Ahead of Savant eCommerce Berlin, we had the pleasure of talking with Daniela Engel, General Manager UK & DACH of Wish, the San Francisco headquartered marketplace that’s changing the rules of shopping by adding gamification and a social media approach to retail.
Here’s what we talked about!
How can marketplaces and retailers keep up with the standards set by giants like Amazon?
Actually, at Wish we don’t really look at how we can keep up with someone else and our competitors: our focus is on the customers and on providing the best product for them. As our CEO mentioned in a couple of TED talks, Wish started off to serve the customers that were underserved by the current eCommerce players and our main goal is to fill that gap.
Since we started, Wish developed and changed a lot, but the bottomline has always been providing the best possible product and product experience to our customer base, hence we are constantly testing, reinventing and improving to make the experience even better. There are of course certain standards being set, but who’s really defining them? Maybe the search and filtering for instance, considered by many a standard in eCommerce, it’s not something that customer necessarily want! Our focus is on m-commerce through app, so we think that providing a more social media like experience, where you are browsing products that are proposed to you and you get to discover new products can be more interesting for customers. Having an engaging experience and including gamification elements in the app are core aspects for us to make the shopping experience fun. We don’t want to do what other people are doing: we want to bridge the classical ecommerce with what people are used to on social media platforms.
Wish indeed started with the idea of serving middle class customers who don’t live in big cities, what’s the corresponding in Europe?
I would say that it doesn’t differ that much: at the end of the day the main trait of our customer base is being value conscious and being able to choose from a huge pool of products. Our customers value a good price, are less sensitive to delivery times and being mobile first, they are mobile savy, which translates in talking to a younger audience with a lower purchasing power. We are able to offer low prices because we connect customers directly with the merchants worldwide, cutting out all the steps in between. Having more than 1 million merchants and 182 million products listed on the platform also helps! The price is set by merchants, so we see ourselves as a platform to connect merchants and customers, hence the prices can be lower. To be fair, there’s no major difference in terms of consumer behaviour across different European countries. As I mentioned, the focus is on a mobile first, young audience who value good price, who want to interact and shop in a fun way, so it’s quite a homogeneous audience with no big differences from one country to the other.
Just recently I read a review from one of our customers based in Germany, and when asked about the perception he has about wish, his answer was “At wish as an adult, I feel like a child in the toy department of a department store” and think this insight really embodies the feeling we want our customers to feel.
Delivery times can range from 2 to 4 weeks on Wish, how come your customers are more “patient” than customers of other platforms?
Well there are several answers to this. First of all, our mission is to provide the best price to every customer worldwide, and to do so our customers are willing to wait a little longer. On the other hand, if someone wants to receive a product quicker, we offer express delivery and we’re constantly improving delivery time while keeping the same competitive price for our value conscious customers. Then this is not always the case, indeed we offer also express delivery options for the most time sensitive customers!
Wish is one of the biggest advertisers on Facebook, how do you handle this volume of promotions?
In Wish everything is pretty much automated, as you can see from the amount of people working at Wish compared to the volume of business we generate. Everything is streamlined, automated and engineered, and so is our marketing! We optimise continuously whatever we are doing, be it product development, new features and also advertisement: so if we have certain products that are attention grabbing and converting well, then these products will have more visibility. Everything goes through several iterations with the goal of optimising conversion rates and bringing valuable traffic to Wish.
Why should brands and merchants should see marketplaces as a means for international expansion?
Marketplaces for merchants can give a huge support in terms of reach and visibility. If you think about Wish for example, we are present in every continent in the world and almost every country. Being on a platform like this of course gives merchants the opportunity to potentially sell in every corner of the world. Being fully focussed on mobile commerce, which is growing almost 3x compared to desktop eCommerce, partnering up with a marketplace that can provide a seamless mobile experience like we do, merchants and brands can benefit from this too and make the best out of this channel as well.
Thirdly, the target groups are a great fit too, giving the opportunity to merchants to reach audiences that they wouldn’t probably be able to reach without selling on a marketplace.
If you would like to learn more about marketplaces and how they can help you to expand internationally, don’t miss Savant eCommerce Berlin 2020, on the 28th-29th January at Kalkscheune! Secure your tickets here.