E157: David Meakin

Revolutionising Online Merchandising: Social Commerce, Live Shopping and Luxury Fashion with SHOPLINE

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Podcast Overview

Luxury, sexy brands take note, SHOPLINE is about.  

They are breaking into the UK and Europe market with one goal in mind, to shake up the eCommerce platform scene and offer a solution with built-in integrations that transforms shopping experiences for customers all around the globe. 

If you are a brand that understands the power of live commerce and selling through social media, then listen to this podcast.  David Meakin shares all you need to know about social commerce and SHOPLINE. 

eCom@One Presents

David Meakin

David Meakin, Head of Partnerships and Solutions Engineering at SHOPLINE, discusses live streaming and selling through social media in the world of eCommerce. With his expertise in both partnerships and engineering, David offers invaluable insights on how to succeed with this latest online tactic.

Before he dives into live streaming, David takes a moment to introduce us to SHOPLINE, a Singaporean-based eCommerce platform dominating the Asian market and now looking to establish a strong presence in Europe and the UK. 

With a diverse background that includes working with eCommerce giants like BigCommerce and Attraqt, David brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. He shares his journey to SHOPLINE and highlights why luxury brands use their platform.

Not only does David discuss the complex world of fashion, with customisation and merchandising strategies, but he also touches on the challenges of handling in and out of stock products and the impact on marketing campaigns. He gives us a glimpse into the future roadmap of SHOPLINE and shares exciting insights on upcoming features and plans.

Throughout this episode, we get an exclusive look into the inner workings of SHOPLINE, their dedication to SEO optimisation and their engineering team’s continuous efforts to ensure seamless performance. 

So grab your headphones, sit back, and get ready to explore the world of live streaming, SEO optimisation and the future of eCommerce with David Meakin on eCom@One. Let’s jump right in!

Topics covered: 

1:52 – David’s eCommerce journey, from platform to tech to merchant side 

3:11 – SHOPLINE’s new and different approach to partnerships 

7:43 – The importance of optimising, monitoring and evaluating your SEO efforts

10:47  Tech stack confusion among merchants, focus on objectives, streamline, leverage specific tech

18:30 – Live shopping: China dominates live stream sales, limited UK market

25:33 – UK brands have big Asian market potential

27:32 – The fashion industry is complex and not as easy as selling hoodies online. There are niche players focused on custom-made fashion. It’s important to understand the differences in customers and how the business trades

32:05 – We released 200 new features across various components in July, with a focus on user-friendliness and integrating with major players. Our agile product team adds new features quarterly, aiming to improve the core platform and bring back data from user experiences.

33:30 – Importance of lifetime value

34:04 – Book recommendation

Richard Hill [00:00:04]:

Hi, and welcome to episode 157. we're doing things slightly different this time. We're here at eCom@One podcast live in the studio. And today's guest is David Meakin, head of partnerships and solutions engineering at Shopline. Now quite a rare breed, David, you know, you've got both sides, partnerships, and the technical side, the engineering and solutions side. When we talk about both sides in this very interesting episode, we talk about things from live streaming, some very interesting stats around selling from lives, you know, how many of you are actually selling from lives. We go deep on that topic, and many, many more without further ado, I'll give you David Meakin from Shopline. Hi, and welcome to our first episode live here in the studio at eCom 1. Welcome to eCom at 1. Today's guest is David Meakin, head of partnership solution engineering at Shopline. How are you doing, David? Very good, Richard. How are you? I am very well. Thank you so much for coming in and making the the journey over to Sears.

David Meakin [00:01:07]:

you. We have a thanks for the invite. Very happy to be here.

Richard Hill [00:01:09]:

No problem at all. Now I think it'd be great to kick off with you, introduce yourself and introduce how you got into the world of eCommerce.

