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Blog post from SUP46 Alumni member Nosto

Looking into the virtual crystal ball: E-commerce trends for 2017

This is a blog post written by Juha Valvanne, CPO at SUP46 alumni member Nosto

 

When I started my first online store in 2003, the Internet was a very different place. Facebook was still just a glint in Zuckerberg’s eye, there was no such thing as YouTube (meaning the world was a much poorer place in terms of cat videos) and e-commerce, although in existence, was predominantly a frustrating experience. In fact, 83% of consumers were reported to be confused by online shopping.

Fast forward to 2016 and it is quite a different picture. We are seeing the 1-hour delivery slots, the first deliveries made by drones, and augmented e-commerce realities.

It begs the question, what could the future hold for e-commerce? Exactly how far could we go? As Chief Product Office for Nosto, it is part of my role to be aware of the newest e-commerce trends. If we are to be a company at the bleeding edge of e-commerce technology, then we need to know what that bleeding edge is.

In this blog post I will share some of my insight, gleaned over the last year, and my resulting predictions for 2017. Specifically, the five trends that I see holding the most promise.

 

1. Fulfillment

With e-commerce it can often be tempting to focus on what needs to happen to get your customers over the virtual shopping line – however, it is actually the processes put into action after that point that are seeing some of the biggest changes, and having the biggest effect on how people feel about online shopping. I’m referring, of course, to order fulfillment – with impatient consumers becoming less and less willing to wait for online delivery, retailers are being forced to find quicker and more innovative ways to get the goods to their final destination; the hands of the buyer.

What does this mean for the next year? Well, we have already seen companies such as Amazon piloting drone delivery – but I don’t see this becoming a viable every day reality in the next 12 months (sorry, drone fans). Instead I think we will see retailers focus their efforts on same-day delivery, concentrated delivery slots and the use of local pick up points. The focus will be on both speed and flexibility – giving shoppers either the chance to get their products sooner, or giving them more control in how and when they do get them, shifting the Achilles heel – the last mile of delivery – and creating a more enjoyable experience. When this is done by the playbook, those unboxing videos and Instagram photos will also start driving essentially free traffic to your site or work as valuable user-generated content on the site itself. I predict the one-hour delivery slot to gain momentum (meaning customers are no longer kept captive all day when waiting for deliveries) and the introduction of more drop off points to enable customers to avoid the delivery waiting game altogether.

Another thing to keep in mind, is the leveraging of third-parties outside of the traditional courier. There is a possibility that services such as Uber could enter this space. In the country where I was born and raised, Finland, some local taxi companies and food delivery companies are also piloting a shared service model.

 

2. Personalization and especially real-time personalization

Ah personalization. As the founder of a personalization technology company, it would be concerning if I didn’t see this as playing a major role in the development of the e-commerce market over the next 12 months. The question is then less whether I think it will play a part and more how. The biggest change I think is that it will no longer be seen as a “nice to have”. Traditionally personalization was seen as the differentiator for companies such as Amazon and Asos, who have lead in this space. But it is no longer viable for serious e-commerce players, to see it is as a big boys’ game. As the trend picks up momentum and becomes more ingrained in what it means to offer an enjoyable online shopping experience, we see those neglecting it falling behind. In many ways this is because consumers are calling for it – and as we know, the customer is always right. After growing accustomed to service that businesses such as Spotify, Netflix and Facebook provide in curating personalized lists of content – they now expect this level of service to be replicated by retailers.

How I think personalization in this space will change is much to do with its pervasiveness and the need for unity as a result. Shoppers want a connected experience – with their preferences being tracked across multiple devices and channels. In short, they want to be able to look and click on a Facebook or Instagram post about a product, check it out on the store, served to them later on, be it via social media, onsite recs, or email, to be relevant based on their unique profile – saving it later on desktop and have a relevant path to checkout carved out for them based on this previous behavior. They do not expect to start from scratch, plowing through your inventory for that which might be of interest. They then expect any product recommendations to prevent them from having to click through a navigation and category jungle. And they expect it to happen in real time, with the course you send them on reflecting the current journey they are taking through your site, as well as their previous preferences. Personalization is one of the building blocks of good UX, as well as a way to show you value each individual customer – an absolute value for any e-com business.

 

3. Chatbots

A trend that, in many ways, still brings about visions of a robot run the world and for that reason may still feel light years away from coming to fruition. But the truth is huge strides have been made in this area within the last year and we are now seeing regular integrated use of chatbots in e-commerce. And this is something I think will only continue – particularly as digital assistants such as Siri, Alexa and Google’s Home [LL3] mean people are becoming more and more accustomed to talking to machines.

