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This week there was a conference for online businesses in Henderson, Nevada at the M resort. The name of the conference was Catalyst hosted by Channeladvisor. We had the privilege of attending with our company and gathering some very important information concerning the online world.

I just wanted to share some of what I learned…

One of the first lecture was by Gina DeFrank and Jonathan Davis on Winning the Buy Box and Leveraging Prices. In this lecture they touched up on some factors that are in play when customers are making a purchase and why they should come to you. Here are some

1. Price-low total price plus shipping
2. Availability- fulfillment, in stock, quick and consistent
3. Volume- number of products
4. Performance- low defect, meeting requirements
5. **Speed**

With regards to performance (#4) they also spoke about the entire customer experience and communication. Under customer experience they advised the sellers to lower their

1. defect rate
2.  cancel rate
3. shipping rate

And under communication they highlighted answering them within 24 hours, granting timely refunds and addressing negative feedback.

In another lecture, this time by CEO Scot Wingo entitled “Keynote: State of E-Commerce” he shared his insight and research into the state of e-commerce today.

This was by far the best lecture both factually and in presentation. Scot welcomed to the stage three big companies who are using Channeladvisor 1. Toolking’s owner (the name skips me at the moment) 2. SkullCandy’s Jason Bertrand and 3. Belk’s Michael Coleman.

All three of them shared a little bit about their business and how it has been growing exponentially via the web and with the help of CA.

Going back to the lecture:

Wingo started off by comparing Google with Amazon. A lot of people will immediately think the two internet giants are on different planes when it comes to business strategies… but they really aren’t.

When it comes to online purchases: 30% of customers in 2012 started their search directly on Amazon while 13% started with Google. “Ergo”, Amazon has become its own search engine and rightfully so.

Concerning Amazon, Wingo mentioned the fact that they have over 70+ million square footage of warehouse worldwide that make up their fulfillment centers. To put it into perspective that is 1,200 football fields! Bigger than many countries.

Moving on to the use of the mobile device and its translation into sales he showed, by the research of Forrester, that mobile sales in 2011 constituted $6 billion totally. Using professional predictions and calculations Forrester has estimated a 73% hike of the 2011 number by 2017 to a total of $31 billion! Point being look for a huge jump in sales. And the good thing is for e-tailors… you don’t have to do anything…

What about Social Markets? Yes social markets…

Wingo says, “Shopping is inherently social…” and he is absolutely correct! Facebook will most likely become a marketplace with their options of giving specified gifts to your closest friends based off their “likes”, statuses, etc. Pinterest will be partnering with Rakuten.com for the possibility of becoming a marketplace to buy homemade and custom designed items. Instagram is going to be used as more of a classy network for topnotch companies showing their dimmed logos and gorgeous models in hopes of converting them into sales…which is inevitable in my opinion. Twitter has already introduced protected ads which means you can buy “hastags” and promote them on everyone’s Twitter account even if they aren’t following you.

Lastly he talked about the global market…

In 2011 eBay grossed $192 billion from buyers in the States alone…the projected growth taking in technological expansion? $379 billion by 2017! Once again sellers you don’t have to do anything!  Also there is going to be a 30% increase in Asia and 20% in Latin America. The statistics are provided by Forrester and you can check them out for yourselves http://www.forrester.com/home.

*Caveat Emptor* it is quite costly to sign up for their charts and graphs section.

All in all we enjoyed our trip to Las Vegas, met great, hard-working people and had an amazing time listening to some stupendous insight on the future of online retail.

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