The Internet World EXPO is an annual trade fair in Munich (see more). On two days in the beginning of March more than over 17.200 digital experts met 420 exhibitiors and discussed with 250 speakers, including the chairman of FDP Christian Lindner, the entrepreneur Jochen Schweitzer, and many others. The event started with the Internet Shop Award one evening in advance. This year, the Shop Award winners are About You, Mediamarkt, Mymuesli and the Frankfurter Brett. In this article I prepared an overview of the top learnings at Internet World eCommerce EXPO 2018 for Your business.

Top Learnings @InternetWorldExpo

1. Challenge the best Product Filters for Your Online Shop

An online shop without product filters might be very confusing but also too many filters might be overextended. The secret of success is to focus on the user relevant filters and this is only possible in case, you know your persona very well. Stay up-to-date and work on your user experience.

Let me give you a proper example: Selling sofas simply doesn’t mean the one and only filter has to be the sofa color because the size of a sofa matters much more in respect of decision relevance. The sofa size is essential because this is the key criteria to fit in the clients living room. In step two you can ask for the preferred interior style, in step three or four you also focus on the sofa color.

Of course, you should offer different filter criteria but never in an unstructured and confusing way. Keep it simple. In consequence you highlight your focus by sorting products in a customer relevant style.

2. Consider Multichannel in Your Sales Strategy

Only 15% of all online business is based on an own eCommerce solution. 50% of online business is linked to marketplace platforms like Amazon or eBay. Those numbers visualize the importance of marketplaces. In terms of customer trust, reliability, and user experience, platforms offer big advantages that will take you time and ressources to create those for your own online shop. On the other side your business model has a strong dependency on the marketplace in case you have no other selling channel.
Based on that ambivalence I recommend you to build your business on an own online shop solution integrating multichannel selling via reliable marketplaces. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule but in general it’s an effective strategy to stay independent and benefit from the marketplace system at the same time.

3. Make it Mobile Responsive

Indeed, it’s nothing new that mobile responsiveness matters. Actually it becomes more and more important. In 2018 Google makes it a clear priority task considering AMP and the “Mobile-First-Index”. Moreover the innovative smart speaker calls for fast loading times because a high percentage of voice search inquiries are done via mobile devices.

This tendency will become even stronger within the next years and you should be prepared for this process. Certainly, the most important aspect might be the loading time but also the layout, content elements and a clear navigation are important elements. Quite often it makes sense to design your own mobile navigation in a simplified way. We can be sure that no user will scroll one meter down to find your contact details. Try to apply minimalistic guidelines and improve your user experience.

4. Use and Learn out of A/B Testing

Sometimes it’s difficult to say what really works for your users. A/B testing is a performance-driven way to focus on the right elements. It’s great to compare the scrolling behavior, clicks and click-through-rates of different images, call-to-actions, or layout versions. The possibilities are very extended but it’s important to define clear targets in advance. Only targets enable you to measure results.

The second key condition is significance. There is a saying: Never trust a study, you didn’t fake yourself. But never forget your target: You want to improve the performance of your online shop. So it’s in your own interest to reach significance and honest results. Don’t impress yourself with non-significant results. In conclusion A/B testing enables your business to track the most honest customer feedback: behavior. Jonathan Midenhall, the CMO of Airbnb would say:

5. Increase the Cart Timeout

A very simple and fast improvement might be to increase the cart timeout. The use of mobile devices shows us that most people create wishlists or shopping lists on the mobile while the payment process will be finalized on desktop versions. In case your timeout is only ten minutes, all the products in the cart will disappear after ten minutes.

In consequence you provide a frustrating experience because the potential client has to research all articles in your online shop catalogue to recreate the initial shopping list. For everyone who wants to rethink the purchase, there is no convincing chance to order without a rush. To diminish the buying pressure during checkout you can simply extend the cart timeout to 48 hours or even longer.

6. Integrate Rich Snippets

Rich snippets are helpful to improve your optical visibility. Those are displayed in Google search results. This means we speak about an extended version of snippets including special elements like star ratings, links, pictures, prices or further details. It’s nothing new but still relatively seldom used. You can make a difference by using them. By the way, rich snippets will also increase your click-through-rate.

Those are our top learnings at Internet World eCommerce EXPO 2018 for your business.