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Insights from eCommerce Expo, London 2019

On September 25th, I was lucky to attend the eCommerce Expo in London.  It was more than just an eCommerce Expo though; it combined the Technology for Marketing Conference as well as AD:Tech to provide an eye-opening insight into the whole digital landscape.

As you can imagine – the show was packed. I thought every marketer in London must have been in Kensington at one point or another!  With over 280 exhibitors and 350 speakers, it was filled with a wide breadth of products and services for marketers and e-commerce folk.

I must admit, I spent most of my time in the Customer Experience and Engagement track.  And, while all the content and perspectives were interesting, relevant, and timely, two presentations really stood out for me.

The first was “Defining the customer experience through our love of pizza” given by Stephan Croix, the Chief Sales and Brand Officer at Pizza Hut Express.  Amazing fact:  Pizza Hut delivers over 300,000 pizzas a day in Europe alone.  Maintaining a consistent brand experience is key to Pizza Hut – whether the customer is dining in one of their restaurants, rushing through take out, or ordering online and enjoying home delivery. Pizza Hut are committed that every customer should experience Pizza Hut in the same way.  No easy feat!

How do they do it?

They are constantly asking customers for feedback on their experiences and then acting on that feedback.  If changes need to be made, they make them.  They LISTEN intently to their customers and that’s why they continue to realize double-digit growth!

Next up, was a panel discussion called “Hey Siri, how do I optimize for the future of search.”  The panel was comprised of Nick Wilson, Search Product Owner, Vodafone; Hannah Thorpe, Head of SEO at Found; and, Gerry White, SEO consultant at JUST EAT.

I thought the panel would talk about how to optimize content for virtual assistants and voice (it did: the overarching recommendation from the speakers – “act as if you’re speaking to a toddler”), I suppose we are the most distracted cohort in human history, so it’s time to acknowledge and act upon the fact that the way we search for things has changed.  Virtual Assistants won’t be able to bring up 70,000 search results.

The way we ask questions to help identify what a consumer is looking for will be different and voice isn’t suitable for all applications.  However, when it is applicable – like deciding on a new laptop – the conversation between the voice assistant and the customer will be what ultimately drives success rate, not just the keyword.

Outside of the eCommerce Expo, the conversations I am having with clients cements the fact that the way we converse with customers is changing.  Feedback from every touchpoint needs to be measured and patterns need to be identified so that change can be implemented when need be.

While not explicitly stated, machine learning is playing a big part in deciphering customer feedback – especially when you’re cooking up 300,000 pizzas per day!

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CMO at zoovu -- conversational marketing driven by artificial intelligence. Love building companies. Scuba diver, wine maker, artist, mom.