NEMOA Conference Learning’s for Ecommerce and Direct Retailers

How online and direct retailers are continuing to grow while facing challenges?

I’m a big believer in yin and yang or taking positive with some negative. Last week, this ancient principle came into play as I experienced my first NEMOA conference (National Etailing and Mail Order Organization of America), along with my first Boston blizzard.

Despite the weather, the turnout was great and the conversation was even better! Leaders from organizations like LoveSac (who now offers a very unique product known as a “sactional”), Bella Luna Toys, and clients of ours like SmartPak, Plow & Hearth etc., gathered to discuss the challenges and opportunities that direct retailers face everyday.

Questions swirled around if Amazon is friend or foe? How can we combat legislation that may increase sales tax for online retailers in different states? Where are consumers going to find research to make decisions about finding new products? What social media sites are the best for converting users?

Not all questions had answers, but below are a couple of interesting learning’s from the event:

  • LinkedIn and Instagram generate the most b2b leads
  • The global population aged 65+ will go from 531 million to 1.49 billion by 2050 (an increase of 181%)
  • Average conversion rate for prospect emails in 2017 was 4.2%
  • Everyone knows content is king but news articles generate the most interest
  • In the past 12 months, 70% of consumers are buying a product because the company stood for an issue they cared about
  • Marketers are planning to allocate the largest percent of their budget, 41%, to online marketing
  • Ecommerce sales will increase nearly 16% in 2018 to $526 billion representing 10% of total retail sales of $5.3 trillion
  • Product companies are increasingly using video’s and the homepage is the most likely place a shopper will watch a video
  • The share of upper income households has increased 50% since 1971 but middle income has fallen about 11%
  • 77.8% of direct retailers with catalogs plan to keep circulation the same for 2018

The Chief Revenue Officer of Spoonflower, Donnie Steel, was part of a final panel discussion and he made a powerful analogy for everyone out there, whether you are a business owner or employee. He discussed his view of the non-problem, essentially viewing anything that came up as a problem as an opportunity. He gave the example of Amazon, instead of viewing them as a threat; they viewed them as a valuable partner to get their product to the masses. Amazon is now one of the biggest channels for Spoonflower. Other problems were address such as the talent problem; ideas such as offering flexible schedules or work from home options were mentioned as attractive offerings.

The conference was a great mix of marketing conversation as well as overall business learning’s. I finished off the event with another yin and yang moment, I won my first ever raffle but oddly enough, I won a stun gun that I couldn’t bring on the plane. That’s life!