In case you missed it, we hosted the industry’s first Retailer Retrospective event with BigCommerce, Airwallex, and Refundid at Shippit HQ. In January, the retail community came together to share actionable insights and learn key takeaways from each other through an interactive roundtable retrospective. 

During the session, we unpacked the learnings from 2022 and what we’re looking forward to in 2023, starting with a fireside chat presented by the Head of eCommerce at Shona Joy, Digital and eCommerce Manager at Church & Dwight, and Brand Manager at Willow.

“This event was a great way to meet other retailers, and better understand what’s happening in the wider market so we can plan for the future,” Ellen Kusturin at Camilla & Marc. 

Over some coffee (and croissants), leading retailers like Showpo, Mwave, SIR the Label, Paire and more discussed what to start, stop and continue doing in 2023.

Here are the top Q&A from the discussion:

A: We are focusing on brand building through channels we control, so for us, using marketplaces aren’t part of our immediate strategy, says Nicola Michael, Brand Manager at Willow.

Marketplaces like THE ICONIC and International drop shipping partners are great for brand awareness- especially for younger brands who aim to grow their reach. Consider whether you are decreasing your direct sales by selling on these marketplaces, which may have better policies and services. You should definitely consider whether you want to have a strategy to offer all products or to keep some exclusive to your store. Marketplaces can also be an excellent way to get into Ownbuy/Wholesale with these retailers if that’s another aim, says Sarah Duong, Head of Ecommerce at Shona Joy.


A: The biggest pitfall is that there’s no guarantee the influencer will actually post your pieces. However, if you are confident in the product and select pieces that you know will resonate with the influencer, you’ll get lucky and they will post. We are working on building relationships with influencers who help us spread brand awareness, says Nicola Michael, Brand Manager at Willow.

It’s also good to work together with your buying team and or product teams to understand which products need the biggest push/what has been backed heaviest and try to focus on that. Send curated look books to influences with the select products only (if possible). Have a good mix of free seeding influencers and paid. Free/organic is the best, but sometimes it’s good to have some consistent/reliable paid influencers on your list so you always know you’ll be getting a certain amount of content per season/collection, says Sarah Duong, Head of Ecommerce at Shona Joy.


A: Yes, definitely – we want to continue focusing on the US and a handful of other countries that consistently pop up with high conversion rates and/or traffic in your online store, says Sarah Duong, Head of Ecommerce at Shona Joy.


A: We are still using an agency but work very closely with them. We’ve thought about it in the past but ultimately it’s not the right time for us right now to being in-house, says Sarah Duong, Head of Ecommerce at Shona Joy.


A: We are in the infancy of using design software that both garment technicians and designers use to fit garments and we’ll be looking at AI to help with visually merchandising products, says Nicola Michael, Brand Manager at Willow.


A: We’re keeping the same at this stage, says Sarah Duong, Head of Ecommerce at Shona Joy.


A: The answer is always. We’re always constantly on the look out for what’s out there that may be better. It’s also just good to understand what’s in the market always. At the minimum I’d be looking at it every 6-12 months. There are always efficiencies to be made within the current solutions you already have and updates are always being made, so keep abreast with the pipelines/updates of your current partners, says Sarah Duong, Head of Ecommerce at Shona Joy.


A: I like to look at this alongside UPT. The lower average price of products of a brand, generally, the easier it is to drive higher UPT (and therefore AOV). Look at how you can get customers to buy more than one product from you. Consider if you’re able to implement bundle, subscription or up-selling tactics, says Sarah Duong, Head of Ecommerce at Shona Joy.


A: First, look at the main reasons for the leakage. Are they product faults, or are they customers damaging the product and returning it? Consider investing more in Quality Control pre-selling to minimise selling/sending out faulty products to customers. Negotiate maximum fault rates and reimbursement/credit policies with your suppliers, says Sarah Duong, Head of Ecommerce at Shona Joy.


A: Shopify is super easy to implement and learn. It’s also always constantly upgrading. Lots of partners/solutions also have direct integrations and apps for them. However, limitations are when you want to have multiple websites with multiple currencies and despatch locations. Salesforce can manage this better and allows more control and scheduling for ECOM Teams. The con is that it takes longer to learn and longer to build things + my understanding is that you’ll need in-house developers and tech teams majority of the time to run/make updates for you effectively, says Sarah Duong, Head of Ecommerce at Shona Joy.


A: I’d recommend speaking to experts/consultants in this field. They’ll know best and can legally advise. Also, don’t assume or switch to plastic-free packaging without considering the requirements of your products (polybag lifespan, satchel strength, what wholesalers require, etc) first. Sometimes recyclable or made by recycled products may still be the best option for you over plastic-free, says Sarah Duong, Head of Ecommerce at Shona Joy.


A: For sure – the issue has been that sea freight and suppliers have been really unreliable the past couple of years which has meant we’ve had to air a lot more than we wanted to meet deadlines and ensure adequate stock to make sales, says Sarah Duong, Head of Ecommerce at Shona Joy.


A: Strategically, we’re looking at using our budget for both. We aim to focus more on retention in our mature markets and more awareness in new/growing markets, says Sarah Duong, Head of Ecommerce at Shona Joy.


A: Assuming that the question means what the pro and cons are for allowing monetary refunds instead of just store/credit notes. The pros is that this will likely increase your conversion rate, as it did with us, and the cons is that it may increase your return rates, says Sarah Duong, Head of Ecommerce at Shona Joy. Generally, your conversion rate increase will hopefully outweigh your return rate but ensure you have adequate staff/procedures to manage the increase in orders and returns. It’s good to analyse what you think the increases will be as a benchmark.


A: We’re still trying to figure out ourselves the best way to do this. We have a lot of first party data but from lots of different platforms/partners. We’re looking into ways to consolidate this information into one place but we are taking little steps first and picking out the low hanging fruit vis manual methods/strategies, says Sarah Duong, Head of Ecommerce at Shona Joy.


A: Brands should be using partners to customise their on-site journey. For example, if you know where they are from, use that information to showcase what other people in the same city/country are buying or feed the brand USPs specific for their location, etc.

You should also consider whether it’s their first, second, or third visit and from what channel they came through and whether you can implement tactics to push them down the funnel each time. All these on-site experiences should also be duplicated from a CRM/EDM perspective. There is so much in this area and we’re only just touching the surface with these examples, Sarah Duong, Head of Ecommerce at Shona Joy.

Check out what the event had to offer and what you can expect at the next roundtable. Watch now: