Day 2 at the BIA/Kelsey ILM Conference
December 6, 2012 | Contributed by: Stephanie Hobbs
After a “musical” networking event Tuesday night that kept everyone entertained, Day 2 of the BIA/Kelsey ILM Conference kicked off yesterday with several strong presentations, including an interview with Google’s Todd Rowe and a keynote by CityGrid’s Jason Finger.
My favorite panel, “Search for It! Local Online Retail Innovation,” featured a great group including comScore’s Matt Archer, Where2GetIt’s Manish Patel and Kenshoo Local’s Paul Wicker. In just a half hour, the group discussed key insights into this year’s holiday shopping figures and product listing ads (PLAs).
To provide some context on where things stand in the online shopping space these days, here are some quick facts:
- The 2012 shopping season is off to a great start, up online sales up nearly 17% year-over-year.
- PCs still leading the way for online shopping, according to Archer.
- Cyber Monday sales have leapfrogged from $484 million in 2005 to $1.4 billion this year!
- Research shows that sales via mobile and tablets are gaining quickly, with tablets dominating the evening hours, as shoppers use them from the couch or in bed while watching TV.
- Mobile apps dominate access for most of the leading pure-play online retailers, with Amazon and eBay topping the list.
Wicker, who in a past life worked as a YP sales rep, described how his time in the job led him to love working with SMBs. He said he wants to help SMBs better understand the value of PLAs. Wicker talked about how Kenshoo Local has developed an algorithm to help SMBs increase the impact of their PLAs, noting that beta tests so far have showed positive metrics in terms of cost per call and ad effectiveness.
Patel said the solution for SMB advertisers is to embrace the online ecosystem by claiming their locations and verifying the consistency and accuracy of their data. He said no matter the size of one’s local business or number of locations, each one should have its own website to ensure accurate local content and optimized search results.
The panel closed with an interesting discussion of the ways to attract service companies to employ their own version of PLAs – or in this case SLAs: service listing ads. While all agreed that strong e-commerce capabilities are a requirement, the group felt that SMBs have a long way to go in that area.
The panel did a great job of leaving the audience wanting more, and several folks lined up to chat with the panelists at the session’s conclusion.