. In many cases, the last mile delivery is the first “personal contact” between the consumer and the product. Was the packaging damaged? Was the delivery driver rude? Did he deliver within the window of time I asked for? Many different situations can turn an otherwise positive perception into a negative. Almost 100% of shoppers also say they would like delivery date estimates, yet more than half of retailers currently don’t offer this feature.

Rightly so, the focus placed on last mile delivery is important because, in many cases, this could be your key differentiator. Organizations like Amazon Prime, Amazon Now, and Wayfair have set precedent. Consumers can choose to shop anywhere they want and easily find product alternatives from other retailers – which is why it is so important to provide exceptional service and gain market share while building brand loyalty.

So what do companies need to think about when creating a successful last mile delivery model?

One, think beyond geography. Hyperlocal doesn’t only mean coverage of one specific region. The most successful hyperlocal strategies have the capability to scale. A strategy that focuses on a single “locality” will be difficult to scale in other areas. Being able to identify a widespread but local need and having a model that adapts to each new market will be crucial.

Two, identify an abundance of locations to use as “fulfillment centers.” For instance, distribution centers (DC’s) aren’t the only sites you can utilize to ship orders out of. In fact, if you only use DC’s, you’re already behind. Step up your omnichannel strategy and use your suppliers/manufacturers to drop ship, utilize third party logistics companies for additional help and definitely bring your stores into the mix. Did you know that Kohl’s reduced delivery time by ½ day on each delivery by employing their stores as fulfillment centers? (Forrester, 2017)

Three, think about using a variety of carriers, and don’t discount the smaller ones. Together, local, regional and national carriers create a perfect mix of delivery options and capabilities. In fact, smaller local carriers account for almost 60% of the U.S. trucking industry and can typically transport shipments from 80-100 miles within a specified zone. They are great for parcel last mile delivery as they are able to provide personalized, caring service for clients. Regional carriers are great for shippers with multiple distribution centers and a high concentration of customers within a geographical market. They also typically have wider time schedules for pick-up and delivery and often provide next-day deliveries.

Four, don’t just focus on what your competitors are doing, unless you can do it better. It may be easy to replicate a competitor’s strategy, but it’s not always a model that will work for you as well. Each company and each company’s customer base is different. Find a distinguishing angle of your own, because people love niche. Focus on doing what you’re able to do, and do it well.

Five, learn how to say ‘no’. It’s easy to think that you can do this, and this and this too, but you will never be able to please everyone all at once, even with a last mile delivery plan that you think is perfect. Stick to your strategy and tweak it only when necessary.

The opportunities lying ahead are huge. Logistics providers need to position themselves for the upcoming radical change and readjust their existing networks accordingly. The differentiator in this field will be technology. It will be the leading driver as to what companies can do for their customers. Updated technology will manage workflows, direct the customer experience and provides visibility to all parties.

The end consumer will see the difference in the form of a package on their front step, days, even hours, after ordering. You’ll see the difference in the form of increased speed, efficiency and revenue.

Why it’s Time Your eCommerce Business Moved to the Cloud

Teledata will be exhibiting at this year’s eCommerce Show North.  The article below originally appeared on their website and was written by James Burns.

Many hosting providers offer what they describe as eCommerce hosting or eCommerce-optimised hosting. However, these solutions can be built on very different technologies and offer very different levels of performance and reliability.

Examples include shared server hosting and VPS hosting at the lower end, while more high-end providers will sell dedicated servers as an eCommerce hosting solution.

However, in many cases the limitations of these traditional hosting options can hinder the performance of an online store – a significant disadvantage in the ultra-competitive world of online retail.

For instance, in January 2018 Google formally announced their “Speed Update” which will take into account mobile device page speed as another factor in how websites are ranked in the search results. This update will be rolled out in July 2018 and is designed to weed out the slowest sites.

