At ShoppingToday, an e-commerce event about the latest trends in online retail, online travel and finance, various interesting insights were given to offline and online retailers.
First, Cor Molenaar, Professor of eMarketing at Erasmus University, discussed the importance of disruption and emphasized that retailers should not fall behind on the latest trends. According to Professor Molenaar, the future of online retailing will be in mobile websites (not in apps!) and therefore all retailers should create a mobile website as soon as possible. In addition, he explained how physical shops will become important again as online retailers are now starting to work together with local shops to provide one-hour delivery (eg eBay Now). Consequently, he urged online retailers to start thinking about ways to improve their delivery times, potentially by integrating their physical stores with their websites.
Second, PriceWaterhouseCoopers discussed future trends and technologies. According to PWC, five key trends can be identified:
- Big Data and Analytics: Gathering and analyzing customer data and providing the customer with interesting offers at the purchase decision
- Internet of Things: Being connected 24/7 by means of a smartphone
- Digital Payment: eg Google Wallet and eBay’s Paypal
- Digitalization of the shopping experience: Currently we are still talking about multi-channel shopping, while retailers should offer the customer a ‘one-channel experience’, in which offline and online channels become fully integrated
- Digitalization of products and services: How music, movies and books have become digitalized, many more categories will follow
Last, Edwin de Jong, 21-year old founder of Fietsuniek.nl, Omafiets.nl and Bakfietsweb.nl, elaborated on his success story. Indeed, quite remarkably, nearly three years after having founded his business, Edwin already holds over 1% of the bicycle market. His business model is focused around drop shipping. Drop shipping is a supply chain management technique in which retailers deliver goods from the manufacturer directly to the customer. Thus, the retailer does not own inventory. It took Edwin three years to successfully set up this technique.
His key insights:
- Founders should not be too emotionally involved with their business. Indeed, Edwin explained that he did not have any affection for bikes nor for webshops. Yet, he saw an opportunity within the bicycle market and consequently acted upon this opportunity
- It is worth investing in a domain name. Domain names can be quite expensive, but one has to make a tradeoff between paying a high cost-per-click (CPC) in Google Adwords, and investing in a domain name. (Omafiets.nl apparently cost over 50.000 euros, while the CPC for ‘fiets’ is 1 euro)
- Startups should advertise effectively. For his webshops, Edwin uses affiliation, Marktplaats.nl (the Dutch eBay), Google Adwords and makes sure that potential customers can find him on Google (SEO).
My personal key insights from ShoppingToday
- Big Data is the future
- If you want to start up your business, just do it!
I’m a big fan of TechCrunch for several reasons. Not only does TechCrunch provide me with the latest information on anything happening in the tech world, it also gives me lots of ideas for tools that I could use for my own startup that I am planning to launch in the near future. Over the past months, I’ve discovered some tools via TechCrunch that facilitate various aspects of setting up your company. Here are the coolest ones:
– Shopify ( www.shopify.com ) / e-commerce solution
This company helps people turn their website into a webshop. Merchants can select a template for the layout and all they need to do next is upload photos of their products. What I like about it is the fact that anyone who wants to sell something online, can. They offer a two-week trial period and then you pay on a monthly basis.
– Wix (www.wix.com) / website creation
Wix is a do-it-yourself web publishing platform which enables users to create and host websites without having to learn to design or code. It is completely free. A cool and easy way for anyone who needs a webpage to make one quickly.
– Longstride (http://wearelongstride.com/) / webdesign
This startup makes really cool webdesigns, videos, logo redesigns, trailers etc. My personal favourite is http://www.jifiti.com/. Even if you don’t want to pay for their services, it is a good way to get inspired. Check it out!
– Startup-giraffe (http://startupgiraffe.com/) / all-inclusive startup solution
This startup helps entrepreneurs develop an idea into a product and launch the accompanying website. The thought behind it is that many entrepreneurs don’t know where to start or get lost in the amount of work to be done. Startup-giraffe delivers a product within 7 weeks. It’s a pricy option though: 50 000 dollars and 5% equity. I’d recommend this for anyone who has money but no clue on what to do 😉
– Zendesk (www.zendesk.com) / customer care solution
Zendesk is an on-demand customer care solution that deals with email, phone, chat and social media. Effortless Housing uses Zendesk and even though I have to admit that I wasn’t that impressed with their interface, from a startup’s perspective, Zendesk is an easy tool that deals with the entire customer care-part of a business.
– MailChimp (www.mailchimp.com) / CRM solution
This startup provides easy templates to set up an email campaign. You can select from a number of templates and then add text, columns and pictures as you like. If you have less than 2000 subscribers, you can send up to 12,000 emails for free.
– Xobni (www.xobni.com) / inbox solution
This company (the word Inbox spelled backwards) makes your inbox and address book smarter. The application creates profiles of all your contacts and provides additional information about job title, company details, email history and updates from social media. It was acquired by Yahoo in July 2013. Personally, I think it is a cool app, but if you use it for work, I wouldn’t want to see social media updates from my partners.
Should you know of other handy tools for startups, I’d be happy to hear about them!