Insightful Snippets from Shoptalk, the NextGen Commerce Event


Webb Knudsen

Sr. Manager,

Strategic Partnership

I recently attended the Shoptalk conference in Las Vegas to learn more about what the commerce world thinks about app marketing and meet the big players in that space. I made great connections with companies taking innovative, mobile-first approaches - larger brands and startups alike. I will first discuss three key learnings, then share some insightful snippets. Lastly, I will talk a bit about what Aarki is doing to help companies like these achieve success in their app marketing efforts.


It's a Mobile World

As options proliferate and mobile payment technology advances, purchasing on your phone has never been easier. We have long thought of phones as being the primary tool for information gathering, but people are no longer just using their phones for research. Nick Huzar, CEO of OfferUp (a local buy and sell marketplace), said that about 95% of their purchases happen on mobile. Gone are the days when people first browsed their phones then made purchases on desktop. Mobile is now an end-to-end solution for retailers and ecommerce companies.

Since we rely on our phones for information that directly impacts our purchase decisions, it makes sense that mobile is quickly becoming the primary channel for not just the path to purchase but the purchase itself. Additionally, many of these purchases are occurring within apps at a growing rate as app usage continues to far surpass desktop and mobile browser growth. Advancement in express checkout technology has helped facilitate easier purchasing and consumers are quickly becoming comfortable with and preferring these systems as they significantly streamline the purchase process.

Mom’s the Word

Moms seemed to be everyone’s target market at the conference. I wish I had kept a tally of how many people said “moms” without a moment’s hesitation when asked where they focus their marketing efforts. And it makes sense considering women account for roughly 85% of all consumer purchases and moms, in particular, command an annual buying power of about $2.1 trillion. Emilie Arel Scott, CEO of Quidsi (an Amazon company), spoke about how they are “very focused on figuring out the purchase behavior and patterns for moms.” One of those behaviors is that moms have been some of the quickest adopters of mobile shopping, seeing consistent and significant year-over-year growth in their mobile shopping habits. This has resulted in a huge opportunity for retailers and ecommerce companies to reach this group and influence their decisions at the right moments.

Mobile marketing technology allows advertisers to target behavior using mobile data, which is a must for moms who are always on the go and constantly on their phones. eMarketer reports that 64% of moms use their smartphones to compare prices, 60% use them for comparing product features, 59% use them to find coupons, and 52% use them to get product and brand recommendations - noting that these numbers have doubled since 2011. The study concludes, “U.S. mothers are at peak mobile usage for shopping and the time is now for retailers to reach them.”

Good Design is Good for Business on Mobile

David Yeom, CEO of Hollar (a gifting marketplace), talked about how the visual merchandising of products on the app is hugely important in influencing the purchase behavior of their customers. When a customer enjoys spending time in your app or on your mobile site thanks to a simple and clean interface, they will spend more time with your brand and grow to trust your brand more. Andy Nielsen, CEO of Everything But The House (an estate sale online marketplace), added to this point explaining that they make the shopping experience “beautiful” by showing all of their products on white backgrounds.

Josh Himwich, VP/GM of the XO Group (owner of The Knot and The Bump), talked about how they fundamentally approach the design of their app differently from the desktop to take advantage of the unique attributes of mobile devices. Practices to accomplish this include: understanding which actions overwhelmingly occur more on mobile, enlarging and simplifying user interface elements to prevent accidental clicks, and allowing for quick ways to share content as sharing occurs more frequently on mobile. Basically, the mobile experience should be simpler than desktop without actually limiting the selection. Mobile sites and apps may cut back slightly on functionality from the desktop experience, but only once a clear understanding of the most common actions taken on mobile are established.

Food for Thought

Below are some speaker insights I found particularly thought provoking. They may not clearly fit into one of the above themes, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t share them here since since they had such a profound impact on me that I tried to jot them down word-for-word (or as close to it as I could get).

Speaking on a panel about how recommerce startups drive sales, Tracy DiNunzio, CEO of Tradesy (an online marketplace for fashion) said, “Eventually all women who shop online will sell online.” and later went onto describe the notion of a ‘high velocity closet’ - new items constantly moving in and out, and she made the bold statement that this “high velocity closet will make low quality fashion disappear over time.”

On that same panel, the CEO of thredUP James Reinhart talked about how he doesn’t see their business being at odds with luxury retailers like Gucci and Fendi, because “buying a used Fendi bag is a gateway drug to buying a new Fendi bag.” He went on to explain that they help cultivate shoppers’ brand affinity for these high-end products.

Scott Thompson, CEO of ShopRunner (which provides free 2-day shipping for retailers) explained that, “Customers appreciate having options and being in control of their delivery - shorter time frames means greater customer loyalty.” The greater control and transparency shoppers feel throughout the whole shopping experience, the more likely they are to trust your company, and make repeat purchases.

How Does Aarki Fit into This Space?

Aarki takes a unique approach to app marketing, combining programmatic media buying with creative optimization to deliver better, more engaged users to companies like those that spoke at Shoptalk. Advertisers used to ask, ‘how many installs can you get me and what’s the cost per install?’ But the smart companies have started to realize that an install is worthless if certain post-install activity doesn’t occur.

Our technology utilizes advanced Bayesian algorithims and machine learning technology designed to optimize for the events that really matter - registrations, listings, purchases, etc. We are a group of creative junkies, tech nerds, and relationship builders determined to help people get the most out of the money they pour into their apps by getting the right users.

To learn more about these snippets or how Aarki can help you with your app marketing, please reach out to us at


Topics: Events, Company News