David Meakin [00:01:15]:

Sure. I've had the privilege of working both for lots of different vendors, e commerce platforms, like Salesforcecom cloud, a few other different technologies, and also work in Merchant Side for the last sort of 8 years, and I just joined joined Shopline to launch the European expansion, on the 1st April this year. So it's very exciting, and, a very crowded market, but very exciting for

Richard Hill [00:01:40]:

Wow. So, obviously, it's about a lot of time. Sort of in the trenches working with merchants over the last sort of 5, 6, 7 years, seeing a lot of different things with a lot of different forms. you know, why did you why did you decide to join Shopline?

David Meakin [00:01:52]:

Well, I was, I was at a track for the back end of last year, which search, merch, personalization platform. Yeah. And I got the chance to work with loads of different e commerce platforms, like BigCommerce and Shopify, Salesforce, and some of the bigger merchants, like the really big fashion ones, they've got very heavy, technical, custom platforms. Yeah. I got to see lots of different approaches to how people are actually trading the websites, how they're running it, how they're growing their businesses online. and then Shopline reached out sort of back end of last year, say December time, and I've never heard of the platform to be used to sort of super saturated market. You know? but after a little bit of investigation, I spoke to a lot of very senior people, from the product side and ask a lot of very technical questions about how it actually works under the hood. and eventually eventually join. It's a it's a very interesting thing. You just need to grow a lot of market presence in Europe.

Richard Hill [00:02:47]:

Yeah. I think based on your sort of background, it's quite an interesting sort of merge of 2 roles potentially. Obviously, a lot of people in partnerships are very much focused on you know, meet and greet in the the the potential merchants and merchants and and partner. So, eCom sphere. but maybe with, not as a deeper knowledge as yourself on the sort of technical and solution side. I think that's quite a --

David Meakin [00:03:11]:

Yeah. I started with doing, project management for Pepe Jeans group and Hackett and, replatforming mainly people from high risk onto things like Magento or onto that Salesforce Commerce cloud. Yeah. And they're big heavy projects that cost a lot of money and very, very complicated omnichannel, international projects. which were which were really, really fun. but I got to see, like, all the complexities for how merchants actually are trading and what happens on that replatform project. And over time, did more technical things or more sort of governance related things and ended up being a solution engineer for BigCommerce. and which is amazing sort of different experience. But what I wanna bring to Shopline and what we're trying to do to sort of in in the partnerships area is really change the way that works. lots of partnership people were very entertaining and really, really good at building relationships, But for agencies who are building on new technologies

Richard Hill [00:04:09]:

-- Yeah. --

David Meakin [00:04:09]:

who need help and need to be able to, understand, you know, when this API goes wrong or how this particular thing works

Richard Hill [00:04:16]:


David Meakin [00:04:16]:

new tech, they need someone who could actually add value, understand the problem, and know when to escalate, when to bring in the appropriate resources. So at Shopline, we've put a lot of effort into merging those commercial people

Richard Hill [00:04:28]:


David Meakin [00:04:28]:

Yeah. -- with the technical people that can actually add value.

Richard Hill [00:04:31]:

Yeah. I think that's great. I know some of the lot, well, a lot of the conversations we've had recently are with what I would what we would have referred to as fairly substantial merchants doing sort of 10, 20,000,000 plus. but that may be built on a bit of a clunky, shall we say. You know, something that's been inherited over many, many different teams, and then trying to get some of the other sort of tech, marketing tech working with those platforms can be all that, that sort of, if you like cobbled together, almost. If I if I can say it, sort of tech stackers there can be quite challenging. Obviously, if you've got somebody that's looking at re platform and they want to re platform, from something that's not a known platform potentially, you know, and it's more, you know, custom, back of the car challenging, we found

David Meakin [00:05:14]:

I think so. I think the the platform you choose, actually, the tech stack you choose needs to be modern, needs to be microservices based. Like, all these things are principles for how you build modern tech stacks. but actually project managing and getting the right governance, the right level of pragmatism on these projects so that it can be happen smoothly is really important. So we're very involved. The same commercial people that are involved in the sales cycle are involved right until everyone's live, everyone's happy, and then we talk about Okay. How can we grow? How can we get this merchant to do better online? So that's the goal for everyone. And I think it's important that all parties work together in that process and not just worry about net new business.

