How retailers can beat the e-commerce giants
A view from Graham Cooke

How retailers can beat the e-commerce giants

Amazon may seem invincible, but according to Qubit, it might not be.

Amazon looms large in the minds of any business leader, having picked up further momentum recently with the Whole Foods acquisition. However, the threat of Amazon isn’t insurmountable. If e-commerce leaders get their strategies on personalisation and product discovery right, they can beat the 800-pound e-commerce gorilla(s).

So why are so many brands struggling to compete?

Technology vendors may be guilty of confusing the marketplace with claims that are unverified. Marketers need to be armed with data, tactics and technologies that drive the biggest impact to revenues because Amazon isn’t working within a fog like this.

Brands can increase their total digital revenues by as much as 6% if the highest-performing techniques are prioritised.

To help businesses understand which optimisation and personalisation experiments work, Qubit has analysed more than two billion user journeys from our customer base of 300+ e-commerce companies. We’ve ranked the most valuable customer experiences by their impact on revenue, and subjected that data and methodology to an independent assurance by PwC.

The results show that brands can increase their total digital revenues by as much as 6% if the highest-performing techniques are prioritised. The most essential finding, however, concerns the impact of coupling these tactics with targeted personalisation based on user behaviour and preferences. When experiences are targeted, the average uplift increases by three times compared to non-targeted implementations.

Cosmetic optimisation tactics, like changing the design of buttons or altering the navigation to the website, is something the study found to be losing its effectiveness, and in some cases negatively impacting revenues.  

Brands should focus on the most valuable techniques, which can be grouped around the idea of persuasiveness, tapping into purchase impetus. For example, techniques that highlight scarcity, by indicating low stock levels, have a revenue per visitor (RPV) uplift of 2.9%. Similarly, experiences that create a sense of urgency, with time limits on when customers must complete their purchase, achieved a 1.5% RPV uplift.

These percentages may not sound earth-shattering, but keep in mind these are revenue per visitor and when scaled across the entire business these techniques can deliver a very meaningful impact.  

The results from the report provide the first verified link between common customer experiences and real world impact, lifting the effectiveness fog that has hung over the martech industry. Now is the moment for transparency.

E-commerce leaders have to get personalisation right when they’re trying to compete against the likes of Amazon and Walmart, and historically it's been hard to know what really works. We want to change that and I invite other technology vendors to do the same.

Graham Cooke is chief executive of Qubit.