Amazingly charismatic Kelly Slessor brought us on a fun path to an actual virtual shopping center. Shopping online is one thing, but having an entire mall at your fingertips… that’s a totally different level.

It sounds awesome for customers, let alone the retailers themselves. 

This episode was indeed a cool, joyful and informative one and we can’t wait to share it with you.

Let’s get started!

Who is Kelly Slessor?

Kelly Slessor is the founder and CEO of Shop You, a personalized virtual shopping mall, and has driven digital growth and innovation in retail for over 20 years. She has worked with hundreds of retailers and property groups globally to develop their digital strategies and drive higher conversions through connection.

Issues retailers find when going online

I think one of the issues they have is firstly understanding where to invest their money.

A lot of them historically have overpaid for digital implementations. For websites, I know retailers have spent a hundred grand on a website and it’s no better than the retailer down the road that’s spent three grand on their website. You know, the experience isn’t better, they’re not converting higher, the cost per acquisition isn’t lower.

So they invest all that money and then wonder why they don’t come, why the customers don’t come. I think that’s the first thing.

The second thing is they don’t invest enough time in their Google presence.

For me, Google’s the shopfront for them. If you had a physical store and the windows were broken, there was no signage in the window, the merchandising was all kind of slapdash all over the place, the shelves were falling down – no one would come into your store. 

But yet we do that every day with our Google presence! Retailers don’t look at their Google presence. They spend on average two hours a week looking at their front store and redesigning it, putting signage up, cleaning it up, making it look pretty because people are walking by

The reality is, people aren’t walking by at the moment. So what they’re doing is they’re searching on Google and you’ve got these windows broken and you’ve got bad imagery and you’ve got your call-to-actions 10 years out of date. And there’s just no kind of impetus, there’s nothing drawing the customer into your store. So that’s the first problem I see.

The second problem I see is they pay a lot of SEO agencies a lot of money to do a lot of nothing. That’s a massive problem in the industry that we need to really resolve. I think that’s because they’re not educated on what SEO is.

One of the things I do on the courses I run is I really look at and try and educate people on the importance of SEO and how they do it. Not that they need to do it themselves, because if they’re retailers and they go into the business because they love retail, they don’t want to be doing bloody SEO. It’s boring as batshit.

I’m sorry, SEO experts! But it’s boring if you’re not a retailer. But what they do need to do is to understand it so they can make informed decisions.

When someone comes back – and I’ve got an example of a retailer working on last week who is spending two and a half grand a month on SEO. It’s not a great deal, but for a small business, that’s a lot of money. So they’re spending two and a half grand. The keywords they came back with and said, “Look, these are the keywords that we’re ranking on.”

I looked at them and said, “Ok, but there’s no traffic to those keywords.” So your agency is doing a great job of getting you ranking to the top of Google on something that no one is searching for. But they don’t know this information, they just say that their agency is saying that they’re ranking on Google for number one and they’re like, “Hallelujah! Oh, but by the way, we’re still not making any sales.”

I think, again, one of the biggest issues I see is they don’t measure cost per acquisition.

I can’t compute that. I’m like, “You’re just going to throw money down a funnel and hope that it pays for something or you get a customer back.”

I had a conversation, a really tough conversation with a retailer the other day where they said they spent a few thousand dollars on some ads and they got something like a hundred people to their website and I said, “Hold on. Give me that few thousand, I’ll ring all my friends and get them to jump on your website because that’s how bloody stupid that is. And I don’t mean to be rude, but it just doesn’t make business sense!” Again, you would not spend money on doing your retail store up and then not track the people that are coming into your store, making sure that they’re the right people and that you’re making money off them and you’re up-selling them.

So, again, I think not measuring that customer acquisition cost and making sure what you’re doing stacks up is another massive gap I see in the market at the moment.

What is a virtual mall?

A virtual mall connects straight into the shopping center. You go into the virtual mall.

Basically, you jump onto the mall website and have an opportunity to either browse or personalize your journey. When you go into Personalize, you pick your brands, you might pick that you like health and beauty, wellness, you can go on a style journey and answer questions around that.

Once you’ve done that, you then go into your own personal shopping center and it’s filled with things that are relative to you. If you search for a red dress for a party, it knows your age, it knows what your body shape is and it knows what type of red dress you might like based on the brands that you’ve chosen. If you search for a gift, for instance, it knows. Or you might search for electronics. It will give you information based on your data.

So we built an algorithm of you, essentially, and that’s my philosophy. The algorithm needs to be based on you, not on Facebook, not on Google. It needs to be based on what your attributes are.

In the virtual shopping mall, you can then talk to a concierge and ask questions. You can connect with the personal stylist via video. You can basically put in your events. So if you’ve got a wedding coming up or you’ve got a business meeting coming up, you can put that in and then recommendations will be made on that.

So what we do is we ingest tags into the products using a variety of different technology and when you then search for a product – we use natural language search – you’re given the product that is most relevant to your algorithm, not what we’re trying to sell you.

Next week awaits with a surprise guest and host, a unique combo you will surely enjoy. Stay tuned for that!

PS: We’re expecting our sponsor VTEX to step into the picture 🙂

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