The rise of online retailers is rapidly changing the face of consumption. But yet, the ecommerce trends affecting different regions are often completely different.
A panel, comprising OZON.ru chief executive Danny Perekalsy from Russia, Lightspeed Venture Partners partner Nicole Quinn from the UK and Jumia co-founder and co-chief executive officer Jeremy Hodora from Africa, sought to paint a truly global picture of the ecommerce revolution.
Comparing online and offline, Quinn said that omnichannel is most important as then you can be everywhere the customer is, describing pop-up experiences that had happened around New York: “A great consumer experience is different and unique, that is key to me”.
Hodora talked about how Africa is a “paradise for ecommerce” as the half that has internet want to buy goods that are not distributed in the country, presenting a big opportunity. “The need is here, what is needed is the trust,” he added, referring to how 95% of customers pay cash on delivery when they have seen the product.
Of Russia, Perekalsy said that every region is only 10% similar, requiring ecommerce to learn and personalise constantly to put customers close to what they want to buy in each city and region.
Discussing defensibility, Quinn talked of the need to build a “moat” of content or community around your business. In her mind, the challenge is how, with the tastes of millennials changing very easily, can you build an ecommerce brand with longevity.
Of Amazon, Perekalsy and Hodora felt it demonstrated some good ideas to follow, but for Hodora he felt the Alibaba model was closer for his region.
“It’s not about how big a dog is in a fight, it’s about how big the fight is in the dog,” Quinn said. “Amazon, in my opinion, is not your friend. You need to be the dog that has the most amount of fight in it, and think about what you have that’s really special to fight them.”
Hodora’s company is moving towards helping small family companies, while Perekalsy is focussed on making time its differentiator: “If you get a product in the right way in the right time, you will buy again”.