Richard Hill [00:05:52]:

Yeah. No. That sounds brilliant. So what would you say, for the guys that are listed in? You know, what makes Shopline different to the other sort of propositions out there?

David Meakin [00:06:00]:

a lot of people listening wouldn't have heard of Shopline. So quick background on that. We've got 500,000 customers. We're based in Singapore. So we're actually Asia's largest e commerce platform, working with some amazing fashion and beauty, and brands that are sexy products or complicated products, like furniture where you've got interdependent variables, like really cool products. and we're doing this huge international expansion now to, take on some of the more known players. And what Shopline have really pioneered is a fresh look, a more holistic approach to e commerce. like, we've gone through, like, a few waves of Big mentioned some of them earlier, monolith systems where you need a lot of very heavy dev effort to be able to build experiences online. but they were powerful pieces of tech.

Richard Hill [00:06:50]:


David Meakin [00:06:50]:

Then you've got, sort of the microservices based, systems where basically you get death by apps, you know, you have Yeah. Loads of apps that all ruin your SEO or your performance, and they don't talk to each other fully properly. What Shopline have built is a platform where you've got the same flexibility to do lots of cool stuff with any apps you like. It's fully open API, all that stuff. but the core product actually works. You know, like, it's got really good internationalization.

Richard Hill [00:07:18]:


David Meakin [00:07:18]:

And really good features that every merchant needs to trade online.

Richard Hill [00:07:21]:

Yeah. think, you know, looking at the sort of feature list and some of the, you know, the standout features for me, you know, some couple of key areas which we'll step into, but obviously as a, you know, behind the podcast, the e eCom 1, you know, agency with a with a focus on SEO and PPC. So from the SEO perspective, know you've got sort of very specific things. I think you you could refer to it as easy rank SEO. Yeah. Tell us a little bit about that.

David Meakin [00:07:43]:

Yeah. That's just that's just one of what we're calling a core component. Yep. where, yeah, every merchant who trades online needs to be on a monitor and improve and optimize their SEO really, really well. So we've got a quite a large development team just working on this component where they're constantly developing new features with AI and with Yeah. Lots of tracking tools to make sure that every page, every product, every single part of the site is fully optimized for SEO. And when you're developing the theme, when you're customizing that theme out, we're constantly monitoring constantly checking, a little bit like Google page speed in CIS, to make sure that everything's really performing. And if it's not, we'll be giving advice on how to change this. Mhmm. and again, a massive differentiator is our engineering team based in Singapore and based in it all over Asia are actively monitoring that and every transaction that goes through the platform so that if something does go really badly wrong, someone develops, something that completely breaks your theme or, you know, slows something down heavily. They'll be messaging you. They'll be on your case and saying, Yeah. Oops. This is how they change it.

Richard Hill [00:08:47]:

And I noticed that you've, you you obviously referred to a AI there, and then I could see, you know, on the on the features list referring to AI and content. Obviously, most of our listeners, Shopify store owners, marketeers, we've all got that. interest in, day to day challenge of maybe having, you know, let's say 10,000 SKUs on there, 10,000 products, 50,000 products, you know, and obviously being able to manage the product descriptions, the data, the text specs, the, you know, the introductory paragraphs, the descriptions, all the words that go with those products are obviously in the millions of words, you know, and that's something that we spend as an agency a lot of time. But as an agency, we also use a lot of AI now,

David Meakin [00:09:27]:


Richard Hill [00:09:27]:

But, you know, how, instrumental has AI been to the platform in the last maybe 6 months or so?

David Meakin [00:09:33]:

I think everyone's on the AI bandwagon. but I think it should be used in a way to assist the trading and not just as a gimmick. You know? So we've developed features where AI is in our ads system for our, what we're calling smart ads. So it will help suggest content for how you can, create social posts and ads properly. Yeah. same with email marketing, same with our chat functionality. Yep. So if someone comes to the platform and you or you see a post maybe where they're showing skinny jeans for on Facebook for Black Friday or something like that, then a our AI system will be able to tag the customer with the fact they've interacted with this skinny jeans product. Yeah. Yeah. And so that means it's much easier to create for omnichannel nurture streams for less so this person's skinny jeans and not baggy jeans -- Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:10:23]:


David Meakin [00:10:23]:

to try to get the right product in front of the right customer at the right time.

