March 11, 2021

Three Key Takeaways from eTail’s Virtual eCommerce Summit for Retailers


Estimated 3 minute read time

Three Key Takeaways from eTail’s Virtual eCommerce Summit for Retailers

In February I had the pleasure of attending eTail’s Virtual Summit for eCommerce, which brought together top retailers and leaders from across the eCommerce space to share their latest trends, insights, and strategies.  Last year, pre-pandemic, I attended eTail West in Palm Springs, CA. While this year’s view from my couch was a little different to the beautiful Palm Desert, I still took away three meaningful insights, as well as inspiring stories from retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond, Bombas, JCPenney, Rue Gilt Groupe, Saks Fifth Avenue and The Vitamin Shoppe.

Be Agile and Adaptable

The first half of 2020 saw an increase in e-commerce sales equivalent to that of the previous ten years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At eTail West, Lisa Riolo, co-founder of Impact, explained that over 80% of customers will now begin their shopping journeys online, and more than half of these journeys take place on mobile devices. This tallies with the National Retail Federation’s finding that online sales skyrocketed to $969.4 billion in 2020, as consumers shifted to online purchasing. Retailers were required to be nimble and adapt to these unforeseen circumstances, shifting their marketing plans and advertising budgets to adjust to the new reality. Saks Fifth Avenue launched into action with large scale brand awareness campaigns, homepage personalization and virtual styling appointments, while JCPenney deployed Buy Online Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) to increase their sales five-fold. Bed Bath & Beyond also found huge success with BOPIS during the pandemic: over 80% of their orders were generated within a 20 mile radius of one of their stores, which meant that stores quickly transformed into fulfilment centers. Both JCPenney and Bed Bath & Beyond found their BOPIS customers to be one of their most loyal shopper segments.

The Importance of Diversified Partnerships

Amazon makes up almost 40% of total ecommerce in 2020, thanks to their competitive pricing and “no questions asked” returns policy. However, in order to create a richer user experience for the customer, and build direct, long-term relationships with consumers, it’s important that retailers diversify their partnerships beyond Amazon. Partners for retailers can range from strategic brand ambassadors, to social media influencers, to mobile app solutions, to sub-affiliate networks like Skimlinks who connect retailers to premium news and content publishers.

Big Data Drives Better Business Decisions

Over 81% of shoppers will research products online prior to purchase, and post-pandemic, 80% of shoppers expect to do more online purchasing than they did pre-pandemic. This means that retailers need to meet consumers wherever they are in their shopping journey, whether that’s reading publishers’ commerce content, watching influencers’ recommendations, or comparing prices online. Connexity’s free end-to-end automated campaign execution distributes retailers’ products across these channels, connecting brands to over 100M unique shoppers every month, using rich information from over 1B data points. In this way, we help retailers to meet their ROI goals, driving over $1B in sales every year.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the summit, Andrew Laudato, Chief Operating Officer of The Vitamin Shoppe, shared the phrase “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity” – originally from the philosopher, Seneca.  His message? Retailers are in total control of their own success, and those who take advantage of the right opportunities at the right time will create their own good fortune.

Connexity provides retailers with the opportunity to simplify their search for new customers, drive new, fresh traffic to their websites and most importantly, secure incremental sales that drive meaningful revenue.

Learn more about eTail West, and how Connexity can deliver incremental performance for your campaigns, by scheduling some time with Chelsea.

Share article