Alex Levashov

Director, Magenable
eCommerce consultant, MBA
  • Posted on: 07/15/2021

    What does it take to successfully rent customers on social commerce platforms?

    Brands may own only the channels rather than customers. Social Media is clearly not an owned channel, but it isn't new. The situation is not dissimilar with renting retail space at a shopping mall: you try to plug your brand in some place that provides you with flows of prospects in the hope to convert them to customers. Then you may make them repeat customers and at some extent loyal to your brand. If you managed to do it, at some point they may visit a mall just because you have a store there rather than other way around. The last part is different in the ecommerce world, as a brand you usually don't want your loyal customers to buy though say Instagram again, you would prefer them to purchase from your store directly (higher margin). So the challenge of retainers using rented social commerce is to convert that rented customers to those who will shop directly. How to do it depends on the platform. In a very restrictive case you at least can include incentives to shop directly in your shipment.
  • Posted on: 03/03/2021

    Will a third-party marketplace step up and give Amazon a run for its money?

    IMO, new marketplaces that challenge AMZ will not come from retailers, because AMZ is a retailer too and compete with their vendors. AMZ has issues with sellers' trust (because they care more about consumers), so true challengers should have a more balanced approach and be just a platform, which is not the case for a marketplace that is run by a retailer. Retailer marketplaces arw more likely to be niche ventures.
  • Posted on: 02/20/2020

    Consumers hate paying for shipping more than just about anything

    What is important here is to understand the sample of this survey -- RetailMeNot is a discount coupon website, so their audience is bargain hunters, price sensitive consumers. Other thing is that having "free shipping" hidden in the product price makes it easier for consumers to compare their options, no need to do extra steps of adding products to cart to see total cost. What should retailers do? IMO the best approach is to experiment and try different options to see what works the best in your particular case.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2019

    Is e-grocery less convenient than shopping in stores?

    I am not sure that at the end of the day, shopping online for grocery brings time saving. The problem is that as many experts mentioned it may work well for long-shelf, regular and semi-automatic purchases, but it's almost impossible to replicate for fresh food products, where most customers prefer close inspection of what they buying. You need to actually touch fruits and vegetables, and have a very close look the meat and fish you are buying. So we have:
    1. Staples shopping. Can be done online and offline
    2. Fresh food shopping. B&M only
    If you shop in brick and mortar you may combine 1 and 2, hence saving time, so it is more convenient for consumers.
  • Posted on: 02/27/2019

    Walmart says ‘goodbye’ to greeters and ‘hello’ to controversy

    Not sure is it a good move, looks like short-term savings, damaging the brand. If you want just the lowest prices vs decent quality, you can go to Aldi.
  • Posted on: 02/11/2019

    Will AR change how people buy products from eyeglasses to wedding rings?

    I think definitely AR may help to improve the online shopping experience for many product categories. What is interesting, however, is how many customers will find that AR experience is better from a Real Reality (RR) experience and will send the product back. It is too tempting for retailers to make AR better than RR.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2018

    Do retailers need more social media?

    It may be an unpopular view, but I think that social media isn't the best channel for all and every retailer. There are cases when other channels may provide you better ROI. Also, I think it is important to distinguish between using social media as another digital advertising channel and try to be "social." The latter is even harder and relevant for even less share of retailers. Not sure about everyone, but I as a consumer am not really interested to "have a conversation" and "engage" with probably ~90% of brands that I respect and purchase.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2018

    Is product discovery now the biggest pain point for mobile buys?

    Lot of good points already posted there; I'll add my 5 cents. Product discovery is very different from category to category. Compare for example buying a movie ticket, a dress, a laptop and a detergent. They have rather different patterns. In some cases the discovery barely exists (a detergent) in others it may be pretty long and involved (a laptop or expensive dress for special occasion). It's also more rational and based on logic (a laptop) and emotional/visual (a dress). I think that there is a possibility to involve AI in the process, but it is extremely hard -- if possible at all -- to make a kind of universal AI that helps you to discover everything from laptops to designer shoes.
  • Posted on: 02/21/2018

    Unilever warns social platforms to clean up content

    Even if it is a true intention, not a lip service, I am not sure that there is any practical way to achieve the desired outcome in current environment with automated matching of content and ads. It is not only social networks, the same issue is with ads on blogs, media and content websites. Any piece of content can be considered offensive, dividing, controversial or not quite matching a specific brand values. Then in addition to core content you have comments, links to related content, other ads. So I think that there will be a game of threats and promises, but not many real changes.
  • Posted on: 01/19/2018

    Incentives drive web survey responses

    Survey fatigue is pretty real. It is boring, especially filling long forms on mobile and/or inconvenient when you get a phone call out of the blue. As a consumer, I should either have very positive or negative attitude to the organisation sending the survey to take part in it without reward/incentive. So some sort of reward is a must for surveys that require more or less significant time if you want to have representative sample of responses, not only ones from the edges of your customer base. A possible alternative is to collect micro data based on the interaction. E.g. for online stores have one question at the end of checkout process like "What was your experience?" with thumb up or down as an answer.
  • Posted on: 11/27/2017

    Does it matter if social media is getting a bad rep?

    Social media is about having a dialogue between human beings and works for that. People are not really interested to "hear" from brands there. They tolerate it to a different extent, because social media is free to use. So in reality, it is pretty similar with old good TV, just more formats and targeting options for marketers.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2017

    Are retailers caught in a content trap?

    I think that the many if not most brands have a bigger problems with co-creation: the consumers just don't care about their products and their content, so the spokes do not talk to the hub or to each other.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2017

    Amazon undercuts rivals by adding discounts to marketplace seller prices

    When I read this it was exactly my thoughts Kiri: as a seller on a marketplace you expect to have control on prices. Amazon demonstrated that at their marketplace such control is an illusion. One more reason to double think if you want to be there for brands.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2017

    Walmart to open web mall with Lord & Taylor as an anchor

    Looks like an interesting experiment and probably not the last in this space for Walmart. They areaggressively trying to catch up with Amazon and test different methods. What will it bring to Lord & Taylor? Intuitive answer that, not that much, due to perceived low price stigma of Walmart. However there is a segment of people who don't want to overpay for basic things like pasta and ketchup, but will buy premium clothes. So I think that executed well, L&T webmall may work.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2017

    What is the online marketplace opportunity for retailers?

    The marketplace space is a good place for startup businesses to test the market, especially if they are selling new products. For bigger businesses I think that it depends and they need to do your calculation carefully. To sell or not to sell on the marketplaces depends on many factors, including pricing, margin, acquisition cost with other channels, lifetime value of customers, probability to convert marketplace customers to the retailer's customer and the chances of cannibalization -- to name the most important. Often it makes sense to sell on the marketplace only a subset of all products; those that fit into the equation.
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