Richard Hill [00:10:27]:

Yeah. No. I love it. all of it. So, obviously, you've worked with a lot of merchants, you know, and, obviously, it's it's a newer platform for a lot of people that'll be listening to the to to the podcast, but what are some of the sort of common themes that you're seeing around sort of maybe challenges right now? You know, what what some of the things that merchants are struggling with at the moment, you would say?

David Meakin [00:10:47]:

It's it is very varied. It it does depend on the size of the merchant. A lot of merchants have, I'd say over complicated what that tech stack is actually meant to be doing. Instead of thinking what are the objectives? How do we find the customer and everyone wants to do what I just said, which is try to get the right product in front of the right customer at the right time and increase their basket sizes and their conversion rates. That's the kind of the goal. a lot of mergers have been sold very heavy pieces of tech to be able to do that. Yeah. I think sometimes just stepping back and thinking, what are the objectives of what we're trying to achieve here? Sometimes that means streamlining. Sometimes it means actually, digging down onto on a certain piece of tech, which is actually gonna help you.

Richard Hill [00:11:29]:


David Meakin [00:11:29]:

I think that's kind of the really big confusion.

Richard Hill [00:11:32]:

Yeah. It was like a tech audit potentially. Sometimes what I've been quite often is required.

David Meakin [00:11:36]:

Yeah. Yeah. I think so. Yeah. based on the objectives of the business. I heard a statistic the other day, which is if you recorded all of the data ever from the beginning of human time to 2003 and put it all into a USB drive or whatever. We're now collecting that amount of data every 2 days.

Richard Hill [00:11:57]:


David Meakin [00:11:57]:

Okay? That's every session, every chat, every like, every interaction, every impression on social media, is generated every 2 days, all of this data. And we're very behind in we in our industry to actually collect and target and use that data for growth I don't know what you think about this, but my view is, like, as an industry, we think we're very innovative, and we are in so many areas But if you compare eCom to farmer where they're now building drugs that can target radiotherapy. So granular to the point of, cancer, for example, that the side effects of those type of treatments are very minimal. You maybe don't lose your hair. If we could have in a much less way, nurture streams that target the customer, identified using big data, this level of granularity, merchants will do much better online.

Richard Hill [00:12:55]:


David Meakin [00:12:55]:

And I think that's where we're going.

Richard Hill [00:12:58]:

Yeah. The sort of level of detail that we're not using, particularly, you know, typically, you know, when you compare it to the, yeah, for example, I've got a few friends in pharma and some of the conversations I have with them. Yeah. It's sort of another level of complexity. Yeah. Whereas we maybe flippantly, we'll say, oh, you need to remarket that customer. Or, yeah, we need to, you know, you need to have a flow for that and, but hang on a minute. You're saying he may be 300 or 5000 data points. So, you know, that that tech is using. Yeah.

David Meakin [00:13:27]:

yeah, I think that's because, you know, the people who are trading sites are looking 1 minute in TikTok for what's the analytics. Yeah. Who are their influencers? Who are their segments there? Then they're going the same thing. Do the same thing in Meters business suite. Yeah. It's been the same thing in Google.

Richard Hill [00:13:41]:


David Meakin [00:13:41]:

And there's not not many merchants have yet become mature enough to analyze all this data in one place and actually have a single view of the customer. even if they have a CRM

Richard Hill [00:13:50]:


David Meakin [00:13:50]:

Yeah. -- they're not actually doing that stuff.

Richard Hill [00:13:52]:

So the ones that do that are gonna get the advantage done in in theory.

David Meakin [00:13:56]:

I think so.

Richard Hill [00:13:57]:

Yeah. No. I would say so. I think, you know, we're gonna have a lot of people also that have got stores. That sort of physical element. So having that, you know, the omnichannel experience, but using a real deep level of, data. I think other guys that are gonna win, you know, we've got, kind of, we've got clients that have got 2, 3 hundred stores. and obviously huge eCom presence. Yeah. You know, it can get more and more challenging. You know, what would you say about the sort of, that holistic omnichannel approach.

