Jan Laštůvka (MonkeyData): “The main difference between the US, Europe and Asia is mostly in the source of data”

interview monkeydata ecommerce

E-commerce companies can really make a difference nowadays if they use their data efficiently. But there’s data everywhere and it takes some time and effort to analyze all this. However, there are tools that are out there to help you understand your data and make sense of what it means for your e-commerce. 

Czech SaaS start-up, MonkeyData, analyses data from various sources and shows the results at one place in an organized dashboard. We had the opportunity to interview them about data, e-commerce software, and differences between European companies for e-commerce cross-border strategy.

We had the opportunity to interview them last week in terms of:

  • Data and how to implement it into your e-commerce strategy
  • E-Commerce software solutions and how to optimize your business
  • The most important metrics to follow and integrate into your strategy
  • How tools vary between countries and cultures- and what to do to tap into those other tools
  • What to expect from the rise of mobile commerce in various countries and markets

Here are some insights gained from the experience of Jan Laštůvka, CEO at MonkeyData:

What are the most important metrics e-commerce companies should be aware of?

When you are an online store owner, you should pay attention to metrics that are directly connected to profits and are easily accessible, either from your store or from other tools. One of the most useful metrics is the cost per conversion.

Many online stores use individual paid channels i.e. PPC or price comparison apps, which run based on the cost per conversion principle. These stores often use it under the pressure of competitiveness and forget about the efficiency of these campaigns versus revenue. Because of this the total cost per conversion relative to revenue increases and merchants lose margins on their products.

Another great metric is new vs. returning customers. A very low proportion of returning customers indicates that most of your customers chose not to make another purchase from your online store after the first one, and you should find out why. Check whether you have prices comparable with your competition, whether the delivery time takes too long, etc.”

You are very active in the global events sphere. Last year you went to e-commerce events in the Czech Republic, Ireland, Poland, the United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, China and Slovakia. What are the differences between these events/countries? What insight do you have for approaching potential customers differently?

“The main difference between the US, Europe and Asia is mostly in the source of data. Every country has its own local tools, customers behave differently, the form and channel of purchase differ. Another interesting point is that nowadays more than 50 per cent of customers in Asia do their shopping through mobile devices.”

Is there something MonkeyData has learned from these customers that was an eye-opener for you?

Travelling and getting to know local places showed us how people think and shop differently across continents, which affected formation of the app with respect to inputs and outputs. For example, m-commerce is strongly represented in Asia. And in Poland, people mostly buy things at online marketplaces.

This is in contrast to the Czech Republic where people prefer to shop directly from an online store. Based on these experiences we adjusted our metrics and sources.”

What is your opinion on the e-commerce industry in Europe, for example, the pros and cons? What advice do you have for e-commerce cross-border strategy?

Europe is a very miscellaneous marketplace, where it’s possible to find highly developed e-commerce markets with well-established logistics, online payments, mobile purchases and an advanced form of marketing communication.

Every country sets its own pace. For example, in Western Europe, the mobile solution is improving and vastly increasing its market share, while in Eastern Europe they work hard on improving logistics. Southern Europe is on the enormous uptrend regarding e-commerce, with Spain in the lead. E-commerce is also progressive in Eastern Europe.”

What more can we expect from mobile commerce? And why is analyzing data from mobile users so important for online retailers?

Mobile devices have become a common part of our lives. Just as e-commerce becomes a natural channel for our shopping, mobile devices will become a natural tool for shopping as well. Currently, more than 50 per cent of consumers in Asia do the shopping through mobile devices.

In the US and Europe, this share is around 30 per cent. In one year, m-commerce has risen by more than 200 per cent in Asia, and given our expectations, m-commerce will represent 80 per cent of all e-commerce transactions by 2020 in Asia, and more than 50 per cent of e-commerce in the US and Europe. So it’s clear that it is necessary to not underestimate the channel and to work with it.

Is there some data our readers really should know?

“Based on reports from e-commerce studies for the previous year available from around the world, we can say that the mobile share has vastly increased, especially in the US and South America – in some stores it is up to 60%.

Another interesting fact is the type of payment. Customers in the US and Western Europe use quick online payments, such as payment cards and payment gateways. But the share of payment cards and gateways rapidly decreases as we go eastward, where C.O.D. (which is, for example, very popular in the Czech Republic) and paying in advance (popular in Asia) prevail.

Also, I would like to mention some interesting data about social commerce. It’s very interesting that an average of 85 per cent of all e-commerce orders from social media come from Facebook. And it is Facebook again that has the highest conversion rate (1.85%) for all social media e-commerce traffic.”

Let’s move on to the data channels you analyze. You now analyze data from Shopify, BigCommerce, Ecwid, Opencart and many more. are there any other software solutions you will analyze in the near future, and which do you think is the most important?

We also included others, such as Woocommerce, which is one of the most widespread platforms in the world today, together with ePages or Weebly. We will also analyze data from BigCartel and 3DCart.

But apart from these global platforms, we also co-operate with many local ones. We added Dutch platform Lightspeed, Polish e-commerce platform Shoper and Czech leading eCommerce platform ShopSys. Besides that, we will also offer data from payment gateways, marketplaces like Amazon and eBay and logistic companies such as DHL and UPS. And that is definitely not the end of it!”

What do you think is the feature your customers appreciate the most?

“The biggest advantage for MonkeyData customers is that they have all the data in one place. They can easily see how their metrics are doing, allowing them more time to focus on running their business. We help them grow with us. Another big advantage is the simplicity of the connection in the spirit of our plug & analyze philosophy. The whole process takes up to 3 minutes during which no further settings are required. “

So this is all very exciting, can you tell us more about MonkeyData’s future plans?

As we love moving forward and getting closer to our customers, we recently opened a new office in Berlin. This city is known as the European Silicon Valley and we are all very excited about it. Also, we plan to expand our offices to the USA and open a branch there soon.  

It was great to be able to sit down and speak with Jan about MonkeyData and what they’re able to provide to their customers. If you’re looking for intuitive metrics and friendly support, MonkeyData is the way to go for you.

Finally, could you also explain the name to us? Why Monkey data?

“The name was created during one of our brainstorming beer sessions. We wanted to have the word “data” in the title so that it would be clear what field we are focused on, but we also wanted to demonstrate that we do the analytics in a fun and interactive way. When people heard the word “monkey”, most of us showed a smile. We liked it and so the name MonkeyData was born.”

Understanding data becomes even more of a challenge for e-commerce cross-border strategy. Taking into account all the different channels that are used by different markets can be a difficult task, which is why it’s important, above all, to understand your metrics and to know how to apply them to your e-commerce.

It’s also important to understand how different countries treat online shopping, and how to adapt your strategy to meet them on the channel where they’re present. Like MonkeyData, working locally with these markets and meeting them first-hand is a great way to understand your customer on their level, which is just what this startup offers in terms of data.

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