Recap: Amazon Pay Merchant Summit UK

Yesterday Amazon Pay held their inaugural UK Merchant Summit, with the goal of helping merchants reach new heights with their ecommerce business. The overcapacity event was hosted at Amazon Fashion Studios’ 46,000 square foot warehouse in Shoreditch, under a backdrop of towering psych walls and rows of eclectic designer racks painting the halls.

The one day, invite-only affair, provided attendees with a forum to hear from top merchants and industry influencers about the latest retail trends and success stories in ecommerce, as well as a chance to work with integrations specialists to optimize their checkout experience.

Participants also heard from Amazon Pay’s executive leadership, receiving a sneak peek into unpublished Amazon commissioned research reports highlighting the latest UX design best practices and future of consumer shopping trends in the EU.

For insights on what attendees learned, read below:

Opening Remarks from Karen Pepper, Head of Amazon Pay UK

Karen set the stage for summit providing a view of the evolving retail landscape as consumers needs shift to tailed shopping experiences and on-demand services that require data-driven intelligence. She also highlighted the familiar themes of immediacy and access in a world of instant gratification — outlining how these on-demand business models are disrupting the way we all experience convenience in this current age of technological advancement.

Karen foreshadowed Alexa’s presentation at the summit, reflecting on how we are in the Voice Commerce area, providing some thoughts on where Amazon is going and how payment will be a part of that experience. “Amazon will make the experience more comfortable for more complex product selections. Ultimately, over time and as Voice First systems like Alexa become more deeply contextually aware of your shopping habits, like and dislikes, the use for a screen over the arc of ten years will diminish. We’re also making it easier for shoppers to pay by voice, as voice commerce continues to becoming a major player.”

Overall, we heard how Amazon Pay is focused on innovating in commerce identity and experiences beyond the button with trust at the center of their experience.

The Future of Ecommerce by Kat Spybey, Drapers

Kat Spybey, Head of Digital Entertainment at Drapers, provided attendees with an overview of a future consumer trends report created in collaboration with Amazon Pay, highlighting how shopping habits are evolving throughout key cities across Europe. One takeaway from the report was the varying buying habits across UK, Germany, France and Italy. Specifically in the UK, there was a lower average spend. As mobile usage continues to rise globally, the report digs into how it is growing at different rates throughout Europe, compared to desktop usage — still the dominant medium.

It is clear from the report that customers want a buying experience that has a simpler purchase journey, more connected and personalized online / offline experience and introduces augmented / virtual reality into the shopping experience. Lack of trust, preferred payment option, lengthy checkout process and additional payment fees are all called out as reasons for cart abandonment.

The report was just released online and is available for download here:

The Golden Rules of Conversion by Christian Holst, Co-Founder, Baymard Institute

Many attendees walked away from the day talking about Christian Holst’s presentation on conversion optimization — pulling from key results from a commissioned report by Amazon and UX specialists Baymard Institute. Their research provided numerous data points on how to improve the checkout experience and baseline numbers on where the industry stands as a whole.

By the numbers, the Baymard Insitute has found that cart abandonment across ecommerce sites happens for a number of reasons including; forced account creation (35%), too long/complicated checkout (27%); and lack of trust with the site storing payment information (18%).

Christian provided a few key tactics to improve site conversation including “trust marks”, or site badges, and pre-filled customer information. He also spoke of the strong preference international buyers have for using known 3rd party payment options (e.g. Amazon Pay) stating that “83% of the top 60 grossing international grossing ecommerce sites offer one or more third party payment option.”

The report is expected to publish in September.

‘Alexa, how can I grow my business?’: Harnessing Voice Skills to Grow your Business by David Low, Principal Evangelist, Amazon Alexa EU

David Low, Principal Evangelist at Alexa Skills provided us with a history lesson on technology disruptions, the rise of voice and some predictions on the future of technology. “We believe voice represents the next big disruption in technology”.

We learned more about how Alexa works and surprisingly how much people really love Alexa (i.e. 250,000 marriage proposals to Alexa). After hearing about the growing intelligence of Alexa, the growing database of over 15,000 skills, the growing connectivity between many wearables, video and wireless products, many attendees in the room started to light up. After learning that it only takes 10 minutes to create a skill with Alexa, there may be some new novice Alexa developers creating their own skills in the near future.