In fact, the truth is that messaging systems are becoming more and more ingrained into our lives – we Slack colleagues rather than picking up the phone, we pop off a quick message to our significant other to ask what is for dinner. In many ways, while we are embracing smartphones more than ever before, we are turning away from their more traditional call facility. This means that many people don’t want to call a company and talk to a representative, especially at the risk of being tangled in a never-ending automated system that sees it take 10 minutes just to get through to the right person.

With this in mind, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Google (Allo) have all introduced chatbots. But it is perhaps Facebook where we are seeing the most extensive e-commerce application. Bots are able to answer simple questions, provide product recommendations and push customers towards desired actions – in fact towards the end of 2015 Facebook made it possible for a purchase to be completed entirely within the Facebook messenger app and without the aid of a human shopping representative.

While customers moving further along the funnel may appreciate the human touch and a more informed expert opinion, those at the first point of contact seem to be embracing the quick and easy nature of these interactions and so I think we will soon see this not only become the norm but even change consumer behavior and journeys – something to which retailers will need to adapt.

 

4. Mobile

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few years, you will know that mobile has been, and will continue to be, an important trend. In fact, I almost didn’t want to put it on this list – so sure was I that it would elicit a host of “we already know this” groans.

But there is no escaping that mobile is here to stay. In fact, as we become more and more connected, it is more important than ever. My prediction, however, is not that mobile is important (we know that already), but that we will have to change the way we perceive it. Study after study (including our own report) show that mobile, as a channel, is attracting more e-commerce traffic than ever before, turning it from a buzzword into a dominant e-commerce channel. Yet, smartphone conversion still lags behind that of a desktop.

Normally the response to this is to improve and concentrate on mobile design. And I am not disagreeing with this approach. Even if people don’t convert on mobile, the fact that they are spending time there at all means the experience needs to be highly tuned and relevant. A smartphone by its nature is a device we pick up dozens, if not hundreds, of times a day – meaning the experience needs to be crafted for short periods of browsing. But we also need to go one step further – focusing less on where people convert and more on making their journey between devices, a seamless one.

Most of the e-commerce activity on mobiles can be seen to be “pre-shopping” – that is discovery and browsing. According to Google, 60 percent of online conversions in the US start on one device and end on another. Which means mobile, while perhaps not the leader in terms of conversion, often plays a critical role in the first step of your customer’s journey. Your focus should then be on how they are able to transition to the next step (and device), without starting again.

It also worth noting that our phones are often a tool that we use for distraction, procrastination and entertainment. As opposed to our desktops, which are used more in our working lives. This means you may even want the experience you craft on mobile to be more of a joyful or playful nature, applying gamification techniques. In other words, stop seeing mobile as just another digital store façade.

 

5. Augmented & Virtual reality

While I don’t think augmented reality and virtual reality are likely to change the face of e-commerce in the next year, I do think it is one area where we will see leading brands and pioneers differentiate. We have already seen some interesting applications of this technology in the e-commerce world with eBay and Meyer combining forces to bring the first virtual reality store to fruition, Tommy Hilfiger adding a virtual reality fashion show experience to their bricks and mortar stores and even the use of augmented reality to show virtual interior design accessories imposed onto a user’s home.

Essentially these technologies could allow people to add a layer of interactivity to the e-commerce experience, immersing shoppers so that they are more engaged in the shopping process and stories around the items they might buy. What is most interesting with these technologies is their ability to go beyond the physical world, creating experiences that do not even exist today. The possibilities are endless and if companies are willing, they could create a whole new way to connect with their customers. While it’s not quite clear where this technology might take us I, for one, am excited to see how the bold may use it.

 

Conclusion

So, there we have it. Are any of these trends currently shaping your e-commerce business? And what do you see being the next big thing in commerce in 2017? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Do you want to contact Juha Valvanne? You can email him here.


Merry Christmas from SUP46

Tips on Christmas Gifts from SUP46 

Christmas is coming which means a stressful time for many people! Deadlines at work, Christmas parties, finding the perfect Christmas gift, children running around cooking and what to wear?!? SUP46 has listed a few gifts from our member companies that can help you the coming days!

Merry Christmas from SUP46!

With a wide variety of options to suit all levels and types of meditators, The Mindfulness App is the perfect tool for anyone looking to improve mental health and overall wellbeing. Download the app today and start your free month trial.

