Recap of IRCE 2015 Day One for Top E-Retail Executives

June 04, 2015


If you missed the top e-retail executives track at IRCE 2015, this blog is for you. We have summarized five lessons from the Main Day One presentations in the Top E-Retail Executives track.

Agile e-retailers, using cloud technology, experience more growth

Elana Anderson, SVP of Worldwide Marketing at Demandware, shared the results of a study conducted with L2 Inc. They found that there is a strong correlation between eCommerce agility and total financial growth. One aspect of agility is using a cloud based technology platform.

"Retailers that chose cloud platforms performed significantly better than their peers in 2014."

Cloud-based brands have more sites and stronger digital presence in emerging markets. You can download a report here. Of course technology is of course not the only factor of agility. Culture, leadership, organizational structure and metrics matter too.

Put your people where your strategy is

Natalie Belanger is VP eCommerce and Insights at one of the largest Canadian retailers, Reitmans.  Reitmans has experienced strong eCommerce growth. The growth has been 99% year over year most recently. To accomplish these results, the first thing Natalie did is to secure board support for a focus on eCommerce. Next she proceeded to fully staff the plan and align the organization for success. She created a centralized team responsible for ecommerce & digital strategy, operations (customer service, photo studio), insights (research, customer data management). Without this organizational focus, growth would have lagged.

Returns can be a significant revenue opportunity

In a joint presentation by Gian Fulgoni, Executive Chairman and co-founder of Comscore and Bala Ganesh, director of retail marketing at UPS, revealed there is an opportunity in retail returns. 38% of shoppers will choose “ship to store” or “pick up in store” to qualify for free shipping, which is up from 35% in 2014. 45% of those who have chosen to return in the store have made a new purchase when picking up the purchase in store.

"61% of consumers prefer to return an item to the store and a whopping 70% of those made a purchase in the store while there."

Know your customers, and serve them (with Bitcoin if needed), an AgilOne customer, understood that some of their technology-savvy customers were interested to pay with Bitcoin. At a time that Bitcoin was getting a lot of bad press, TigerDirect realized that Bitcoin is actually more secure and carries a lower fee (1%).  Transactions with Bitcoin are irreversible, so you cannot make Bitcoin refunds. issues a TigerDirect gift card (in US dollars) in exchange for refunds. By being the first electronics retailer to accept Bitcoin, TigerDirect was mentioned once every 15 seconds on Titter, featured in 200 publications, and generated 40 million page views per day, an 60% increase and third only after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They received 5,000 orders and 42% were from new customers with 29% higher AOV than their regular shoppers.

Take the long-term view to achieve customer love

Moosejaw, another AgilOne customer, spoke about the importance of building long-term relationships with customers. Eoin Comerford, Moosejaw’s Chief Executive Officer said:

“A brand is a relationship – built on personally engaging with your customers.”

Moosejaw is willing to sacrifice today’s sale for the long-term health of the brand. They are also turning all customer interactions into brand moments. Their trucks read “Driver carries less than $50 cash and is fully naked” and their shipping boxes have stickers like “Don’t be surprised if you’ve seen this box before. No knife use teeth. Sealed with a kiss by …”. Moosejaw has explained in a past interview the importance of data to build customer relationships. Watch that interview here.