And while your website may not be affected greatly, it’s now more important than ever that your website performs at its best, especially for mobile. Not only could poor performance affect you negatively in the rankings but it could also prevent visitors from getting to your website in the first place, and upset brand reputation for your eCommerce business. According to research done by Google in 2017, the average loading speed for a landing page on a mobile is 22 seconds – however, it was also revealed that 53% people will leave a mobile site if the page takes more than three seconds to load.

Another study showed that a delay in page loading time or poor website performance could contribute to a 7% reduction in conversion rates – meaning every delay would cost your online business.

For our part, we think the advantages of cloud hosting make it a platform that’s well worth considering – whether you’re making your first move into the world of online trading, or you’re looking to overhaul your current eCommerce hosting arrangements. Read on to learn why.

Cloud offers on-demand scalability

One of the causes of poor performance is that a server is overloaded. There are two possible solutions that could help solve this issue:

Invest in a high-spec dedicated server – Some retailers still choose to invest in high-spec dedicated servers on the expectation that this will give them enough resource to meet demands at their highest. However, this “over-spec” strategy is not very cost-effective – you’re playing for resources that may well remain unused for the majority of the hardware’s lifespan. Nor is it particularly flexible in terms of future growth – if your store takes off in a dramatic way, you’re still going to be facing a time-consuming migration (or expensive load-balancing act).

Invest in an agile cloud server – The cloud on the other hand provides increased agility, allowing retailers to provision more server resources at peak times (such as during high-traffic events like Black Friday), and then scale down again when demand returns to normal levels. This unique advantage of cloud hosting allows you to more closely align your monthly costs with your resources usage – much more cost effective in the long-run, especially for a small-to-medium sized eCommerce business.

Speed and consistent performance

In comparison to shared server and VPS hosting, the cloud option wins hands down. When hosted on a cloud platform, your store will be able to draw all the resources it needs from a large reserve of memory, processing power and storage. Gone are the performance limitations of a single machine, with its hard-limits on resources – all of which were shared by other hosting customers, competing for their share of the hardware.

Dedicated servers on the other hand are sometimes considered to offer more consistent performance than cloud, but this isn’t really noticeable in practice and the scalability of cloud makes it much easier to fine-tune performance anyway. For instance, if a lack of CPU or memory hinders your dedicated server’s performance, you can upgrade or replace the hardware, but this comes at a cost, both in terms of purchase price and downtime during implementation. With a cloud server, however, adding or removing resources is easier and won’t incur the significant, permanent costs associated with a hardware upgrade.


A less obvious but equally important consideration for an ecommerce business is that most cloud architectures are inherently more resilient than other forms of hosting.

For example, many cloud server hosting providers have some degree of redundancy built into their platforms – helping prevent downtime due to hardware failures.

Compared to relying on a single server, a cloud platform will enlist resources from any number of physical servers, where, if one fails, it will simply restart on another host, causing as little disruption as possible. For any business, this level of redundancy is important, but the 24/7 nature of an eCommerce website – where an outage can result in lost sales and revenue – makes automated fail-over a key advantage.

What is Downtime Costing Your eCommerce Business?

Teledata will be exhibiting at this year’s eCommerce Show North.  The article below originally appeared on their website and was written by James Burns.

Most businesses face an impact to their top or bottom line when their websites go down.

Few, however, are more directly affected by downtime than online retailers, where it causes revenue to grind to a halt and customers to take their business to competing websites.

Here, we take a look at how the costs of eCommerce downtime break down, as well as some of the steps online retailers and their partner agencies can take to combat unplanned outages.

The direct cost of eCommerce downtime

A number of studies have attempted to put a concrete figure on the cost of downtime, both in eCommerce and elsewhere. One of the best-known benchmarks is from the Ponemon Institute, which in 2016 showed the average cost of an outage across all sectors to be around $740,000 (£536,000). In eCommerce, the figure was higher still at $758,000.

For an ecommerce business, perhaps the most obvious starting point for counting the cost of downtime is to look at the direct impact on your revenue for a given period. How much would you lose in straight sales if your site was unavailable for one, two, three hours – maybe even an afternoon? For some of you reading this, the figure will run into the thousands of pounds.

