Author: Darryl Adie

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Managing Director, Ampersand Commerce

Darryl founded Ampersand Commerce in Manchester in 2008 to help major retailers build better online stores using open source technology.  Darryl has built the ecommerce agency into a multi-award winning, Magento Gold Solution Partner and puts his success down to a love of people, business and technology. Tweet him at @DarrylAdie.

How retailers can improve conversion on mobile

When retailers talk about conversion, they're generally talking about purchasing.

Mobile purchasing has risen considerably in the past few years, with a third of all online sales now taking place via smartphones and tablets. 

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How Millennials are changing the face of retail

The rise of the Millennial generation and the approach of its constituents towards their peak earning years, is going to fundamentally change the face of retail in all its forms. 

Whilst the last decade has seen the technology that underpins retail change beyond all recognition, the attitudes of Millennials towards shopping will change almost every way that retailers interact with their customers.

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The subscription ecommerce opportunity

For years people have subscribed to newspapers and magazines, but now consumers can subscribe to receive a wide range of basic products, from fashion to fresh vegetables.

As consumer buying habits are trending towards simpler, hassle-free shopping experiences, companies like Pact Coffee, Graze and Glossybox are invading the subscription space and seeing incredible growth.

While subscription selling may not be a new model of retail, it has the potential to up-end traditional shopping patterns.

Just this month, music streaming subscription services like Spotify were included in the UK basket of goods and services used to calculate inflation. 

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Can retailers bring personalisation from clicks to bricks?

A personalised online shopping experience powered by simple data collection is rapidly becoming a must-have for retailers.

In the past year alone, there was a spike in customer expectations for personalisation across all shopping channels and it became critical for retailers to innovate in terms of customer experience in order to keep those shoppers engaged.

Recommended products and wish lists have become commonplace online, but can this model of personalisation transfer to bricks-and-mortar?

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The 2014 retail IPO explosion: what does this mean for retail technology?

In the past year there have been as many British retailers listing on the stock exchange as there were in the previous ten, as the online and discount players that are shaking up shopping flock to go public.

This flood of initial public offerings (IPOs) has been driven by fundamental changes occurring in the industry with the massive growth of ecommerce and evolving shopping habits. 

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Back to the Future: the journey from online to offline retail

There has been a seismic shift of bricks-and-mortars retailers onto the web over the last decade, with almost every major player now at some level offering clicks-and-bricks capabilities. 

With a few exceptions, there has been relatively little traffic the other way - of pure play online retailers opening up physical stores. 

In recent months this has begun to change, with an increasing number of online businesses investigating the potential of some form of physical presence. 

For a long time pureplay retailers have decried the costs, inflexibility and limitations of physical stores, preferring the infinite SKUs, distribution and low costs of a pure web model.

However, as physical retailers have begun to combine on- and offline models in more innovative ways the potential of a mixed format model has become more and more attractive.

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Is social shopping making a comeback?

At one point social shopping was hailed as the future of ecommerce.

Online shopping was supposed to be moving towards becoming a more social and collective experience, whereby users could share their shopping journeys, mimicking the sort of interaction that occurs in physical stores.

However, despite all of these predictions, true social commerce has failed to really gain traction with consumers or retailers.

Whilst social elements, such as sharing buttons, have been integrated into retail websites, the overall vision of social shopping has not yet come to fruition.

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Five key considerations for a multichannel ecommerce replatform

Implementing a new ecommerce platform is one of the biggest technical decisions that a retailer can make.

A successful replatforming can be the key to effective multichannel growth and can future-proof a retailer against ever-changing consumer demand. 

With so much at stake it’s important to make sure that a project starts in the right place. To this end, I've put together five key things to consider in ensuring a scalable ecommerce replatform.

And for an in-depth look at this topic, download the new Econsultancy Ecommerce Platforms Buyer's Guide 2014.

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The multichannel challenge: How luxury retailers can get it right

Multichannel retailing involves offering customers a variety of experiences and ways to buy, including brick-and-mortar stores, online shops, telesales, mobile and tablet commerce.

It covers transactions from browsing to buying and returning, as well as pre and post-sale service. For luxury retailers, this means more channels and more devices, across which quality, service and experience must be communicated.

The transition from bricks-and-mortar to clicks-and-mortar, although full of opportunity, is not without its challenges.

In addition to the generic challenges that come with updating a business model, the luxury sector, and indeed the department store luxury market, has its own set of unique challenges.

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Creating a single view of stock: five key considerations

Adopting a single view of your stock across retail channels is an essential precursor to a true multichannel strategy.

Alongside a single view of the customer, it is a fundamental foundation in integrating online and offline operations.

Even as a standalone project, a single view of stock can be highly beneficial. Understanding your stock in real-time across your retail channels can enable utilisation of innovative fulfilment models: click and collect, multichannel returns, as well as new and valuable customer service and merchandising solutions.

Whilst understanding your stock may sound simple, it can be quite the opposite.

This is particularly relevant in environments where offline and online retail functions have developed as essentially independent businesses, as is the case for many clicks-and-mortar retailers.

In these scenarios, store distribution warehouses might operate entirely separately from online fulfilment, with in-store stock tracked separately from its online equivalent and even online and offline returns accounted for differently.

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Creating a single view of customers: five top tips

Creating a single view of customers across channels has long been the goal of the ambitious retail marketer.   

By being able to track and analyse consumer interactions across in-store and online, a retailer can create a new level of insight into their customers and therefore market to them with an unprecedented level of accuracy and insight. 

In addition, data has shown again and again that customers who interact with a brand on more than one channel are more valuable and loyal than their single channel counterparts.

However, a single view of customers isn’t as simple as just connecting online and offline databases of information. It requires significant investment in new hardware, software, staff capabilities and processes.

Before launching any project of this scale, retailers need to be aware of the possibilities and pitfalls. 

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Avoiding ecommerce deployment disaster: 10 areas to watch

Replatforming and deploying major updates are some of the most stressful moments for an ecommerce team.  

These moments are vital for staying ahead of the competition, for introducing innovative new features or responding to user testing, but they’re also the point at which things can go most wrong

Too often when you or your agency throw the hypothetical switch you end up with a site that’s got serious bugs or, even worse, no site at all.  

What can you do to ensure that the deployment of your new platform, or of important revisions to your existing one, run seamlessly and effectively?

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