Mary Meeker Schools eCommerce

When Mary Meeker speaks everyone listens.  If you haven’t already reviewed her presentation you should (available here).  Three things stood out to me that retailers and particularly eCommerce teams should focus on.

1. Image-Based Platform Front-Ends = Tap + Augment Can Replace Typing
This applies to many areas but for ecommerce this is highlighting the power of photo search.  Our shoppers are finding easier ways to save time every day using new apps and interfaces.  Photo based search can be one of the ways that retailers can advance up the engagement curve to help their shoppers.  Shoppers simply attach an image and hit search and then retailers augment those images with matching algorithms as well as pull attributes from the image to provide the most relevant search results with just a few taps.  If you need some tips ask us here at Reflektion.  We have a very powerful Photo Search solution.

2. Hyperlocal Targeting
While it is easy to discuss the challenges faced in Brick and Mortar we haven’t truly started exploiting digital opportunities to make the retail locations more impactful.  Hyperlocal targeting can drive couponing and messaging for the right ad at the right place at the right time.  Retailers need to take advantage of their wealth of eCommerce data and mobile visitors to create the awareness and relevance of promoting their locations.  And by the way when you drive them to the store make sure your associates have access to the data rich world of ecommerce at their fingertips to lock down those incremental sales.

3. Voice-Based Mobile Platform Front Ends = Voice Can Replace Typing …
So between the first call out and this you can surmise that we are all lazy consumers but in truth the results you can get with voice enabled search and with photo search are just better results.  That is if your search is voice enabled.

You can’t simply cut and paste your search results into voice output and hope it works, it won’t.  You need to understand that when consumers use voice search they tend to be more expressive.

Not only do they use more words in the voice transcribed search query they also add nuanced language.  They might ask to see red shoes under $50.  Most sites don’t understand the “under” portion of that query and many don’t understand the $50 in the right context.  To respond intelligently to voice transcribed search queries (what Siri and Google Assistant do) you need Natural Language Processing.  In addition, you also need to provide access to more than just your products.  You need a Universal Search solution to ensure when the customer asks where your nearest store is or when will my package arrive you can come back with not only an intelligent answer but also the right answer.  Voice recognition and translation is incredibly accurate compared to a few years ago when you hated Siri so make sure you are thinking about how to enable your site search to have intelligent responses for voice search.

There are a world of other insightful things from Mary Meeker’s report so go take a look at the slide show or you can watch the video of her presentation from this year’s Code Conference.

Kurt Heinemann

Kurt is Reflektion’s CMO. His resume includes CMO positions at Marketwired and Monetate. He’s also held senior executive positions at Priceline, Time Warner and Walker Digital Companies. Despite living in Yankees territory, Kurt is a die hard Tigers fan.