Of course, even at this basic level, the cost of an hour’s disruption will vary. Perhaps the most diligent (and frightening!) exercise here is to look at the cost of downtime to you during peak online shopping hours/seasons and weight it accordingly – particularly if you rely on such key periods for a healthy bottom line.

Once you have a basic hourly figure, it’s possible to get an idea of risk exposure with your current eCommerce hosting provider by looking at their uptime SLA (this calculator may help you to get a clearer picture). However, remember that SLAs can be missed, and that downtime or sluggish store performance can also be caused by other factors such as heavy server load – a common problem for online stores at peak times, when their earning potential is highest.

Indirect costs – lost productivity, recovery and more

An ecommerce business can also incur a wide range of indirect costs from a serious downtime incident. Consider the following, for example:

Lost productivity: For as long as the incident lasts, some staff may be unable to do their jobs and others may have to focus on firefighting (such as answering calls from concerned customers) and other low-value work. If your business is a digital agency that builds and runs eCommerce websites for its own clients, this can be an even more significant cost factor as you pour resources into smoothing things over with your customer base.

Cost of recovery: Downtime can be caused by many different factors, and not all of them are as simple to recover from as others. In some cases, you may need to tap into expert resource to restore from backups, solve complex software problems and so on.

Reputational damage: In the ultra-competitive world of eCommerce, there’s no reason for inconvenienced customers not to flock to other websites and stay there – costing you both in terms of new and repeat business.

Damage to SEO: It’s easy to overlook, but downtime can also impact your search performance and therefore prevent shoppers from getting to your website for a time even after the incident has been resolved.

3 tips to combat eCommerce downtime

So what can an eCommerce business do to protect itself against the potential cost and reputational damage of an outage?

Thankfully, there are a few different steps you can take to ensure your website (or, in the digital agency scenario, your clients’ websites) isn’t more exposed to the risk of downtime than it needs to be. Here are three of our top tips:

Look at your hosting platform. Is it a good fit for your website in terms of expected traffic numbers (both now and in the future), hardware redundancy and backup provision? The quick and easy scalability of a cloud platform, for example, lends itself well to eCommerce businesses that experience seasonal demand or forecast rapid growth. We recommend you familiarise yourself on the differences between shared, VPS, cloud server hosting and dedicated server hosting in particular.

What level of uptime can your hosting provider realistically deliver? What’s their SLA – and, more importantly, is it backed up by high-quality infrastructure? (Any provider can say they offer a particular number of nines in their SLA, but only the best ones will be able to talk confidently about the technical controls they use to back this up.)

Can you rely on your hosting provider for fast and high-quality support to solve the problem? It may not be the first thing you think of when sourcing a hosting platform, but no provider is immune to downtime – so it makes sense to look for one that can show you glowing references from happy customers to demonstrate their value at a time of crisis. The ultimate “try before you buy” test? Give your prospective provider’s support team a call and see how easily you can get through to someone that can help. If or when disruption occurs, you need the process of getting authoritative help to be as simple and fast as possible.

Why LinkedIn is the King of Organic

Digital Media Team will be exhibiting at this year’s eCommerce Show North. This post was written by guest blogger Lucy Thorpe and originally appeared on the Digital Media Team website.

You might think of LinkedIn as somewhere that only job hunters, recruiters and sales people hang out, but did you know that there are 9 billion content impressions in LinkedIn feeds every week?

This content is generated by just 3 million users, so as share of voice goes, it’s a great way to reach a huge audience with less competitive conversation than say, Google or Facebook.

People spend time on other social networks, but they invest time in LinkedIn, seeking content that helps them to solve a professional problem. According to stats from LinkedIn, 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn. This is why 92% of B2B marketers leverage LinkedIn over all social platforms and 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content.

The professional social network is also fantastic for generating traffic to your website – 46% of social media coming into B2B company sites comes from, you guessed it, LinkedIn.

