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Maria Giulia Ganassini
25 May 2016
Reading time: 6 min

Netcomm E-commerce Forum 2016: multichannel strategies and automation under the spotlight

Every year the E-commerce Forum organised by Netcomm – the Italian e-commerce consortium – offers plenty of exciting news and interesting updates. Held in Milan on May 18th and 19th, the latest edition of the reference event for the online shopping industry achieved good audience results and was buzzing with lively initiatives, enforcing the hard evidence brought on by Roberto Liscia, Chairman of Netcomm, during his opening speech.

According to Mr Liscia and his data, in Italy online shopping is a growing phenomenon. In five years (2011-2016), online buyers doubled from 9 million to almost 19 million, with a distribution that registers an interesting growth in non-urban areas and among seniors. Italy is still well behind Europe under too many points of view – for instance, its average cart is 50% lower than the rest of the world’s. A positive trend, though, is shown by the growing amount of Italian retailers (9% as of today) that complete their in-store offer with an online shop.

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Multiple channels, one communication

Reading through the data, the key to Italian growth seems to be a matter of three crucial steps – understanding the customer journey, acquiring digital skills and integrating data. We all know all too well that no data mean no growth nor action. Any successful strategy can’t do without going through the collection and analysis of big data related to the customers’ behaviours. Only by reading this evidence with the right eyes a company can pin down the touch points and outline the best ways to interact with the each and every customer. Multi-channel approach, integration and automation are not revolutionary concepts – but they are indeed the defining key assets to successfully tackle today’s market.

In the domestic scenery, the use of mobile devices to shop online is on a steep rise (from 6.7% in 2014 to 7.5% in 2015): owning a mobile-ready, mobile-friendly website has become an absolute must in order to be successful. Also, a seamless integration between in-store and online experiences is of crucial importance. Customer journeys move towards an organic whole, and the retailers’ ability to be there every step of the way, on every channel, with a time-sensitive, relevant and customised communication turns out to be decisive in bringing the purchase proposition to a happy ending.

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Figures also show that the phenomenon of ROPO or infocommerce is on the rise, together with its complementary twin – showrooming. 45% of the 19 million Italians that own a smartphone regularly looks items up while physically looking at them in store. E-commerce and commerce become one, and retailers should learn how to treat both customer experiences as a whole through digital transformation.

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From mass production to mass personalization

The challenge: how to get in touch with the users at all the touch points of their customer journey and at all the levels of the funnel, on all channels? The secret lies in the personalization and automation of messages. Successful retailers know how to send a consistent, appealing message, with a recognizable look and feel, on all available channels. They know how to make the most of the data they gather to better understand their customers and their needs. They know how to build a one-to-one relationship with each and every customer by using the most appropriate tools (email automation in the first place). They know how to provide each user with customized, unobtrusive messages that are built around their actual needs and buying habits.

The final goal goes a long way beyond immediate conversion and aims at nurturing customer loyalty. Returning customers are less expensive than new lead contacts and bring a much higher value with them. Under this respect, a case study on the beauty giant Sephora was quite enlightening. Sephora uses loyalty cards – a marketing tool with a deceptively outdated feel to it – as the means to build a personal relationship between brand and customer, by integrating buying records with personal details to create tailored messages, promotions and services.

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The E-commerce Forum according to MailUp: make room for automation!

In this scenario, MailUp stands out as the premium provider of the perfect solution for all e-commerce websites – and not only – who want to turn potential leads into actual conversions through performing email marketing activities.

Everything revolves around email automation. MailUp designs tools that fall perfectly in line with the evolution of the market as outlined here above. From customization features to time-sensitive, integrated messages, MailUp offers all the tools you need to create effective and tailor-made email campaigns.

At the E-commerce Forum MailUp also organized four workshops meant to unveil the potential and secrets of email automation. Twenty minutes each, the workshops covered topics such as integration with the main e-commerce platforms (Magento, PrestaShop, Shopify and others), database management, and message customization through dynamic contents. Workshops turned out to be very successful, also thanks to the expertise of our senior project manager Riccardo Bonini, who held them: a clear mark of the importance and sensitiveness of the topic right now.

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E-commerce Awards 2016: the winners

The Netcomm E-commerce Forum also involves the E-commerce Awards, meant to reward the best online shops in Italy. Among over 400 candidates, Eataly was awarded Absolute Best E-commerce website. Last year it won in the Food category, Eataly “shone for its global e-commerce experience through websited designed for strategic markets”, explains Roberto Liscia, Chairman of Netcomm.

Coincasa.it, a client of MailUp’s (read the case history), was awarded for the second year as bes Home Décor e-commerce for its online/offline integration and international approach. Here you can find all the winners per category.

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Maria Giulia Ganassini

As content creator at MailUp, my mission is to make email marketing strategies accessible, useful and interesting for everyone, newbies to experts. Behind every 'send' button there is a complex world, and my goal is to unravel it for marketers. I am an avid reader, a restless traveller, a self-confessed grammar nazi and a proud cat owner.

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