Internet Retailing Expo 2012

I just wanted to write some of my thoughts down from  Internet Retailing Expo 2012, and  to post the key points I took away from from the sessions I attended.  I was only there on the second day, so my opinions and experiences may not be true for both days.

I am particularly keen on the so-called mobile side of things, and decided to listen to those talks.  In particular I was looking forward to hearing Paul Boag speak.  As a long time podcast listener, and fan of his, I was sure to find it useful.

I was also looking forward to seeing how other companies are approaching ecommerce on devices other than computers, and hearing their reasons.

My takeaways can be found here:

Tim Gulson Paypal Opening Keynote Speech

Richard Anson Revoo Making Retail Social and Mobile

Fraser Davidson Javelin Group and Vic Watson Mothercare – Mobile Glues Together Multi Channel Retailing

Lee Duddell What Users Do and David Howdale Howdale Associates Getting The Mobile Experience Right

Paul Boag The Ideal Way To Do The M-Web

I couldn’t attend the afternoon sessions, as my boss wanted me to talk to some exhibitors, and see who could help us, how, and why. But that’s another story!

The exhibitors were pretty much what I expected really, some well known brands, some very specialist companies, some marketing companies, some SEO companies, and some agencies promising the moon on a stick.

Here are some of my thoughts on what I saw:

  • Don’t give your company a silly name, it’s not big or clever, and it doesn’t help people understand what you do.  Although it’s often been the case for marketing companies to be a bit “cool” and “quirky” it just looks a bit silly now.  Combining an animal and a colour for example, is just silly.
  • If your company is exhibiting and looking for sales,  have an idea as to the topics of the talks, so that when potential customers and clients ask questions based on what they’ve heard in the talks, you can answer.  I asked several “big agencies” about Responsive Web Design yesterday, and they didn’t know what it was.  Also,
  • If you’re suggesting an ecommerce platform, as part of your sales pitch, be able to explain why you prefer it over other ones.
  • Why ask what the company turnover is before announcing your pricing structure? If we turn over £5m a year, you need to know whether it’s 5m customers a year buying a £1 product, or 1000 customers buying a £5000 product.  Otherwise we think that you’re making the price up depending on what you think we can afford.
  • If you haven’t got very articulate and “salesy” people on your stand, they’d better be very technical. Otherwise when we ask questions, it makes us think that you don’t know your product, what people want from your product, or how your product can actually help us.
  • Many people will either be technical, or senior people, and so you need to be able to communicate with them well, and be able to answer the questions.  When somebody asks the price, or what a term or concept really means, and how it will benefit them, then you need to be able to explain.  When the person who controls the budget is baffled, they’re not going to buy.
  • A bowl of sweets on your stand won’t make us think that you’re a cool company to do business with.

That makes me seem quite negative and harsh, but it’s not meant to.  Just a thought for those who maybe deal with technical people regularly, or try and sell over the phone, or expect people to know all about their product and services already.

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