David Meakin [00:14:21]:

Shopline has its own pause. we're one of the largest possible buyers in Asia as well. and I think actually comes back to what I was saying earlier about the commerce and how it's changed over time. If you go into selfridges or if you're going to hack it where I used to

Richard Hill [00:14:36]:

-- Yeah. --

David Meakin [00:14:37]:

work doing their product stuff, They're really good. gachi, maybe it's a test. Go to Bond Street, go into Hackett, and, go and buy a suit. they'll walk you through all the different suits, how it's fitting, the linings, the fabrics. They'll give you a gin. There's a gin bar upstairs. That's perfect. Right? All that experience is so good. Yeah. And what merchants needs to be able to do is put that online. Yep. And even if they don't buy the suit, and they're probably gonna buy the suit after that. Right?

Richard Hill [00:15:04]:


David Meakin [00:15:04]:

But once that suit has been bought or not bought, what you need to be able to do is target that customer later -- With those details. -- with the details. Yeah. They love Tweed now, you know, or maybe they -- Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:15:14]:


David Meakin [00:15:15]:

love a certain very bright red. Right. Yeah. That's a different cousin. Yeah. Someone who comes in and just buys socks for their dad for business. Right?

Richard Hill [00:15:21]:

I've seen that a few times. You know, I'm not gonna probably mention brands right now, but You know, I'm a big I'm a big chap. You know, we've met a couple of times face to face, but I'm a fairly big chap, to be fair, 647. So obviously after the pipe peg, most sizes don't fit, you know, in reality, it's like a triple XL, double XL, in terms of sort of length of of our hours and height and whatnot. Certain just don't accommodate that, but certain brands do. And one particular brand, when I go to their site, you know, and and it does what you said, you know, I I start looking at, you know, double XL, you know, ruger tops and shirts. And then all I see then are the products that are in stock that are double XL, you know, there's no point of selling me and showing me trying to sell me and show me, you know, small, medium, even large, because it's never gonna fit,

David Meakin [00:16:03]:

you know. So, yeah. Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:16:04]:

And that's quite simple, really, but the amount of companies that don't even do

David Meakin [00:16:08]:

where do they get that data from? I mean, again, with our mentioned brand names, but is that because you bought a suit in the past on that website?

Richard Hill [00:16:14]:

Yeah. It's it's because I've been on that side before. I have bought from them for sure. and I'm, you know, that whenever I'm on that site, I'm only purely looking at that that particular size. So I have bought from them many a time. Yeah.

David Meakin [00:16:25]:

Oh, yeah. So we take that last slightly further. Shopline have got the same functionality, but, yeah, like I said, if someone goes to Facebook Messenger

Richard Hill [00:16:34]:


David Meakin [00:16:34]:

Yeah. -- and send a picture of a suit, or they interact and use certain keywords of the e commerce team have set up. that data is also used to final that level of personalization. So it can be really cool.

Richard Hill [00:16:46]:


David Meakin [00:16:46]:

And we're, we're about to launch in in the style, which is really called Manchester based fashion company. And their goal is to get to a point where

Richard Hill [00:16:56]:

they can do multiple personalized

David Meakin [00:16:56]:

sales in a single day but personalized based on what the customer's gonna buy. and that's really cool.

Richard Hill [00:17:04]:

Yeah. That'll lead to me on perfectly to social commerce. I mean, there's a lot of things here that pop it up on my head, but, I think, when you say social commerce, you know, what do you mean as a as a as a as a Shopline?

