Online Retailer Conference 2017


Late July, we ventured off to Sydney to participate in the Online Retailer Conference – a two day event that delivered an amazing amount of information on the trends, focuses and changes in the ecommerce space in our part of the world.  Brad is a veteran of this conference and attends almost every year and this year I was invited to go along and see what I can learn and how I could integrate key learnings in to SCS to help improve our offerings to add more value to customers. It was great to see some of our customers there seeking improvements for their operations too!

We saw so much and learnt a lot of new things, so we thought we could share some highlights with you.

Amazon is a big focus point in the Australian market as you can imagine, there is a lot of uncertainty on how the impending entry into the Aussie market is going to affect the retail scene there. Further uncertainty exists around whether Fulfilment By Amazon (FBA) is an effective and efficient way to manage the distribution of stock. Whatever your fears are, I say “go with it”.  Amazon is coming and its intention is to be a disruptor in the market so, adopt early and get involved.  FBA comes with lots of restrictions and hidden costs, something that we are in the process of investigating – we want to be there to help our customers take advantage of such a powerful market place, so keep your eyes on the blog for a future instalment on making your Supply Chain ‘Amazon ready’.

Completing the ultimate last mile delivery experience. This is one topic I found really fascinating. We aren’t talking about which courier is going to deliver your order; we are talking about the experience your customer has when they receive your product.

Too often a B2C order is despatched in a plain brown cardboard box – but this is the first time your customer touches your product; and any ecommerce player should seize this opportunity to capitalise on a major branding opportunity.   The photo on the right is an example of a delivery by a company called, Glossier. They distribute skincare products that are good for you. On their website, they have a cheeky and playful message that’s all about ‘you’ and they continue this messaging through to the product packaging which reinforces this message. This is a significant opportunity to strengthen your brand when the customer first receives your product. If you don’t brand your packaging, you are missing out on a major opportunity to connect with your customers – have a think about it…what message do your packages send out?

Omni Channel Retailing was a constant theme running through this year’s conference and how a lot of ecommerce businesses are turning to bricks and mortar. I attended a debate on whether Pure-Play retailing was dead. The outcome? Definitely not…if it fits your industry. However, increasingly, customers continue to want to see and feel a product therefore, more often than not, a physical store is the customers first introduction to your brand. We listened in on a presentation by Drew Green, CEO of Indochino (an ecom company, selling Made to Measure suits online). After introducing bricks and mortar showrooms in 2015, each year since, they have achieved growth of over 50% year on year. He explained that customers are looking for that human touch, a bit of interaction to help with their purchasing decisions.

Brad and I spent a significant amount of time learning about how video profiling technology is being used to help advertising and marketing. There are some amazing technologies that can help businesses identify whether someone is in the potential target market or not, and what could be offered to them. We were introduced to a system that could determine gender to 99% accuracy and work out age (within 5 years) with 95% accuracy, truly amazing technology! We loved this tech so much we have already introduced it to a few of our customers who we think could benefit from it and we’ll be scheduling a meeting for them with the vendor when they are next in Auckland to learn more.

Future Tech. To end the conference, we were introduced to future technologies that will influence retail. Voice recognition systems are going to be massive soon. Technology like Google Home and Amazon Echo are smart speakers and home assistants. You can ask them something like, ‘buy me that red shirt I got 6 months ago’, and it will know where you purchased it from, order it and pay for it, for you. The more you use these smart speakers the smarter it becomes, improving its AI, the more useful it becomes.


Overall, the conference was a great learning experience and I would recommend that you get along to the next one in the new year if you are in the ecommerce space, I know I will be.

If you would like to know more about the items mentioned above or if you have any related questions feel free to shoot me an email.




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