IRCE Session: Lessons from the Internet Retailer Second 500

This IRCE session is Lessons from the Internet Retailer Second 500, presented by Stefany Zaroban, Associate Director, Research - Internet Retailer.  There's lots of lessons we can learn from the Internet Retailer Second 500 - the 500-1000 largest eCommerce sites.

The Internet Retailer Second 500 includes retailers from under $1 million up to around $23 million.

#1 lesson from the 2nd 500: it's getting tougher to compete, but there's still plenty of room for a good idea.

The biggest retailers are gaining market share - 2013 eCommerce sales was 16.9%; top 500 was 17.1%; second 500 was 14.1%

Growth is slowing among small retailers - was 17.7% in 2011, down to 14.1% in 2013.

This is largely due to Google - harder to get noticed; PLA's now cost money; gmail challenges - and Amazon - growing market share and raising customer expectations.

50% of emails are now opened on a mobile device - optimize your emails for mobile!

94% of the Internet Retailer second 500 posted an increase in sales in 2013.

Only 10% of the Second 500 have mobile apps - they're all moving to responsive design.

In the apparel & accessories industry, the second 500 retailers are growing faster than the top 500 retailers.

Second 500 merchants are investing their time and money in social media - primarily in YouTube and Facebook, but Twitter and Google+ have shown largest year over year growth.

These merchants are also investing in paid search. The median paid search spend for retailers making <$1mil - $20mil/year is $13,000 per month.

Secrets of success of fast-growing smaller eCommerce retailers:

  1. Be different
  2. Be an expert in your niche and with your target customer
  3. Be cool

Interesting/cool examples:

  1. Plated.com - establish a niche in a category ripe for growth; build social media into your business model
  2. Chalkfly.com - innovative business model, fresh thinking, advanced B2B functionality
  3. GreatsBrand.com - manufacturer direct to consumer, fresh site design, product-focused. Very image-focused; few words, convey benefits via images not just words.

Make sure your customer experience with your brand is better than any other brand in your market.