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A first-timers recap of Catalyst 2017, hosted by ChannelAdvisor

A first-timers recap of Catalyst 2017, hosted by ChannelAdvisor

Thursday, March 9, 2017Lauren Macdonald After a fun few days in Nashville, TN, we’re back in Canada (and in the cold weather), but as first-time attendees at Catalyst, we wanted to share our feedback on the conference for those of you who were unable to attend.
Here’s our ‘5-minute’ recap…
First of all, ChannelAdvisor sure knows how to host a conference that is organized, informative, and fun! We want to say thanks to them for hosting this event and bringing together eCommerce professionals from all over the globe to educate, network, and collaborate with us.

All of Catalyst’s speakers and sponsors provided great tips throughout the conference. Here’s a few of our favourites:
  • If you aren’t already ‘thinking mobile-first’ when designing your buyer journey, you should be
    • A rapidly growing percentage of consumers are shopping on their mobile devices and if your online store and checkout process are not responsive and efficient on a mobile device, you’re going to lose out on sales.  A large number of sellers don’t ever use a desktop computer. 
  • Marketplaces are key to the successful selling of your products
    • More buyers than ever are turning to marketplaces at the start of their buying process. In fact, 55% of product searches start on Amazon. If your products aren’t already listed on marketplaces, now is the time to put them there.  The average mobile device has 12 apps loaded.  Amazon and eBay are more than often one of those 12. 
  • At this point, marketplace ‘sponsored advertising’ is non-negotiable
    • You can’t rely solely on organic search anymore in an eCommerce world that is far too competitive. You need your products to show up on the first page of a marketplace in order to be successful, and sponsored ads on places like Amazon and eBay are the way to accomplish this.  (Doesn’t this remind you of the early days of Pay Per Click?)
  • 2-day free shipping is a must.
    • Forget 1 week delivery times.  2-day shipping is the “stable steaks” now.  In order to stay competitive, sellers need to be able to get products delivered to customers, fast. For now, 2-day shipping seems to be the standard timeline you must achieve. Predictions for the future, though, show signs of next-day shipping, and even same-day shipping, on the horizon. For this reason, Walmart.com is in a good position to compete as the average American lives within a few miles of a store today.
  • You can’t go wrong with selling your products in China
    • The Chinese eCommerce industry is massive and it’s growing at a faster rate than any other country in the world. ‘Singles Day’ in China outperforms Black Friday and Cyber Monday by roughly 6 times the amount of sales. If you aren’t already selling your products online in China, there’s no excuse.  Now is the time. 
Secondly, we thoroughly enjoyed listening to the various keynote speakers this year at Catalyst 2017. Here’s our thoughts on a few of our favourite keynote sessions:
  • Martha Stewart’s ‘fireside chat’ on living in an omnimedia world
    • We thought Martha was hilarious! We also loved her thoughts on reaching more consumers by making the most of different media platforms and increasing retail presence on as many channels as possible. At eBridge, we always encourage our customers to sell in as many places as they can.
  • David Spitz’ keynote session on ChannelAdvisor and the growth of eCommerce
    • We were seriously impressed with David Spitz and his session. We thought he was a great speaker, had so much insight into the industry, and really knew his stuff when it came to eCommerce and selling across channels. eBridge Connections and ChannelAdvisor have a similar belief in ‘connected ecommerce’ and integration between platforms.
  • Google’s keynote session presented by Rob Rekrutiak
    • Learning about Google shopping and the capabilities of online shopping through simple product searches on Google was fascinating! We appreciated Rob’s insight into the simplicity of shopping through Google and how to make the most of sponsored ads on google for targeting local shoppers.
  • Walmart.com’s keynote session by Michael Trembley
    • We thought Michael Trembley did a great job of introducing the attendees to Walmart.com and its newly acquired subset, Jet.com. We enjoyed hearing how Walmart is working hard to differentiate itself from Amazon and compete in the ever-growing eCommerce marketplace industry.
  • Lee McCabes’s session on behalf of Alibaba and eCommerce growth in China
    • There’s no doubt that one of the most surprising facts we learned at Catalyst 2017 was how rapidly China’s eCommerce industry is growing. We were blown away by the statistics we heard over the course of the conference in relation to China’s eCommerce success. 
The breakout sessions at Catalyst 2017 were impressive as well. Our favourite was hearing how Dave Madoch of Toynk Toys, and Ben Polichronopolos of Home Fashion Designs are leveraging digital marketing and sponsored ads on eBay and Amazon to grow their businesses. We also enjoyed hearing the ChannelAdvisor panelists’ thoughts on 10 tactics to improve your online business, and VoyageOnes very own Sherri Wu’s tips on unlocking China’s eCommerce opportunity.

Our biggest takeaway from the conference? eCommerce is growing at an exponential rate all over the globe, and especially in China. If you’re selling online, there’s no reason not to take advantage of the vast number of platforms, channels, and geographical locations that are at your fingertips. Now is the time.  We encourage all eCommerce retailers and merchants to sell in as many places as possible in order to increase exposure and maximize your profits.

Next stop?  Magento Imagine 2017.  Attending Magento Imagine as well?  Drop us an email.  We’d love to meet up with you on-site.