For Retailers, “Insourcing” Adtech is the New Black

By Declan Kennedy, CEO StitcherAds

Insourcing is not a brand new concept. But it’s taken a long time – too long – to reach the part of the enterprise most critical to its success: the part that acquires new customers and grows revenue. Fortunately that’s now changing.

Not so long ago, outsourcing was all the rage when reducing costs. But more recently, enterprises have found that the need to respond quickly and change frequently – tying together information from many silos of the business – it’s more effective and more secure to bring what were once exotic specialities in-house rather than leaving it to a third party.

For example, we saw UK retailer Marks & Spencer move e-commerce systems from Amazon Web Services back in-house. Now appropriate and more mature applications are available to support this, many businesses are taking an intelligent and crucial step towards ensuring ROI on many processes like website development, SEO, and most recently marketing automation. Savvy digital marketers will anticipate that with the right tools, they can get the results they need without losing crucial time spent communicating with third parties.

This movement has been brought about by the collision of two big trends: the SaaS revolution, which has completely changed expectations of software those in enterprises and SMBs alike; and Big Data, where the variety, velocity and volume of information and in particular customer interactions can no longer be left to others. No longer are radically changing and arbitrary costs the norm for a service, instead people can bring processes in-house with the support of an effective SaaS platform, for a steady and fixed price. This has been an almost universal shift within business with but one exception because of its traditional moorings – adtech. But this cannot last.

For retailers, in particular, where the skills of using direct response advertising to capture opportunities in near-real-time and win new customers by rapidly shifting offers to reflect changing demand are crucial, the adoption of effective marketing automation tools is paramount. In a recent report from eMarketer, analysis shows US retail digital ad spending will reach $11.05 billion in 2014 shows, with a 70% emphasis on ads meant to trigger sales and leads than those intended to boost brand awareness – with increasing amounts being spent on direct response, the most value is going to come for retailers who need to make every penny count.

Agencies still have a role to play – their strategic insights are often extremely valuable, but creating a lot of advertisements rapidly isn’t something that makes sense to price based on a percentage of spend (CPM). Businesses are starting to realise Facebook has become an incredibly powerful channel for direct response advertising, and with the right technology they can maximise sales conversion rates, whilst keeping costs low and predictable. Adtech is by no means as mature as it should be, but in-house marketing teams, vendors and agencies alike are starting to wake up to its possibilities.

That Omnichannel Christmas Experience

By Peter Veash, CEO, The BIO Agency

This year, retailers have taken big steps towards digital. And they need to be, especially during the festive season when people are reaching a peak in their shopping capacity and appetite. Christmas trading has got off to a strong start online and via mobile and retailers must be at the ready to offer a truly exceptional omnichannel shopping experience with no seams. Retailers can no longer rely on a website these days. Digital technologies are advancing at an exponential rate and digital needs to be at the heart of retail businesses to ensure they meet the needs of tomorrow’s consumer. It’s not just about being ready for today, but thinking about the next technology that is going to capture consumers’ imagination and taking the necessary action to gain a presence in this space.

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Why Are Digital Skills So Important?

By Claire West, Fresh Business Thinking
“I think I’ve been on record as saying before that you can’t be a proper citizen if you don’t know how to use the internet and I mean by that, that you are missing out on so many of the benefits of being online. So, we know that you save money online, you’re more likely to get work, your children will do better at school, you’ll feel more connected to people around you, so, I think it’s incredibly important that we make sure as many people as possible are able to enjoy all of the massive benefits of the web.” Martha Lane Fox 

Online Retailer Beware: What Do Payment Card Industry Data Protection Standards Really Mean For e-Commerce?

By Kurt Hagerman, director of information security, FireHost

Online commerce is now a fixture of everyday life with a wide range of organisations, not just those typically associated with retail, running some kind of online payments function. Consumers are certainly taking advantage of this trend and are making more online purchases than ever, not just at home or in the office (during breaks of course) but wherever it’s convenient and available, with mobile devices making online shopping more accessible than ever.

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Go Global Or Go Local

By Claire West, Fresh Business Thinking

Are you using the potential of local search to its full potential? Most businesses aren’t. However, businesses that target their ads locally can reach new customers in their area who are searching for a business just like theirs.

What about Global search? What are the opportunities there?

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Top Tips For Christmas e-Trading

By James Hardy, Head of Europe, Alibaba.com

It seems like shoppers start making Christmas purchases earlier every year as they seek out bargains and try to spread out the cost of the festive season.

A rise in sales was noted as early as September, with the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index revealing online sales surged 20% year on year, however, the peak shopping season won’t truly start until December 2nd, the first Monday in December when people realise they only have three weeks until all presents need to be bought and wrapped.

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Speed Is Key For European Online Retailers

By Claire West, Fresh Business Thinking

A new report – Online Shopper Rage – published today by Riverbed Technology reveals some significant behavioural trends and attitudes to online shopping amongst European consumers. The findings of the report show that online shopping experiences are not living up to the increasingly high expectations which many consumers now have, often leaving shoppers frustrated, stressed and even angry. Online retailers are subsequently paying the price through lost transactions and damage to reputation.

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Location Location Location… Crucial For e-Commerce Conversion

By Phillip Smith, UK country manager Trusted Shops

Location isn’t just important when making a property decision, it’s also very important when encouraging customers to make a purchase decision online.

Confidence boosting measures are powerful – but only if you know where to put them. Recent research has revealed just how much influence the position of icons can have on consumer behaviour.

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