March 16, 2014

DX3 Canada Recap - What's new in Digital Retail?

Canada's premiere digital retail conference was last week!

My brief recap of the key learnings from the two-day conference, as well as some FREE resources you can use to access presentations and content {score!}.

What is DX3 Canada?

DX3 Canada is Canada's largest digital conference. I say it's focused on digital retail (because everything is retail, to me) but it's truly a compilation of the best minds from strategy firms, retailers, creative and digital agencies and thought leaders. DX3 was March 5-6 in Toronto, Ontario Canada.

I learned a lot. Comscore was sponsoring the event, so every presentation was rife with statistic, almost overwhelming. So, leading off the DX3 Canada theme of "5 Things..."...

5 Things I learned at DX3 Canada that you should know

1. If your website is not mobile optimized, you're in trouble

The mobile growth rates in Canada are astounding. In the 18-34 year old age group, 55% of their time spent online is through their mobile device. In total, this age group spends over 96 hours a month across all channels. 90% of this age group have a smartphone. 90%. Crazy. 

Even if you're not targeting millennial, in the 55+ age group, 52% of users have a smartphone. 

Best part is people are using their phones to promote your brands. 30% of smartphone users took a picture of a product in store to send to a friend, and 24% called or texted a friend while shopping in store.

Net takeaway: If your website isn't mobile optimized (go on it now), you could be losing out on major sales. A good way to check is to login to your google analytics and look at your conversion by device type. 

2. Content is King but Analytics are Queen

The VP from Buzzfeed, Eric Harris spoke about the "art and science" of social sharing. receives over 150 million unique views a month, 12 million from Canada. He referred to publishing as a "Paris Cafe". It's human. It's no longer the news telling us what they want us to hear, it's us hearing from each other. It's social. It's real. 

Video growth is also staggering. Up 50% in views over year ago. People are soaking up content. The challenge is that many retailers and online retailers cannot produce it fast enough. 

Net takeaway: When creating content (and you should be creating your OWN content too!), ask yourself "Why would someone share this?". If the answer is, they wouldn't. Then, why are you creating it?

3. Start thinking about Business Strategy not Digital Strategy

This is a direct quote from the CFO (yes they let financial dudes attend!), of Canadian Tire, one of Canada's largest retailers. Their SVP Communications, Duncan Fulton delivered a keynote on Thursday morning. 

Digital disruption is happening, and the more you try to ignore it or do a patchwork approach, the further behind you get. Duncan advocated for embedding digital competencies into every functional unit of your business as digital creation cannot be left off on it's own. Digital needs to be part of your broader business strategy not just something splashy and fluffy. There are serious consequences on business models for decisions taken in digital.

Net takeaway: Start integrating digital across your business. Get rid of your digital business unit and spread the people out throughout all your key functions.

4. Your customers sell your products best

Get social with your customers. It's been proving time and again that customer referrals matter. A product with a customer review increased conversion 300%. I didn't say GOOD reviews. Just ANY reviews.

Don't have reviews? Start giving people a reason to write one!

Leveraging your customers' to sell your products allows you to be more authentic. A part of this is showing your product to its' fullest extent. Great to have straight up product shots, but how would this t-shirt look on a plus size person? Or what does your hair look like after you use your coconut oil shampoo?

Net takeaway: Use your customer connections to build brand credibility but help them love your products by providing good photos, rich content (yes, video) and testimonials to support confidence in your brands.

5. Bloggers have power, if you treat them right

Erica Ehm (yes of ex-Much Music fame in the 80s/90s) is now an uber-powerful mommy-blogger of the Yummy Mummy Club. She spoke about how to work with bloggers. Lessons, I know I could use!

I've been lucky to have MANY great blogger relationships but a few sour ones, namely one who ran off with my money. Yes, and it was a mommy blogger!

Erica made excellent points - you should choose quality over quantity. It's better to hone in on several great relationships, than a bunch of superficial ones. Understand WHO the blogger is before you work with them. Do you want them representing your brand? Does it make sense?

Also, bloggers are working, so you need to pay the, otherwise you often get what you pay for. 

Make sure you always ask for reporting in your contract and try to nurture good bloggers into long-term relationships. 

Net takeaway: Bloggers are like any advertising spend. It needs to be carefully investigated, researched, organized and evaluated post and pre. Don't just throw away free product and hope for the best!

DX3 Canada Content for FREE!

  • Most of the presenters have theirs up on Uberflip.
  • Summary of video content here.


Tell us, what was your most important takeaway from this post?

How will you leverage it in your business?

Leave a comment below!

Happy selling!

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