Takeaways from Catalyst Conference: by Citi Group

7 Apr

Last week was our annual conference at Pinehurst, NC.  If you are a golfer, you know all about Pinehurst and its infamous turtleback greens…well I didn’t play #2 this year, but I did play the newly renovated #1 and maybe the best course, #4. Just don’t ask me how I shot (the answer is often and poorly).

A number of industry analysts attended (as always) so I thought I would share their takeaways about the state of E-Comm in general:

 Another well attended ChannelAdvisor conference – Trends remain surprisingly positive – Last week we attended the ChannelAdvisor (CA) Catalyst Conference 2008 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Per the company, attendance was up over 50% to roughly 500 people, with participation from companies like Amazon, eBay, Google, Overstock, Facebook, Buy.com and many large, medium and small retailer clients.

  • Takeaway #1: ChannelAdvisor clients not yet seeing macro-economic slowdown — Biggest surprise to us was the general consensus among the retailers we spoke with that they were not seeing much impact from macro-economic headwinds (…yet?). Consumer spending remains strong in many categories and sellers were confident that their multi-channel strategies can continue to fuel growth.
  • Takeaway #2: eBay appeared confident that changes are working despite vocal seller pushback — eBay is determined to make the changes necessary to reaccelerate Core Marketplaces. Representatives from the company sounded resolved on eBay’s commitment to improving buyer experience and seller transparency. Per the company, the desired impact from fee changes, “best match”, and detailed seller ratings (DSRs) appears to be working.
  • Takeaway #3: Amazon strengthening its 3rd party offering — Upbeat presentation by AMZN focused on 3rd party seller opportunities was well received. AMZN provided an overview and demonstrations of the company’s services, highlighting how the program is 1) driving increased selection, 2) improving customer experience, 3) increasing traffic and 4) lower prices.
  • Takeaway #4: Strength of Google position continues to widen lead over competition — While we didn’t hear anything incrementally new from the Google presentation, consensus among sellers we spoke with who had added search marketing was very positive on both traffic and ROI trends.
  • Bottom Line – Conference was incrementally more positive on eCommerce/Search trends than expected.
  • Link to our full note:  https://www.citigroupgeo.com/pdf/SNA17593.pdf
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