But it’s not just about B2B. LinkedIn has 450 million professionals who use the site and stats from the social network reveal that it’s become a destination where people consume high-quality content from professional publishers – think The Wall Street Journal or The Economist – who are sharing content into their feed. In short, the audience on LinkedIn are primed and ready for relevant information that they can use to help them succeed.

The different types of content that can be shared across LinkedIn is extensive, ranging from long-form pieces of content such as whitepapers to images, news, videos, status updates, slides, podcasts and external articles. You can also contribute to groups to join conversation in your industry. Hashtags also work on the site, so you can help your audience find your organic content more easily and grow your brand awareness.


Another reason why LinkedIn is the king of organic is the ability to publish long-form content as an influencer – alongside legendary business heroes such as Bill Gates and Richard Branson. This can be a key tool to increase engagement and traction on your content – according to a study by Google consumers check 10 pieces of content before they make a purchase decision, so it’s important that your prospective customer can find your content easily when they’re ready to make that decision.Content can also be shared through your LinkedIn Company Page and specific Showcase Pages to increase your organic reach. These tools are free to establish brand awareness and thought leadership. By sharing relevant information, perspectives and product information to reflect your company’s vision you can help your customers find your content, without having to spend a penny on targeting or sponsored content.

Also, did you know that SlideShare is also part of LinkedIn? With 70 million unique visitors per month, the site is one of the top 100 most-visited websites in the world and the world’s largest professional content-sharing community. 80% of visitors to SlideShare find content through organic search (20% from Google alone) that takes them directly to the information they’re looking for.


It’s the perfect organic opportunity to showcase content such as presentations, portfolios, conference talks and webinars to raise brand awareness and thought leadership alongside your LinkedIn presence. The visual aspect of SlideShare can resonate more quickly with some viewers than text heavy posts too.

Two Jay Joins Together Group

Two Jay will be exhibiting at this year’s eCommerce Show North.

We’ve been busy working behind the scenes and we’re so pleased to finally be able to share our exciting news!

Two Jay has joined forces with nine other award-winning founder-led consultancies and agencies to form an agile strategy, eCommerce and digital-experiences powerhouse, called Together Group.

This is because we believe in the power of collaboration. In an increasingly advanced and competitive environment, it would be naive of us to think that one company can truly serve the whole complexity of customer’s needs on their own… but Together we can.

As a Magento Enterprise Partner, we will combine our specialism in development with the specialisms of our new partners who are the best in business in terms of design and UX. Forming a ‘share swap’ partnership that will enable us to provide holistic and innovative solutions that best meet our clients’ needs, throughout every part of their eCommerce journey.

“Being part of an innovative model which supports all aspects of eCommerce is very exciting for ourselves and our clients while partnering with like-minded brand-led global agencies offers the potential to accelerate our global expansion.” Jamie Jackson, Two Jay Founder


Specialising in purpose-driven digital transformation for fashion, beauty, hospitality, and other premium consumer and lifestyle brands, partners are handpicked based on their impressive portfolios. Together Group partners include Sweden Unlimited, a New York-based eCommerce creative agency who craft digital experiences for brands such as Estee Lauder, Chanel, W Hotels and Kate Spade, to name but a few. Folk Commerce, a design agency who work with Hermès, Amanda Wakeley and Paco Rabanne. Plus, London-based agencies Skywire and 5XThinking an eCommerce and digital consultancy. All led under their appointed global CEO and former CEO of Porsche Design Group, Dr Christian Kurtzke.

Nublue Announces Trio of New Client Wins

Nublue will be exhibiting at this year’s eCommerce show North, you can learn more about them here.

North west based eCommerce agency Nublue has announced its latest client wins which see the Magento experts working with suppliers of batteries, gas equipment, fashion accessories and lifestyle products. In the last month the agency has signed up 100% Peak Power, Hamilton Gas Products and A Gift from The Gods, all UK based retailers who have turned to Nublue to help them grow their online sales.

