“Wow this event is huge” – Our first impression upon entering. More than 250 e-commerce suppliers on the exhibitor floor and more than 200 lectures in the 12 lecture halls. This is definitely the largest e-commerce event in the Netherlands.
Zandcompleet: Transforming a sand company from 100% offline to 100% online
One of the first talks we attended was the talk of Melissa Buljens, owner of Zandcompleet.nl, a company that sells big bags of sand over the Internet. We attended this talk by accident as an ‘in-between’ talk, but it turned out to be quite interesting and inspiring. She explained how the business started as a traditional business founded by her father, but she turned it into a 100% online business.
Melissa taught herself how to build a website and used that knowledge to transform the business model. A funny anecdote she included in the presentation was her father checking all the online payments. Her father isn’t digital-minded and wanted to keep the business as it was which was based on offline client relations.
He was so suspicious of the online world he was checking all the incoming payments from the online shop making sure they were all correct. Melissa told us she owns 10 years’ worth of comparison data from their online payment provider and bank account. All online payments her father checked were correct.
The story is about inspiration and learning, and proof that almost anything can be sold online. They invested a lot in informing the users with e-books, FAQs, detailed product information and a knowledge center to comfort them to make 5-10k euro purchases online with someone they have never met before.
Petrol Industries & Channel Engine: Doubled marketplace revenue
Only a few years ago, the fashion brand Petrol Industries was only being sold in about 3000 brick-and-mortar stores in Europe. Then, Daniel Gonzales, digital strategist in a previous job, joined the company and convinced management to have a go at selling on online marketplaces. As always, starting with a new form of distribution is quite tricky, as conflicts may arise between the existing distribution.
Luckily, Daniel knew what he was doing, and he had a proper strategy in place to avoid channel and price conflicts as much as possible. He admitted that he still receives complaints from the offline retail network on a daily basis, and reminded us that this is just the reality of things. The only thing that matters is how you deal with it. The hassle of dealing with conflict doesn’t outweigh the success they’re having on marketplaces. We really liked Daniel, it takes an experienced profile that really stands his ground to be able to do what he did at Petrol Industries. Hats off to him. He’s honestly deserving of a bigger stage, maybe as a keynote speaker next year.
Catawiki: Experiments to improve marketing effectiveness
At the end of the first day, our eyes fell on a presentation about Holistic Marketing Effectiveness by Jorin Van de Ven. At CLICKTRUST, our approach to measurement in 2023 consists of a combination of cookie-based attribution, micro-moments and Marketing Mix Modelling. We also validate and improve our Marketing Mix Models with experiments. Just like Catawiki, the experiments we do are usually geographical AB tests, where the test group is a geographical area that gets exposed versus another geographical area that is not exposed.
To our surprise, only 40 or so people attended this presentation.
At Catawiki they also understood that they need to move beyond multitouch attribution to really understand the effectiveness of their marketing channels. They’re heading in the same direction as us, with the difference that they mainly do experiments, while we focus more on modelling. Jorin told us afterwards that they are not yet experimenting with the open-source MMM libraries of Facebook and Google, but they’re looking into it.
Automotive E-commerce: Who will sell the car in the future?
We started day two with the state of Automotive E-Commerce in the Netherlands. Very relevant for our client, D’Ieteren, to see what the trends are for selling cars online. Rolf Westgeerst suggested that the automotive industry will be turned on its head in the next few years, the same way Amazon turned the book industry on its head. Disruption is ahead, that’s for sure, but who will come out as the winner?
He identified 4 parties that will be selling cars online in the coming years:
- The car brands
- Platforms like autoscout24
- Big dealer groups of big brands
- Small independent local dealers
But which one of these parties will be the winner that takes it all? Each of them has its own strengths and weaknesses. We are more or less aligned with what Rolf presented, as he was convinced that either the car brands or the platforms would be the main actors in the online automotive market.
