Day One On the Ground of Online Retailer

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By Published On: July 25, 20180 Comments

Kicking off on Wednesday morning, our team on the ground have some key insights from this year's Online Retailer conference, including talks from Ruslan Kogan and Netflix's, Mitch Lowe.

Online Retailer, now in its tenth year has kicked off in Sydney, with key opening speakers including the likes of Ruslan Kogan, the founder and CEO of, as well as Netflix’s co-founder, all the way from the states, Mitch Lowe.

Opening up discussions at Wednesday morning’s tenth annual Online Retailer conference was Kogan, who offered his thoughts on customer experience and omnichannel shopping. As a disruptive online retailer, Kogan discussed his businesses approach to the complete online retail journey for consumers, and how important it is to ensure brands are targetting their efforts towards their specific audience and their wants and needs.

“Customer experience is the most important thing across my organisation; everything needs to be focused on the customer,” he told a room full of session attendees.

“There is a lot of ambiguity in this space, which can mean different things in different businesses. For instance, people love free shipping. But, we all know for a fact that free shipping doesn’t exist. We might say ‘let’s just make it customer-centric, let’s just make it free… but no.”

The founder and CEO of, Ruslan Kogan.

When it comes down to it, Kogan believes that focussing on your customer is what will get you the biggest returns.

“You need to evaluate it for your own business. Look at brands like Aldi, they were recently voted the most trustworthy brand in Australia… they make you pack your own bags. Ask yourself, what’s more important, the price or having someone pack your bags for you?”

Lowe also offered some interesting insights on identifying consumer pain points, and providing a commercial solution for everyday issues, while referencing Netflix’s business model and evolution.

Netflix co-founder

The co-founder of Netflix, Mitch Lowe.

Some of the best tidbits from his talk include the demise of Blockbuster, as the company sat still, while Netflix built up a large consumer base offering new and exciting solutions for at-home entertainment.

One of the key points Lowe mentioned, was that Netflix staff don’t get access to the streaming platform for free. This is because staff need to be actively using the product, and experiencing what it’s like for the consumer, to truly understand what sort of improvements and services are needed to continue meeting the needs of the platform’s customers. Kogan also discussed a similar principle, where he said he shops from his own marketplace regularly, so he can see first-hand how the products are packaged, how long each package takes to arrive, and so forth, to help him anticipate his customers’ needs.

Interestingly enough, Netflix sought an investment from Blockbuster back in 2002, in an attempt to not only leverage the video entertainment store’s industry knowledge and consumer base, but also to help give Blockbuster the technology it needed to progress in an increasingly tech-savvy and digital world.

“We invited their executives into our offices…we said, you know, we’ll sell you half of the company for $50 million and they didn’t laugh out loud, but you could see this kind of smirk on their face. They left, and they sent us a letter shortly after saying, hey, you know, we know more about this business than you do, if it’s such a great idea, we’ll do it ourselves,” he said.

“Which they did, a few years later, which was, of course, a few years too late, and again, not focused on what the customer wanted. They had these theories, and they figured it out from their offices but not using the product.

“Today, Netflix is worth $150 billion and I think, you know, they could have all retired after that.”

This is just a snippet of the key discussion points from the first morning of Online Retailer, with more exciting insights to come over the next day, as well as more details surrounding each speaker’s insights.

Stay tuned for more information!

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