Headquartered in Northern Ireland, family owned and run Hamilton Gas Products specialise in the distribution of gas equipment and installation materials throughout the UK and Ireland. Their clients include Calor Gas, the leading supplier and distributor of LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) in Ireland. Nublue will be upgrading their current site to improve functionality, customer experience and to increase conversion rates.

Lydia Grigoriadou, Hamilton Gas Products Digital Marketing Manager said: “We were looking for an agency that specialises in Magento 2. After reading all Nublue’s customer reviews, we had decided this was the one.”

Battery suppliers 100% Peak Power have joined with Nublue to design and build a new transactional website on Magento 2, the latest version of the platform. Manufacturing and supplying the most common batteries such as AA and AAA, 100% Peak Power also offers a large range of specialist batteries such as alkaline, rechargeable, lithium and carbon zinc products for use in all electronic appliances.

Trading online and in independent boutiques and selected high street retailers, London based A Gift from the Gods have teamed with Nublue on a retainer basis, to help improve their online presence and continued development with Magento 2.

Nublue’s Managing Director Michael Ashworth is delighted with the new projects: “I’m very pleased that Nublue continues to develop with the successful introduction of our Magento Development Retainers which allow us to work with exciting brands on a long-term basis, acting as an extension of their team and helping them to grow and realise their online goals”.

Nublue was promoted to Professional Partner status with Magento earlier this year which is the result of closer and more successful collaboration with the platform. Investment in Magento 2 training is an ongoing priority, complimenting the Certified Solution Specialists Nublue already has. Magento Commerce is a leading provider of cloud commerce innovation to merchants and brands across B2C and B2B industries, with 260,000+ clients include JCB, Kurt Geiger, Monin, Coca Cola and Seat.

Nublue has worked with Magento since its launch in 2008 and provides design, development, hosting and support services. The agency’s development retainer service offer has proven popular since its launch in 2017, allowing both new and existing clients engineer their online growth by creating long-term plans to implement ideas and strategies designed to improve conversion rates. Katy Wilson, Channel Development Manager for Magento said: “Congratulations to Nublue for achieving Professional Partner status. Their dedication and collaborative approach has seen the results and we are excited to see what this new level of partnership brings.”

Lead Sponsor and Event Partners Confirmed for eCommerce Show North 2018

We’re delighted to announce the innovative companies who will be the lead sponsor and event partners for eCommerce Show North (eCSN), which returns for a second year in November.

Over 2,400 attendees, 106 exhibitors and sponsors and 71 speakers attended the inaugural running of the expo in October, making it the biggest gathering of eCommerce companies, vendors and suppliers held outside London last year.

And we’re expecting an even more impressive and well-attended event when eCSN returns to EventCity in Manchester on November 6th and 7th 2018.

We can confirm that hosting company UKFast is once again the lead sponsor for the event.

And CRO specialists Endless Gain, eCommerce website experts Space48, email marketing automation business dotmailer, Product Information Management (PIM) system Pimberly and open-source e-commerce platform Magento are all on board as event partners.

eCSN will feature leading exponents of eCommerce with businesses specialising in the full range of available services and solutions.

Partner Pavilions will promote key themes such as Platforms, Payments, Analytics, Security, Marketing, Hosting, Backbone, Logistics, Mobile, Hardware and Innovation.

Want to learn how to get involved? Get in touch for more info.

Meet Magento UK is Coming to London Next Month

Join merchants and developers at the UK’s largest Magento conference for a day of eCommerce insights.

Meet Magento UK is the perfect opportunity to connect with eCommerce experts from across the globe. A chance to share expertise, create opportunities, and take a look at what’s coming next.

The future of your eCommerce starts here.


Get ahead of the curve with a dedicated track covering topics like growth, innovation, and optimisation. You’ll leave armed with strategies for tomorrow and beyond.


Learn about Magento’s cutting-edge technologies from leading thinkers and doers. The technical track will be bursting with practical knowledge to take back to your projects.

Head to the Booking Page and claim a 25% discount using the code ECMLOVESMMUK