We are aligned with Rolf because we see that the automotive industry is moving towards e-commerce. Let’s take the example of Tesla. They don’t have big, fancy showrooms. What they do have is an easy online checkout where you can order and pay for your Tesla online. You then either pick it up yourself or they deliver it to your home. Tesla is not the only brand that is taking that direction, and the brands have the advantage of flexibility in pricing. In the Netherlands, you even have car brands partnering with retail chains to make use of their distribution system to get the cars delivered to their customers’ homes.
We know that in Belgium, on the other hand, big platforms like AutoScout24 already have the contacts and the content to sell cars online. Currently, they are mainly focused on selling second-hand cars online, but what is stopping them to make the switch to new cars as well? The platform, the users and the content are already there to complete the purchase.
There are also opportunities for big dealer groups of established brands, though they are less flexible on the pricing, and don’t have the platform yet. They could play an important role if they partner with a platform like AutoScout24, providing their service to sell a new car.
The small independent local dealer seems to be played out in the car industry as they don’t have enough power to play the game with the established brands or the platforms.
Time will tell who will be winning this fight, but we expect this not to take that long anymore.
A nice reminder of the Cialdini principles
Right before lunch on the second day, we saw a talk about the Checkout process by Letty de Nijs. The talks started off with a video of an offline coffee shop where the cashier starts to ask different questions like: “What’s your birthday?”, “What’s your maiden name?”, “What’s your mother’s maiden name?” and also to point out all the squares with a plant. This was an offline translation of an online check-out process, where people are pushed through an account creation process before they can buy.
In addition, Letty showed us different tests based on different psychological principles. One test included a reduced number of shipping options, aimed at reducing the choice overload at the checkout. They included a “show more shipping options” button to give the users a sense of control, but hardly anyone clicked on this button. It’s the impression of having control that is most important here.
A second test that was presented was the personalized shopping basket. Simply including the name of the user in the title of the page (f.e. Yannick’s shopping cart) is drawing more attention to the screen and making you feel included, this caused an uplift in the click-through to the next page and even in final sales.
More interesting cases and examples were shown that could be used as an inspiration for A/B testing. It’s something that we all know and apply from time to time, but this session was a very good reminder to bring this back on the agendas inside CLICKTRUST.
Data warehouse as the future-proof foundation of SEA and SEO
The final talk was by Stijn Bergmans and Mark van Hattum about SEO and SEA data warehousing. Both talks preached that a big data warehouse where you merge all of your SEO data (Search Console and scraped data from the Google SERP) with SEA data is the future for a good SEO strategy.
They claimed to be able to have the correct search volume for keywords by using the impressions by keyword from Google Search Console. This was something that we could understand, but a doubt that we had was “How do you find keywords you’re not yet ranking for?” since Search Console impressions are only looking at your current rankings.
Getting this data from Google Search Console into BigQuery is quite straightforward, but aside from this, you also need a scraper that checks 100 results for every keyword in Google Search Console. This is not so straightforward, as Google doesn’t like to be scraped (hypocrites, anyone?). Mark admitted to using 3d party tooling for their scraping needs, but wasn’t comfortable sharing the actual tool they’re using.
In the final step, when all the data is collected, they create different clusters of keywords which they then base their strategy upon. If a keyword cluster is showing more “people also asked” results, for example, they will create content answering the questions mentioned there.
Based on the scraping results, they also create a dashboard showing a “market share”. The market share in the dashboard is further split out by cluster to find interesting keyword clusters. They also go beyond just Google. With their dashboard, they can, for example, also give insights into the importance of TikTok on specific keyword clusters. With these dashboards, they also can give insights into the importance of TikTok, for example, on specific keyword clusters.
Although we had our doubts about some of the points that were made, this is a route we are going to explore further to see where it can bring us to improve our way of working for SEO. The most important goal is to get better insights into which kinds of content are ranking for certain queries. Videos? Images? Local Pack?
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