Whalar: How to Win in Social Influence and Engagement by James Street, Co-Founder of Whalar

James Street, Co-Founder of several ecommerce businesses (Shore Projects, Whalar, etc.), shared his story of entrepreneurism and experiences of engaging with influential content creators. Through engaging with influencers, Shore Projects was able to grow rapidly and win the Shopify ‘Build a Business’ competition and a trip to Necker island. Out of this success Whalar was born. James discussed how Whalar offers a platform for engaging with influential content creators at scale. There are over 1k ‘creators with influence’ using Whalar, which means it can offer brands greater value of content with a faster speed to market for engaging marketing content.

Curalate: Discovery Driven Commerce by Peter Berman, Senior Partner, Curalate

Peter Berman, Senior Partner at Curalate, took further into the world of social commerce and the potential value of discovery driven commerce. Providing high-level statistics on where impulse purchasing is occurring across platforms (79% in-store, 19% online, >$50 is 40% purchases), Berman outlined the opportunity for commerce during discovery and some of the areas where we can enhance discovery including; actionable images, shoppable social, shoppable video, and visual content on-site. Discovery happens online in channels optimized for content and Curalate believes content is the new storefront. They’ve found that adding “complete the look” functionality to their clients ecommerce product pages has increased average order values by 17%.

One channel for discovery Curalate is finding success, and retailers may want to pay attention, is Instagram. Using Like2Buy technology, they are making Instagram shoppable. As a key They’ve teamed up with Amazon Pay to offer a familiar checkout option to streamline the path to purchase so customers can pay for products as they discover them. Enabling commerce to stream to consumers has helped them increase conversions by over 35% on average.

Keynote Address: Jo Malone, MBE

British Perfumer, Jo Malone, gave a intimate account of her journey from starting as a local entrepreneur to creating an international brand. While many attendees won’t forget the live ‘fragrance tapas’ painting demo, many were inspired by her personal account of a retail career.

From the start of her career learning from her early mentors about the fundamentals of wearing multiple hats running a business, to finding out she had nine months to live after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, Jo demonstrated a sincere passion and drive for achieving and success by following key principles for success.

It was clear that Jo attributed much of her success to three key areas; 1) Resilience, believing in what she brought to the table. 2) Creativity, turning dyslexia into an opportunity by learning that she could find solutions that others couldn’t identify because she could thinking differently about the problem. 3) Passion, understanding early on that to find success with your product, you have to create an emotional connection and experience between your customer and your brand.

“They want you to kiss them with your brand” — Jo Malone.

Merchant Fireside Chat with All Saints, The Entertainer, Quote Me Happy, Mr. & Mrs. Smith Hotels

The panel (moderated by Karen Pepper) gave us a chance to learn from marquee Amazon Pay merchants in the UK. The Entertainer gave us insight into how they are preparing to do 80% of their annual sales in four weeks during Q4 and All Saints talked to their communications overhauled to improve the customer experience and reduce transactional questions. Quote Me Happy discussed about how they are using technology to innovate in the insurance industry and Mr. & Mrs. Smith Hotels shared the value of appealing to the Amazon customer and creating an Alexa skill to provide a better experience and continue innovating on behalf of their customers.

Closing Remarks — Patrick Gauthier, VP of Amazon Pay

Head of Amazon Pay, Patrick Gauthier, wrapped up the summit by offering his vision for how Amazon Pay is thinking about the customer, the landscape of payments, and the future of the customer experience.

“Everything at Amazon starts with the customer and moves backwards. It may sound cliché, but we think about their experience at Amazon Pay every day.”

Gauthier offered some anecdotes about where payments reside now…

“Check-in is the new checkout”

…and the future of payments…

“Retail is being digitized…because we are all connected. In a connected world, this is a fantastic way to create connected experiences. This century the problem is about continuity in the shopping experience — in the most natural way possible…You will see us starting to move beyond the checkout. We are going to extend all the way to demand generation.”

Learn more about Amazon Pay here.

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