Our verdict (of 5):
Admittedly we visited Ecommerce Expo in 2016 and were very impressed and the September 2017 edition did not disappoint on content or exhibitors. In fact it seemed as the quality of exhibitors was slightly better than the previous show.
Ecommerce Expo had everything from the usual suspects such as Shopify, SAP Hybris, Bronto, Marketo and others to some of the more exciting startups such as Mad Street Den, Phrasee and others.
SAP Hybris were mightily excited about their rumoured $350m acquisition of Gigya and the opportunties this will mean for upselling to existing Gigya customers and the other way around. It will also cement the importance of social data and offer a workaround the GDPR regulations whch come into force in 2018.
On a serious note there are numerous exhibitors who do not seem to undertand the concept of telling people what you do. Many exhibitors seem to think everyone know their offering in depth or think that writing generic stuff in big letters will attract customers. One word of advice - put your product before your logo, explain exactly what you do and, if possible, what its USP is. Ok?
We arrived at 9.20am on Wednesday morning, but ended up in a long queue outside Olympia. Next time I will make sure to print my ticket and bring it with me for easier access. The queue vanished around 10 but if the weather had been worse I dont think many of the visitors would have bothered waiting...
To the organisers: Plenty of your exhibitors complained on the Wifi, which is really bad for an internet related show - this should simply be an open pipe to your exhibitors. I was told by numerous exhibitors that they had problems connecting to the internet through the show internet. Take Note!
Artificial Intelligence is obviously on trend and numerous exhibitors mentioned having this in their products. However, when probing a bit further, the majority of the exhibitors find it difficult to provide any information. This could obviously be due to the level of sales personnel on the stands, but it may also be a sympton of a lack of understanding and even, in extreme cases, that AI is mentioned as a way to generate interest...
Phrasee was probably one of the more interesting technologies at the show and revealed they are making good way towards breaking even in 2017. This is very impressive for such a young company.
Phrasee helps you to create winning email subject headers!
Another trend was also the merging sectors of Contact Centres and Ecommerce. Numerous companies are interested in the sector and Zendesk are among the companies that have extended their offering into Contact Centre software (CCaaS). There were a number of actual call centre operators present as well... not sure abou the level of business they captured though as the stand was mostly empty.
If you are an ecommerce company and based in the UK, this is worth your while.
We did not take advantage of any of the very many talks on offer, but it seemed there were a lot and plenty of exhibitors quoted at least one person as a speaker. So, unfortunately we cannot speak for the quality of the presentations... soz!
Smaller trends noticed:
- Return of the ERP system - There were at least 2 or 3 exhibitors with ERP in bold big letters. These guys need to reinvent ERP... by perhaps calling it eERP or something because it feels very outdated both by looks and talking to the guys on the stands
- Programmatic marketing - dear God, there are so many different marketing solutions doing exactly the same thing that half of it would be enough. We expect big consolidation in the sector (if this is not already under way)
- Search improvements - Plenty of companies offering to improve your search function was also exhibiting. However, not many of these have woken up to NLP and machine learning as of yet. Possibly due to technical issues. Using Google's category structure may be good for one retailer, but not another and not using machine learning to improve search results or recommend better products to clients seems like a lost opportunity - but who are we to judge?
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- Tags: Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, ecommerce, Machine Learning, Marketing, Omnichannel, On to Offline, Startup, Trade Show, UK Retail, Visual Search