Catalyst UK Wrap-up…

April 23, 2007

What do Amazon, Google, eBay, Yahoo!, MSN, PriceRunner,, Kelkoo, PayPal and Cybersource all have in common?

Last week this all-star line up presented at our Catalyst UK event in downtown London.  The event was sold out with over 150 attendees representing customers, partners and prospects.  As evidence of the room we have to grow in the UK, the potential customers outnumbered the existing customers!

It was great to meet with so many of the UK’s top sellers and learn about what’s working for them, where their challenges are, etc.  One overall theme I came away with is that the UK sellers have the benefit of seeing what eBay is doing in the more mature US+DE markets and thus they are able to make strategic decisions before they become a challenge to their business.  For example, more of our UK customers (by percentage) appear to be actively working on paid-search campaigns and learning about channels like Comparison Shopping Engines than in the US/DE.  The demo sessions on SearchAdvisor and ShoppingAdvisor were very full and the level of questions was more advanced than we typically see from internet retailers with eBay origins.

Another interesting point was the level of excitement around Google Checkout.  The sellers really ‘got’ how GC can boost your web business by increasing CTR while reducing payment processing.  I suspect we’ll have 80-100% GC adoption in the UK by end of Q.

James Scott who runs marketplaces in the UK had some interesting stats about the market:

  • The UK is at > 50% broadband adoption due to landgrabs from their cable/phone/dish companies.
  • In 2006, UK consumers spent over £30bn online. That’s up from £19.5bn from 2005 and puts UK online spending at between 45 and 50% of the US. Which is pretty incredible when you stop and think about it. 45% of the US online spend with only 20% of the population count.
  • Royal Mail can get most packages to anywhere in the country next day which means shipping times are on average a lot quicker than US. Customers who are happy to wait 24 hours for delivery are making the purchase online.
  • UK consumers are spending more online each year, per capita than their US colleagues and the total amount spent online is increasing more rapidly than in the US.
  • Nearly 75% of buyers visit two or more venues online before making their purchase decision. So, for example, one might visit a shopping comparison site, like Kelkoo, and a marketplace like eBay before making a purchase decision. (Scot note: Thus it’s important that your products are on ALL channels – this is a zero sum game.)
  • Even more interestingly, 50% of buyers visit three or more venues.

I presented on the state of global ecommerce and gave a brief ChannelAdvisor update.  My slides are available for download here. Download Catalyst_UK_SW_Keynote.pdf

Congrats to the CA UK team for an excellent event and kudos for all your hard work making it happen. Finally, thanks to our platinum sponsor Google and gold sponsor Cybersource.