David Meakin [00:17:17]:

It's one of those things that is a bud word, like head headless, like all of those different things. it is social commerce, It's not just about social media. It's just generally how you're interacting with brands in a new way. The the the example about the suit is like, really relevant, I think, in this

Richard Hill [00:17:35]:


David Meakin [00:17:35]:

Yeah. -- just by having a much better understand of the cost understanding of the customer, and we're based in Singapore the way they shop in Asia is very different to where we're shopping in Europe. It is all about their equivalent of WhatsApp and instant messaging and some guided selling they're really good at. All that type of stuff

Richard Hill [00:17:53]:

-- Yep. --

David Meakin [00:17:54]:

needs to be very, very holistic. So lots of e commerce, every e commerce platform should now at least be listening to meta and the TikTok and all that stuff. but there's absolutely no point listing if you're just listing and then you're not bringing all this data back.

Richard Hill [00:18:09]:

You know? Yeah. Yeah.

David Meakin [00:18:11]:

so our social commerce is showing listing ads and products to all the social medias, but bringing it back into the core product so that you can actually use this data. Yeah. Harvey her customers better. I think, again, that's where a lot of merchants are missing out at the moment.

Richard Hill [00:18:30]:

Oh, yeah. Yeah. Sorry. I mean, that exactly what I what I think. I think, you know, I was reading some stats, earlier around sort of live streams, selling from live streams, and selling from lives. I think 51% of that in the world is in China. Yeah. And when I think about our client base and the, you know, the the the partner network we have and who does what. You know, it's very limited, you know, in in the on the in the UK market. Yeah. Are people really doing much with the live stream? You know, what's the sort of experiences and and sort of case studies maybe you can reference of, live streaming and, shop line.

David Meakin [00:19:01]:

There's loads of course startups doing different types of live streaming. We we've got Native live streaming, which lists, allows you to create live stream at the back end of Shopline, listed to Facebook, Instagram. and use the same keywords to have that single view of the customer. So in Asia, lots of people are coming to London, going to Bond Street, going into a Burberry, buying something, putting it on a live stream before they even left UK, have sold the Burberry handbag. you know, like, that's a big thing in Asia, but, yeah, you just they've seen this come from London. Right?

Richard Hill [00:19:33]:


David Meakin [00:19:35]:

so for British businesses wanting to sell in Asia.

Richard Hill [00:19:37]:

So hang on, that's somebody's eCom here. Yeah. Yeah. From Asia. They bought it as an individual. Yep. And then they've just sold it again via just their own personal

David Meakin [00:19:45]:

Yeah. This is a big tick. It's a huge trend. Yeah. Oh, wow. I didn't know that. It's a huge trend. Yeah. Let's take

Richard Hill [00:19:50]:

a bit of a trip.

David Meakin [00:19:51]:

Yeah. because there's such a big demand for British businesses in Asia. That's kind of one thing. Mhmm. And then there's loads of startups that do one to one, shopping, you know, you're selling a sofa, but you can't get to DFS. They're showing you sitting on the sofa, pushing you down, what happens if you spill a drink on it, that's a different type. And then there's live streaming for companies like Streamify who do the on-site selling.

Richard Hill [00:20:15]:


David Meakin [00:20:17]:

wherever this happens, wherever the live streaming stuff is happening, you still need to get that data back.

Richard Hill [00:20:21]:


David Meakin [00:20:22]:

because if I comment on live stream for a show or

Richard Hill [00:20:24]:

something, it just

David Meakin [00:20:25]:

that I might not buy it. Yeah. And so you don't wanna lose that data.

Richard Hill [00:20:29]:


David Meakin [00:20:29]:

Imagine how many times you've watched a video. Yeah. When you're bored, you know, you're on TikTok in bed or something. and you just don't. that that brand is -- -- just lost.

Richard Hill [00:20:39]:

Yeah. So I guess there'll be a lot of people listening now, but, you know, live streaming, you know, they're they're no doubt see, you know, on the on the on the various channels they're on, you know, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, etcetera. this will be streamed, but not necessarily live stream, but, you know, I think you're right. Okay. We wanna really get going with the live stream inside. of e commerce. You know, what would you say to our listeners that I really wanna sort of dive into that? I know that's that's a side of our business as an agency that we're exploring. We've recently hired somebody starting in a couple of weeks, when this when this episode goes live, I think they'll be they'll be here in the business to work and develop our sort of live stream offer a 2 hour merchants, you know, for for the ones that are listening in, they wanna sort of get started or, on that start point. Yeah. You know, really wanna sort of do well at live streaming and selling via live stream. So what advice would you give to them?