The SUP46 member Mobilimeet puts an end to all your meeting frustration and lets you have collaborative and engaging meetings every time. With Mobilimeet you and your team can collaborate on any device before as well as during meetings, and follow-up of actions and to-dos are as easy as pie. Free trial and 25% off your purchase with promo code XMASDEAL25.

Still a bit stressed about work? Attach tells you what happens to your documents after you hit send. Sales and marketing teams use Attach to track, manage and control sales collateral like pitch decks, proposals, and other high-value documents. SUP46 member Attach gives you 3 months of Attach for Business free by signing up here.

Don’t forget that shopping groceries online saves time but shopping groceries online by recipes saves time AND mental energy (much needed right now!). SUP46 member Gastrofy will help you out! The code SUP46 gives a user 200SEK discount on their first purchase!

 

 

Give someone you love a few hours of rest with a babysitter, doggy walker or a snow shoveler (is that even a word?) Yepstr will help you out!

Finally – safety first! Stilla Motion is a pocket-sized security system that gives you an instant alert if something moves when it shouldn’t. Using this perk you will get a 41% discount on a Stilla Motion. Take a look here.

 

 

 


The Swedish Startup Gala 2016

The Swedish Startup Gala 2016

Soon it’s time for the next Swedish Startup Hall of Fame Award but this year we have decided to change the concept. From this year we will call it the Swedish Startup Gala where we will have three categories,  the ”Swedish Startup Hall of Fame” Award and two new ones: ”Startup Team of the Year” and ”Startup Launch of the Year”.

The next person being inaugurated into Swedish Startup Hall of Fame will be chosen by Niklas Zennström, Jane Walerud and Jessica Stark, CEO and co-founder SUP46.

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The nominated companies in the two new categories are:

Startup Team of the Year:
Soundtrap
Matsmart
Instabridge

Startup Launch of the Year:
NA-KD Fashion
Dooer
Landfall Games

Award Jury Startup Team of the Year and Startup Launch of the Year:
Alexander Leppänen, MTGx, Miriam Grut Norrby,  Schibsted Growth, Ted Persson, EQT Ventures, Maria Kessling, Almi Invest, Sabina Wizander, Creandum, Fei-Fei Jing, Bonnier Growth Media, Björn Bergström, Industrifonden and Jessica Nilsson, Northzone

The Swedish Startup Gala 2016 will take place November 24. You can request an invite to the gala below:

 

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Meet the team – Tatjana

MEET THE SUP46 TEAM – TATJANA

Our Event Space sees around 250 events every year. The person keeping track of them all and making sure they are all of high quality and in one way or another relevant to the tech and startup scene is our Event Manager Tatjana. She is also the one responsible for SUP46’s own external events, such as our FemTech event series. Get to know her and how she ended up at SUP46 a bit better below!

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  • How did you end up at SUP46?

I ended up rather accidentally at SUP46. My background is from Event Management in the entertainment industry in Germany, I worked for Musicians, Comedians and TV Productions for more than 7 years. I moved to Sweden in 2011 as a “love refugee” and helped organizing the event “Stockholm Investing in Women Meetup” with my husband at SUP46. Here I bumped into Nathalie, then Event Manager and also Co-Founder of SUP46. She liked what I was doing and invited me for coffee to talk more about whether I would be interested in working with SUP46 and their events.

I started off as an Event Intern when SUP46 was just 5 months young. 3 months later I got hired as their Event Coordinator and just a few months after that when Nathalie decided to move on from her position to become the Community Manager, I took over her role as Event Manager. Before that I had never heard of Startups, VC’s, Unicorns (always thought it was just a magical horse 😉 ) and all those typical words you use in the Startup Scene. But I found it exciting, something new and totally different to what I did before. I like the environment and excitement of the people wanting to make a change.

  • What does your role at SUP46 entitle?

Being the Event Manager at SUP46 means mainly to be the contact person for all event requests for our event venue. Making sure their event will be a success through marketing support as well as giving them input on speakers and startups for their events. But I also organize SUP46’s own branded events like our Happy Hours, SUP46 FemTech, Demo Day and Swedish Startup Gala just to name a few. We have also started to be more present at other Startup Conferences like SLUSH where we took our Happy Hour concept on tour to Helsinki together with Stockholm Business Region.

I am also in charge of our conference rooms and the recently opened Startup Café by SUP46 where my role as a Creative Designer has been relevant. This happened during the planning of our move to the new venue at Regeringsgatan 65. Somehow I ended up designing our new venue and giving it the SUP46 feeling we were looking for and naturally the next step was to design and create a concept for the Startup Café as well.

