Gerard Doyle, CEO of discountvouchers.co.uk talks to CBR about the current e-commerce landscape and possible trends in the future.
How has the e-commerce landscape changed in 2012?
The e-deal industry has grown at a phenomenal rate since it took off two years ago. This year has seen many daily deal providers diversifying and broadening their services to include more than just 'pure' daily deals and instead offering online voucher codes, printable vouchers and loyalty programmes as well. I expect this trend to continue in 2013 as e-deal providers fight to survive in this highly competitive and crowded space.
Groupon hasn't been performing well lately, is this a forecast for things to come in the daily deal industry?
Groupon's stocks may be down, but the sector remains resilient and as lucrative as ever. As with any emerging industry there will be teething problems but no one can question the massive impact daily deal sites have, and will continue to have, on the general e-commerce industry. Within the last few months alone we've seen big brands like Nectar and Amazon as well as niche start-ups such as MumsAndMe and DailyPetDeals kick-start their own daily deal sites.
What are some ecommerce trends happening right now?
Until recently, businesses have focused solely on building databases and not analysing them. In the past this has damaged the industry's reputation, frustrating consumers with irrelevant and misplaced emails. Personalisation now plays a big part in improving the sector's reputation as companies begin to target the right deal, to the right person, at the right time. At DiscountVouchers.co.uk, we analyse our deals to see who is buying what, to ensure our emails are relevant and targeted. This increasing trend towards personalisation in the industry also means that the obscene marketing costs incurred in acquiring raw email addresses can now be avoided.
What role will big data play in the ecommerce industry for 2013?
Many organisations are still only utilising a small percentage of their available data. 2013 will see a shift as businesses begin to prioritise the role of data in their company's strategic planning. Companies have begun to invest in better targeting, using the data they already have, and improving it to provide a more personalised service.
Online marketers will continue to use big data to analysis their online sales paths; working out the impact of their different channels like SEO, Affiliates, PPC and banners to not only measure the 'last click winner' but also which channels influence a sale. 2013 will also see more digital service & marketing companies acquire and integrate data technology companies. Emailvision's recent acquisition of PredictiveIntent is a great example of this.
What's the importance of retailers and merchants incorporating big data?
Big data opens a new door for consumer measurement, understanding a consumer's direct impact on business, and completely transforms a merchant's ability to engage with consumers effectively. It also allows for better prediction of consumer behaviour, and gives businesses the opportunity to think one step ahead of their consumers.
Companies are now realising the impact big data can have on their marketing decisions. Big data can enable a business to understand consumers and measure their impact on a brand. Big data analysis finally allows businesses to identify, measure, and effectively target consumers.
Big data analysis allows merchants to target the most profitable areas, based on consumer behaviour. By identifying consumer patterns businesses can develop strategic marketing plans and invest in the areas that are most profitable.
What's the significance of "social media" in ecommerce? Will all online shopping transactions eventually move towards it?
To date, I feel 'social commerce' has under delivered for most merchants. Gap, J.C. Penney, Nordstrom and GameStop have all opened and closed Facebook stores in the last 12 months. Merchants will continue to explore the social space but the best success stories recently have only concentrated on customer brand engagement, rather than driving incremental transactions. It is too early to say if 'social shopping' will evolve into a regular marketing channel and I haven't seen enough evidence to justify the current marketing budget splits.