Digital Transformation Summit 2018 | Soundbites & Key Learnings

June 2018, Nashville, Tenn.Edgenet’s 2018 Digital Transformation Summit (#DTS2018) brought a mecca of e-commerce technology providers to Nashville this week. The theme focused on “digital transformation” of how product content (info we need to make a purchase decision) flows throughout the shopper journey (process of determining what, where, and when to buy).  Oh boy, is it changing fast!

We heard from Google, Forrester, Microsoft, Bazaarvoice, and so many more- all with similar themes that both manufacturers/ brands and  retailers alike need to be aware of as shopping behavior changes to a “need it now” world. They all have one single GOAL- Connect Brands to Shoppers. 

In true Nashville style, Edgenet sent the #DTS2018 presenters home with these cool guitars (See Slideshow)! 

Following are #DTS2018 Soundbites & Key Learnings for Retailers & Manufacturers

GOOGLE IS THE GLUE - Google is making shopping easier, closing the gaps.

"Shoppers are more demanding. They want their online shopping experience to be faster, easier, and seamless."  -- Anand Vora- Google

  • For Shoppers- Google enhances the experience with visual and voice search, shopping lists, and Google Pay.
  • For Manufacturers/ Brands- Google Ads, digital circulars, and Google Manufacturer Center (houses product details and lifestyle content to connect brands with consumers in the purchasing journey, and lets manufacturers get category level analytics.)  
  • For Retailers- Google directs shoppers to purchase through "where to buy" online and in-store, shows price comparisons, and populates product ratings and reviews in search.

MOBILE FIRST - Build and design your e-commerce website for MOBILE FIRST, then optimize across platforms.
Things to consider:

  • Mobile Search- optimize for SEO with full product descriptions, reviews, and on-site search functionality.
  • Page Load Speed and page loads for online catalogs, faster = better.
  • Mobile Payments, consumers want easy options.
  • Mobile-Responsive Content- images and content should shrink & expand based on device.
  • In-App Shopping- For brands and retailers with loyal shoppers- consider an app!
  • In-app experience = 3X conversions. Why? The intent to buy is higher than in an online search.  One more channel that you can personalize content to.

DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT - Accurate Product Knowledge = Shopping Power = Sales Success
One of the biggest challenges in product information and digital asset management is making it consistent across brand sites, retailers, and across Google.

For example- The old way of handling this is having various image sizes and formats of the product package, and one by one reaching out to the retailers to update their websites. If there are 100’s of products that need updating, this can easily turn into a nightmare. 

Fast forward to today:  there are so many solutions to standardizing this content across the internet with seamless product feeds across brand and retailer websites. Here are a couple:

  • GS1 - (The company that is the birthplace of Barcodes and UPCs) GS1's Certified product content program is a data hub tool / digital asset management that ensures accuracy of product content for small to medium businesses. 
  • Edgenet - Nashville's own works with manufacturers and retailers to keep product content up to date and flowing in realtime across retailer websites. 

PERSONALIZATION - Personalization enhances the shopping experience.
"We will need machine learning and AI tools to invest in personalization."  -- Noam  Rubinstein- IgnitionOne
Shoppers don’t mind retailers or brands offering recommendations based on their likes or past purchases. We expect emails with our names in them. We openly “connect with Facebook” when connecting to a shopping app or downloading coupons; however; Noam warns brands:  Don’t be creepy!

REVIEWS - Everyone has an opinion, and word-of-mouth marketing plays an important part in shopper decision making.
"70% of reviews are written on mobile devices and also viewed on mobile devices in store, at the shelf."   --Loran Gutt - Bazaarvoice
The challenge is that not all products you may research online have reviews. How often do you go out of your way to review the sharpie you used to write on your kid’s lunch bag? Probably not that often. Or that stapler you used this morning to collect all your papers for that important meeting. Not likely. 

Bazaarvoice has a variety of programs that get consumers engaged with your brand, offering them an opportunity to weigh in. Those ratings and reviews can be syndicated across brand and retailer websites- because sharing is caring  :) Each month in the Bazaarvoice Network, more than 900 million consumers view and share authentic content including reviews, questions and answers, and social photos across 5,700 brand and retail websites. Bottom line, if your e-commerce website doesn’t have ratings and reviews, you are losing sales. Opinions matter. 

Check out the full list of Digital Transformation 2018 Participating Companies and Presenters. Stalk them on the socials for juicy e-commerce industry info throughout the year! Love these tips? Want more? Connect with Edgenet to stay on top of these trends and find out about next year’s Digital Transformation Summit 2019!