My final Clear Digital blog of 2020 rounds up in one place all the deep dives and Digital Digest summaries that I’ve written over the last 6 months…
THE UK MARKETPLACE SECTOR - AND THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY
Marketplace sites are responsible for a third of the UK ecommerce sector with sales of £26.2bn in 2019. As well as Amazon and eBay, community-driven marketplaces are also experiencing significant growth. Exploring the dynamics of the UK marketplace sector, this article examines the winners and what we can learn from them.
DISCOGS - THE DIGITAL SUCCESS STORY OF THE VINYL REVIVAL
The specialist marketplace Discogs is a digital brand with a difference; it’s thriving in the hugely competitive music sector, by catering to a niche but dedicated sector of record collectors.
This article reviews the current music market, delves deeper into the second hand vinyl market and then examines Discogs and its recent success.
THE GROWTH OF DIRECT TO CONSUMER, SHOPIFY - AND DEVELOPING MULTIPLE CHANNELS
This article explores the size and dynamics of the UK DTC sector, as well as examining Shopify (and similar ecommerce solutions) in order to understand more about DTC winners and their growth drivers, including expanding onto other channels.
Clear Digital Digests
20th November 2020: Here Comes A Very Different Christmas
30th October 2020: Ad spend, Black Friday, TikTok, Royal Mail and Woolworths
6th October 2020: Bagel cities, online grocery, Instagram is 10 and a chocolate orange hotel
18th September 2020: Subscription coffee, Amazon ads, retail sales update and cricket data
4th September 2020: Ocado, eBay, Discogs, Netflix and authorised handball
21st August 2020: 5 big shifts, retail round-up and retro gaming
11th August 2020: Turn on, tune in and check out
3rd August 2020: Argos catalogue RIP, retail tie-ups, Q2 updates and soccer supervillains
17th July 2020: MP3, marketing spend and movies sur l'eau
10th July 2020: Online habits, haircuts and robot fans
3rd July 2020: Brands, baskets and bears
Hi and welcome back to the Clear Digital blog, my newly reborn space to talk, discuss, review and speculate about the worlds of digital, ecommerce, marketing and media. Clear Digital was originally set up in late 2015 as an interim project before I then re-entered the world of permanent work in June 2016, as Head of Ecommerce at Wyevale Garden Centres. The blog has lain dormant since then, but having left Wyevale last year due to its break up and sell-off by its private equity owners, I’ve now decided to bring back Clear Digital.
As before, I’ll be focusing in particular on my main personal areas of interest in the digital world, filtered through the lens of my 15 years working in the industry with brands such as Argos, Bupa and Wyevale. Of course, one significant change from four years ago is the tumultuous times we are living through in 2020, so this will obviously have some impact on what I cover. Generally, these will be the main themes explored by Clear Digital:
To kick things off, I’ve just published two pieces of related research looking at the UK marketplace sector. Covid19 has led to steep recent online sales growth, and marketplaces (including the twin headed Amazon/eBay beast) have also benefitted from this significant change in customer behaviour. However, this hasn’t been just due to the forced closure of many traditional shops, but also because a growing number of marketplaces offer a real sense of community, usefulness and fun – with a personal favourite of mine being Discogs, the record collector hub and marketplace.
Therefore, I’ve taken a look at the UK marketplace sector as a whole, as well as a deeper dive on Discogs and the UK music sector, including the significant size of the under-reported used records market…
The UK marketplace sector – and the role of community
The UK marketplace sector is responsible for a third of all ecommerce sales - and 2020's unfortunate events have seen a large rise in sales and sellers. This blog examines the sector's size, dynamics and the increasing success of community-driven marketplaces.
Discogs – the digital success story of the vinyl revival
Discogs is a digital brand with a difference; it’s thriving in the hugely competitive music sector, by catering to a niche but dedicated sector of music enthusiasts and record collectors. This blog reviews the current music market as a whole, delves deeper into the second hand vinyl market and then examines Discogs’ offering and recent success.
