Mark Sutherland

The personal site of Mark Sutherland, eCommerce & Digital Leader


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Ricoh eShop

Well, this is the first time that an eCommerce site I’ve worked on has had this sort of exposure. It’s baby steps for the Ricoh eShop, and a very exciting time!

 


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Update from NS&I

Just a quick note to say how pleased I am that the work I did at NS&I; justifying and preparing the ground for an agile web operations team working with analytics and A/B testing to drive improved customer experience has paid off so spectacularly.

I found out this evening that some of the changes they have been able to drive on their marketing site have improved performance of page elements by 200%. It’s a real testament to the power of data driven change, and I’m proud to have played a small part in that process.


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B2B Online – a conference for manufacturers and distributors

b2bonlineI attended the B2B Online conference in Amsterdam over the past two days, and thought it worthwhile penning some notes for a wider following. B2B Online is specifically aimed at manufacturers and distributors across all industry sectors and aims to highlight and discuss the issues facing these businesses as they confront the challenge of digital commerce. This is the second year that the conference has been held in Europe, and whilst last year I attended and spoke on behalf of a construction company, this year I was here as a Ricoh representative.

 

What’s striking is that the themes that come out in discussion are not vertical specific; manufacturers of all sizes and in all industries are battling with the same challenges – should our websites mention price and availability? should our sites be mobile and tablet enabled? should the shop be open to google or closed and by invitation only? How do we adapt to the change in B2B sales practices – where 90% of market research is done online and 66% of the sales process is complete before the customer ever contacts a salesperson? How do we all react to the threat that digital disruptors like Amazon business pose to our markets? What’s the role that is played by distribution and dealers?

 

What’s interesting is that the biggest hurdle faced by all the companies I met and listened to, from SKF to Philips Lighting, Siemens to Eriks, Xerox to RS Components, is not technical or functional but cultural – how willing is the organisation to react to the challenge that digital change poses to the existing business model and ways of working? As someone who started his career in b2b face to face sales, bolstered by telephone cold-calling and faxshots, I’m really conscious that we need to build a model of digital engagement that compliments the relationship that only a skilled sales person can achieve with a client. And that’s a message that came through from the conference – digital isn’t a “bolt-on” or a “threat” or an “option”, it’s the world we now live in.

 

Most buyers are now millennials – born after 1982. They’ve grown up with technology and the internet. Their first preference is to look online for a product or service and their second is to engage via webchat. Only reluctantly do they pick up the ‘phone and speak to a salesperson. The same is true in customer service and aftercare. My role here at Ricoh is to help our customers engage with Ricoh in the way that they now prefer to do business. There’s a lot of work to do and some exciting and challenging times ahead.


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Is fast growth still possible in B2C?

Just when you thought that all the UK’s mainstream outlets and most of the niche ones had established an online presence, along comes an outsider to shake them up.

We’ve seen this trend revolutionise the high street here in the UK, with chains such as BHS, Woolworths, Borders and HMV disappear as the combination of new online competition such as Amazon and ASOS and first class online/high street combination stores like John Lewis‘s and Next squeeze them out. Well could the next competitor come from Europe?

Online store Zalando has been growing fast, predominantly in it’s native DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), and revenues reached €3bn in just 7 years of trading. Now operating in 15 European countries, Zalando achieves impressive loyalty amongst it’s users, with 80% of it’s purchases being from repeat customers. Starting out in shoes, Zalando has established product lines across a range of fashion items for Men, Women and children.

zalando

It’s clear product detail page compares well with the Wyndsor‘s page I reviewed some time ago here, and what I can’t show you on the still image is the rotation of the shoe that occurs onscreen.

I think Zalando does pose a real threat to Britain’s existing high street and online retailers and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they are already gearing up to face that threat.

For more information on Zalando, here’s an infographic giving more detail. You can also read more here

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How are shopping habits changing?

I’ve been looking recently at the different patterns of behaviour of people in different age groups for work as I’ve recently joined National Savings & Investments, where the customer base is mainly in their 50’s and older. In the course of that investigation, I came across this infographic on the mobile shopping habits of Millenials, and whilst it’s not that useful for work, thought I’d share it here and in full below. Let me know whether you think it’s interesting.

Study: Millennials

<p>Made by: <a title=’Coupofy’ href=’http://www.coupofy.com/&#8217; target=’_blank’>Coupofy</a></p>