  • What do you like best about your job?

The best thing about working at SUP46 is that you can take on projects that you have a passion for, even though they might not have been part of your role before. Or simply be creative by taking on new ideas and projects within your field. I enjoyed designing the new venue a lot and turning all our ideas that we had since 2014 into a physical space. I remember that one of our first workshops we had in 2014 was about the ideal SUP46 venue in 2016 and it’s great to see that we managed to implement almost everything we dreamed of.

When it comes to events I enjoy creating events where people leave with the feeling of satisfaction, to be able to have made some great contacts or simply got inspired. I think that’s what I am giving back to the community. Creating a place for people to meet, make contacts, get inspired, finding business partners or simply helping our startups through events like Demo Day to get connections to investors.

  • If you were starting your own scalable business tomorrow, what would it be all about?

I think it would be something in the field of events and/or design. I have been working with events for a very long time and all kinds of sizes. This is something I know by heart. The interest in design has always been there but in the last years it has become a bigger part of my work.

I remember a dinner party last year together with SLUSH and Startup Sauna and just for fun everybody needed to come up spontaneously with a business idea. I pitched the idea of having a platform to easily get help to design your home and especially to figure out what your style is through a questionnaire and get easy access to any kind of furniture. I think this field should be more easily accessible to any kind of consumer. I had at least two VC’s from Startup Sauna who wanted to invest! 😉

And if I do not find the right event management platform very soon, which suits my needs as an Event Manager at a startup hub, I think I have to start building it from scratch myself. So far I have not found a suitable one.

  • What is SUP46 to you in one word?

PASSION

 

If you want to host an event in our event space or rent a conference room for your next meeting, feel free to get in touch with Tatjana!


Four reasons why MTG invested in InnoGames

WHY MTG INVESTED IN INNOGAMES, AND WHAT COMES NEXT

We just invested in a games company. We’d never done that before. But it probably won’t be the last time.

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A few weeks ago, we took a 35% stake in InnoGames, an online games developer and publisher. We have an option to go up to 51% next year, and to increase our shareholding even further over time.

But don’t you guys work in TV? Yep, we do. We’re super-proud of our broadcasting business, which has the industry’s largest content portfolio and delivers multi-screen experiences to viewers across Europe. What we’re doing with InnoGames is part of MTG’s strategy to transform into a leading digital entertainment provider.

We’re already the world’s biggest esports company – our ESL and DreamHack businesses will engage over 250 million fans in 2016. At the same time, our multi-platform networks (MPNs) Zoomin.TV and Splay generate 2.5 billion online views every month, 25% of which relate to gaming content.

So you could say gaming is a thread that already runs through our digital portfolio. It’s a multi-billion-dollar industry, with more than 2 billion players worldwide. For us, it therefore makes perfect sense to add gaming as our third digital entertainment vertical alongside esports and MPNs, giving us huge opportunities to create cross-promotions and synergies.

We will continue investing in all these areas. Of course, there are a whole bunch of games companies around – including some great ones at SUP46. Here are four reasons why we made InnoGames our first move in this space:

  1. Amazing games. InnoGames’ titles such as Elvenar, Grepolis and Forge of Empires have generated more than 150 million registered players.
  2. A proven financial track record. InnoGames has been profitable from year one and margins are high and stable. The company’s revenues have grown 20% every year for the last three years, and should hit EUR 125 million in 2016.
  3. A sustainable model. InnoGames operates a 100% free-to-play model with revenues coming from in-game purchasing. It develops multiple cross-platform titles, rather than a single blockbuster. And the games constantly evolve, keeping players engaged for years.
  4. Successful in mobile. Mobile is the fastest growing gaming segment, thanks to large audiences and more paying players. Today, 50% of InnoGames’ new users register on mobile platforms, and the company has some really exciting mobile-only titles in development.

All these things were really important in our decision – but don’t take this as an exhaustive checklist. As an entrepreneur myself, I know that the most successful start-ups are often those that break the rules completely.

Every rule, that is, except one.

Whatever your business, you have to love what you do. It’s about feeling an urgent hunger to disrupt everything – you wake up each morning wanting to change the world.

Passion, in other words, is at the heart of the entrepreneurial spirit. InnoGames has it. MTG has it. And so do the companies in which we’ll invest next.

/Arnd Benninghoff, CEO at MTGx

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