All future posts will be shared via the @clrdigital Twitter feed, as well as my personal LinkedIn account, so please follow to get all the latest updates too…
CLEAR DIGITAL CONSULTING
Another reason for re-establishing the Clear Digital blog is more pragmatic; I’m also currently personally available for new assignments, having started searching for fresh opportunities at the worst such time in living memory. Therefore, as well as being open for permanent roles, I can assist on an interim and consulting basis, utilising my past experience but also a wider network of contacts out there if necessary, specialising in a wide range of ecommerce, digital and marketing disciplines. My Consulting section has more details on how I can help, particularly in these areas:
WELCOME TO CLEAR DIGITAL
Hi and welcome to the Clear Digital blog, my freshly minted space to talk, discuss, review and speculate about the worlds of digital marketing, ecommerce and media. Now that’s a fairly well populated field of course, with a wealth of great information, blogs and publications already out there. Therefore, I’ll be focusing on a few key areas based on my personal main areas of interest plus my past experience of over 10 years working in and living the digital space, during which time my experiences have included heading up a large multi-channel retailer’s digital marketing team, evangelising and educating about new digital channels for a global health and insurance brand and most recently running a company transitioning from being a traditional retailer into a pure ecommerce brand. This means you can expect to see the following sorts of themes covered (well, this is the plan for now at least!):
I’ll also be curating regular digests of recent great articles, videos, blogs and other content from around the web. Why not follow our new Twitter feed @clrdigital too to ensure you’re up to date with all our latest updates, plus other great news from around the industry, as well as letting us know what you think. Of course, I’d love to hear comments and thoughts below too...
So far so good, but what else? Well, one observation is that a lot of great insight out there can get lost through a haze of PR puff plus the perceived need to be first with latest opinions on everything all the time, a trend creeping into all media. Clear Digital plans to provide a more considered, curated read following a “less is more” approach (think a considered Sunday supplement rather than Mail Online), but not to say that there won’t be timely thoughts on key fast moving trends.
One more point to make is that I’ll be looking at everything from the perspective of a practitioner who’s been there and done it – whether that’s launching new channels, setting out next year’s budgets and strategy, developing new functionality, websites or apps, building internal teams, selecting new partners, planning Christmas trading or just getting ready for a weekend’s hectic selling. “So what and what does this mean?” is the mantra to try to ensure everything we discuss is clear and to the point, along with the need to always always think customer first, not technology first, which can be so tempting with so many new and shiny exciting “toys” to play with.
Finally, I will also be mixing up the purer ecommerce/marketing articles with more around my passions and interest for the changing world of media and how people consume it. My interest in this dates all the way back to my University days where my Marketing degree dissertation was entitled “Selling music in the 1990's: the niche of the independent retailer” – and I’ll be alluding this to in my first main blog post which I’m also publishing today: “The Record Shop Renaissance: Customers, Coffee and Changing Trends”
(For a related good read, I can also heartily recommend this Pitchfork article on “What your music format says about you”).
CLEAR DIGITAL CONSULTING
Related to this is the opportunity to also directly help with making things happen and give additional unbiased views, advice and support. To this end, I can also often help on a freelance and consulting basis, helping to utilise my past experience but also a wider network of contacts out there, specialising in a wide range of ecommerce and digital marketing disciplines. You can find out more by visiting my Consulting section, and I’d love to hear from you and catch up over a coffee for a quick chat to see if there’s anything we can help you with or even just share and exchange some thoughts.
GET IN TOUCH
So, that’s all for this for intro blog, but I would love to hear any thoughts on this or “The Record Shop Renaissance” so please get in touch via the usual channels, whether that’s comments below, on Twitter via @clrdigital, email firstname.lastname@example.org or connect on LinkedIn.
Lead blogger and founder of Clear Digital: talking about ecommerce, digital, marketing and media.