By Association Only sponsors Vervaunt’s inaugural Pulse ecommerce summit

By Association Only sponsors Vervaunt’s inaugural Pulse ecommerce summit

Last week London-based ecommerce consultancy and paid media agency Vervaunt hosted the inaugural Pulse ecommerce summit ‘22 at The Steel Yard in London. 

The event, which took place on Thursday 10th November, saw nearly 250 attendees from across the ecommerce industry gather for a day of insight-sharing, networking, and plenty of fun.

The Steel Yard venue in London

After a jam-packed day of panel discussions – including one featuring By Association Only’s very own Head of Growth, George Linton – the crowd was entertained by the incredible magician John Duffet, live band Superstrut and an official after-party sponsored by Shopify. We hope that the BAO hangover kits in the event goody bags came in handy for those who stayed out a little too late!

Magician John Duffet

A huge thank you to Vervaunt for inviting By Association Only to sponsor the event, and for putting on such an inspiring and enjoyable day. And a massive shout out to our fellow sponsors: Shopify, Gorgias, Klevu, Yotpo, Ometria, Mention Me, Gr4vy, Akoova, Sizebay, Brightpearl and Advanced Commerce.

Live band Superstrut

The talks

We identified four main themes:

  1. A focus on retention and loyalty over acquisition
  2. Privacy and the impact of regulations
  3. A return to more traditional marketing
  4. The rise in SMS

Here are some standout takeaways from each of the talks and panel discussions:

Josh Duggan and Paul Rogers from Vervaunt

Welcome & Introductions: Paul Rogers and Josh Duggan from Vervaunt

  • Global ecommerce annual revenue is expected to reach $5 billion – up 10 per cent year on year
  • Google Q2 ad revenue is up 80 per cent compared to Q2 pre-Covid in 2019
  • Meta Q1-Q3 ad revenue in 2022 was 46 per cent higher than in 2021
  • TikTok is currently the fasting growing app for every age group, so should be seriously considered as part of any marketing strategy next year
  • Amazon is the second fastest-growing ad platform after TikTok
Josh Duggan from Vervaunt, Jade Harvey from We Are TALA, Alyssa Satterthwaite from GANNI A/S and Lauren Charalambous from Astrid & Miyu

Panel: New Customer Acquisition: Jade Harvey from We Are TALA, Lauren Charalambous from Astrid & Miyu, Alyssa Satterthwaite from GANNI A/S. Moderated by Josh Duggan from Vervaunt

  • Ecommerce is six times bigger in revenue than it was three years ago
  • Digital ad spending will be two times bigger in 2024 than it was in 2019

When entering new markets…

  • Adopt a “local” approach – GANNI released a Paris T-shirt, for example
  • Only launch with wholesalers who align with your brand values
  • Work with local partners
  • Lean into the local culture – Astrid & Miyu have dedicated marketing teams in each location so nuances are understood and customers are communicated to in the right way
  • Don’t expect your marketing spend to see a return in a new market in the same way as you would in an existing market – it’s about brand building and telling our brand story, initially. Educate your new market on who you are and explain the benefits of joining you
  • As Jade Harvey from We Are TALA explains, “community is key”. Utilise influencers to reinforce your brand story and encourage customer-created content that can go viral

On 2023 trends…

  • Retention will be a big focus for brands next year as the cost of living crisis and war in Ukraine means people have less to spend. GANNI will be leaning into personalisation and using customer personas to influence how its marketers speak to customers. Watch out for collaborations with other like-minded brands too.
  • The use of SMS will become increasingly more popular. Lauren Charalambous says it's more effective than email marketing for Astrid & Miyu
Bethan Rainford from Vervaunt and Nick Baughan from Meta

Panel: Privacy in a Cookie-Less World: Neil Dulake from Google and Nick Baughan from Meta. Moderated by Bethan Rainford from Vervaunt

“We’re all much more aware of the data trail we leave behind, and transparency can only be a good thing.” Neil Dulake, Google

  • 80 per cent of consumers are worried about their privacy and data. GDPR has heightened consumer awareness, resulted in bigger regulations and meant technology changes were necessary. This “perfect storm,” according to Neil Dulake from Google, has made it harder to penetrate new markets than in the past
  • Regulation is, “the biggest threat to the web as we know it,” says  Nick Baughan from Meta. “Our whole experience is entirely different to how it was before the regulations came in” with retail and small businesses impacted the most

On the future of privacy

  • Retailers need to be agile and adapt to consumer behaviour
  • First-party data and how much you have and how you use it will be your competitive edge 
  • We will likely see the return of traditional advertising – brands will work more with publishers and go deeper on the first party value exchange

Andrew Showman from CurrentBody, Diego Fria from Stüssy, Marni Dasanjh from Fred Perry and Paul Rogers from Vervaunt

Panel: Internationalisation: Diego Fria from Stüssy, Marni Dasanjh from Fred Perry and Andrew Showman from CurrentBody. Moderated by Paul Rogers from Vervaunt

"Be hot on your tone of voice.” Marni Dasanjh, Fred Perry

Tips on internationalisation…

  • Understand the demand in the country – is it real or potential – then select the right local partners who really know the market
  • Work with local copywriters so you don’t lose your brand’s tone of voice. Fred Perry manually translates every bit of copy rather than using an automated tool. “It’s not the easiest,” says Marni Dasanjh, “but immediately conversion, traffic and retention were impacted positively.” 
  • Make sure the language for each store is consistent from the beginning to the end of the user journey
  • Use SMS, which is bigger in countries outside of the United Kingdom
  • “Understand seasons change from country to country,” says Andrew Showman from CurrentBody. Demand for winter clothes won’t be the same in the UK as in Australia, for example
Rita Martins from Ometria

The Experience Expectation: Rita Martins from Ometria

  • Customers have more power than ever to opt-out of your marketing if they aren’t enjoying their experience
  • Cost of customer acquisition has risen to an all-time high – up by 60 per cent 
  • 70 per cent of customers have no objection to sharing personal information for a better experience. But there’s often a messy gap between this expectation and the reality

Retailers should ask themselves…

  1. Are you asking for the right data? Are you asking the customer how often they would like to be spoken to and what about? Are you then using that data in the right way?
  2. What are you offering in exchange for customer data? There has to be a clear value exchange. Tell the customer why you are asking for certain data, and why it will benefit them
  3. What does the end-to-end journey look like? Put the customer at the centre, then define how you’re going to speak to them and using which channels
  4. Does your tech support your vision for experience?
John Godwin from Travis Perkins, James Gurd from Digital Juggler, Alex Nelson from PerfectDraft and Nick Owen from OKA

Panel: Ecommerce Tech & Digital Transformation: John Godwin from Travis Perkins, Nick Owen from OKA and Alex Nelson from PerfectDraft. Moderated by James Gurd from Digital Juggler 

  • As mentioned by other brands, there has been a huge shift from acquisition to retention – better customer service, automation, referral programmes and SMS are all a focus
  • John Godwin from Travis Perkins says build a business case for scaling by testing and trialling in a controlled environment first

Neil Forrest from Gorgias

Four Tips to Hit Your Acquisition and Retention Goals through Cutting-Edge CX: Neil Forrest from Gorgias

  • Again, brands are spending increasingly more time and resource on retention rather than acquisition
  • 79 per cent of consumers would take their business to a competitor within a week for experiencing poor customer service

 Four tips to keep loyal customers…

  1. Give speedy responses to customer queries
  2. Treat social media as a support channel
  3. Use proactive chat campaigns to boost CVR
  4. Empower customers to get their own answers – make it easy for customers to find the information themselves by using analytics to identify the most frequently asked questions and answering them on your website
Gary Carruthers from Underwaterpistol, Xavier Armand from Vaan and Andy Doyle from Radical Ecom

Panel: Web 3.0: Andy Doyle from Radical Ecom, Dylan Laseur from Flatline Agency & Under Reality, Gary Carruthers from Underwaterpistol and Xavier Armand from Vaan. Moderated by Liam Quinn from Vervaunt

On practical ways to use Web 3.0…

  1. Account management: replacing social logins with Web 3.0 login rather than having to log into various platforms
  2. Utilising your data for cross-promotion: for example, if your wallet knows you love coffee, it can curate brands and communities that you might like
  3. Circular economy: product data being carried to each owner of a second-hand item – for example, a car or to tell you your old shoes need to be reheeled after a year of wearing them
Aleyda Solís from Orainti

Building a Modern Day Ecommerce SEO Strategy: Aleyda Solís from Orainti

  • It's getting harder to rank organically with fewer placements for organic results in the SERPs 
  • SEO will become even more important with Google now shifting to a free merchant marketplace and Shopify improving its integration with Google
  • Consider content across the entire customer journey – many online stores focus on commercial and transactional queries, but industry leaders establish their authority ranking across the full search history
  • Invest in informative content, such as guides
  • Many product pages only feature links to product pages, without descriptive text, making them harder to rank. Focus on improving this
  • Feature more products per page
  • Include FAQs – helps with SEO but also building authority and gaining trust
Brad Redding from Elevar

The Future of Web Analytics & Measurement: Brad Redding from Elevar

On the future of analytics:

  • Websites will be faster as a result of tracking being on the server side rather than in the browser
  • Compliance will get easier – this is already happening with iOS, which is taking compliance into its own hands
  • Insights will become increasingly auto-generated
  • AI will move into analytics 
  • Brands will begin building data warehouses
  • Visual CDP profiles will become commonplace
  • Enhanced personalisation – creating dynamic flows based on the customer
George Linton from By Association Only

Panel: Recouping Replatforming Costs with Search-Led Revenue: Lucas Yelland previously from Globe-Trotter, George Linton from By Association Only and Shamoli Miah from Vervaunt. Moderated by Claudia Ditri from Klevu

  • Search is often an ill-considered customer journey despite the value it brings, says George Linton at By Association Only
  • Sessions that include search make up between 8-15 per cent of all sessions – equating to between 20-40 per cent of the revenue sites make. That’s a really significant number of users and therefore a high-value segment worth putting time, money and effort into
  • Platforms such as Klevu make this much easier for merchants
  • Agencies such as By Association Only don’t have to use Klevu’s widgets. The SDK library is a new way of implementing Klevu and doesn't include any frontend widgets, which JS V2 does
  • This means merchants aren't limited to the prescribed templated widgets and creating the opportunity to build a more accessible and performant UI
  • Even better, the JS file size is lower which decreases the performance cost of the Klevu implementation
Thomas Hal Robson-Kanu from The Turmeric Co

How to Take an Ecommerce Brand from £0 to Multi-Million Pounds in Revenue: Thomas Hal Robson-Kanu from The Turmeric Co

“It is essential to think about an omnichannel approach”

  • Built The Turmeric Co as a digital vertical brand with a focus on building a community
  • “What you need to establish first is how can you create fantastic retention and increase lifetime value of those customers” 
  • The brand segments customers based on frequency of purchase and spend, then targets them accordingly for a more personal and relevant experience
  • Having filled in a survey, customers are then tagged in relation to what they are buying the product for – for health, energy, to manage pain, taste etc. They are then segmented into relevant groups and spoken to in a very targeted way
  • As a result of this, the brand has 200 flows in Klaviyo
Carly Jayne Scott from Focusrite Group Plc. and Tom Broughton from Cubitts

Fireside Chat: Navigating the Future of Online Retail: Tom Broughton from Cubitts, Ciaran McClellan from ME+EM and Carly Jayne Scott from Focusrite Group Plc. Moderated by Tim Richardson from Fern Studios & Your Basket Is Empty podcast

“D2C is only dead in the form it was created in 10 years ago,” Ciaran McClellan, ME+EM

  • Tom Broughton from Cubitts says his brand’s focus is on how you can harness technology to enhance the customer experience – replicating the experience you would have in-store online and ideally making it even better
  • Broughton also agrees with previous speakers that brands need to hone in on retention over acquisition in order to survive this difficult time for business
  • Ciaran McClellan from ME+EM imagines, “many businesses will start decoupling from China due to supply chain issues since Covid” as “product availability is of the essence”
  • ME+EM is also trying to diversify how it reaches its target audience as much as possible and says “it’s hard to ignore the millions that are being poured into the metaverse”.

About Vervaunt

Vervaunt is a London-based ecommerce consultancy and paid media agency, working alongside ambitious ecommerce brands and retailers to improve key areas of their business and drive growth.

About By Association Only

By Association Only is the Shopify Plus agency for the world’s most design-conscious luxury brands. Get in touch to discover how our team of experts can support your brand’s Shopify ambitions.

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