David Meakin [00:21:29]:

I think don't just jump straight in. You need to know what you're doing. You know? I mean, you can just do a test, I guess, but really want someone to advise, how will the live stream be different on Facebook compared to TikTok? know, who is my customer based on that platform? is it gonna be a silly jokey thing, or is it gonna be genuine, like, TV shopping? You know, so you do need someone to advise property on that. Yeah. Obviously, I'd say you also need the tech stack to be able to achieve this. But, yeah, I'd say, 1st of all, let's get someone who knows your brand understands what you're trying to do, and make sure you do it properly because you can easily ruin your brand by just going and being silly on TikTok.

Richard Hill [00:22:09]:

Yeah. Yeah. So take your time.

David Meakin [00:22:12]:

I think so. Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:22:13]:

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David Meakin [00:23:40]:

I think, yeah, we we have done really well so far. We've only been, open and had a nice, present established since April of this year. We've done really well so far. there's definitely a need for a different piece of tech. So maybe we'll talk about that later, but, the Asian market is huge. We've done really well there. There's obviously half the world's population just between China and India. China alone is 37,000,000,000 or GBP for the UK. They're the 3rd largest trading partner of the of of the UK for exports. So super important market, and they love, like I said, really, really important to to know. And we've got close links with those markets. So there's definitely a market there. So if you've got the product

Richard Hill [00:24:27]:

-- Yep. --

David Meakin [00:24:27]:

they will buy the product.

Richard Hill [00:24:29]:


David Meakin [00:24:30]:

and it's a it's a market as well where there. Obviously, it got more and more funding to buy that type of to buy more expensive foreign goods. So there's huge market and opportunity for British brands to export to China and the rest of, Asia. once that product, I think is sorted, to get into those markets, you really need to know what you're doing. You can't just it's not like selling into Europe where Brexit aside, you know, it's relatively easy to trade in into the into the European markets. In Asia, there's lots of different ways of shopping. I think it's important to understand that.

Richard Hill [00:25:07]:


David Meakin [00:25:08]:

But also getting the right last mile delivery, the the the logistics infrastructure in place is really, really important. Yeah. By 2050, there's gonna be, another the equivalent of another

Richard Hill [00:25:19]:


David Meakin [00:25:20]:

China's in the world's population. And most of that trade comes from Far East and from Latin America. So now is the time really to export those, markets.

Richard Hill [00:25:33]:

Thank you, Skia. When you start sort of visualizing the the size of the opportunity, you know, and I think as a as a UK merchant, you know, like you mentioned, like, Burberry, you know, they obviously they're somebody from, you know, China, for example, they could come into London buying the Burberry bag and then selling that back on a on a live like that, paying for their trip, because it's a side thing, but Yeah. But, obviously, there's a massive demand for UK brands, you know, brands, you know, do that that different Asian countries. I spent probably 9, 10 months it was in Singapore back in the day, you know, I loved it, and I spent quite a lot of time out in Asia. but I think, you know, the size of the opportunity, but I speaking to a lot of merchants, I think quite a lot of their sort of hesitancy and challenges quite a lot about around the logistics side of things. Yeah. Is there anything specifically the shop line does around the logistics?

David Meakin [00:26:20]:

Yeah. I mean, we've got more than 8000 people in China. Yeah. And a lot of those will work in social side. a lot of them are developers and sort of techy people building out, and it's integrating, the product into 3PLs into we've got huge logistics infrastructure in China. So we've got teams of people that advise how to get into Asian markets, how to really fully exploit those term products. very hands on in that area.

Richard Hill [00:26:47]:

Yeah. So I I noticed, you know, you mentioned quite a lot of, like, luxury brands, you know, and I think, you know, fashion luxury is a a big part of Shopline's portfolio. You know, it's it's very much, aligns with our the clients that we were with are around in terms of, sort of fashion and apparel. You know, I don't know. Without mentioning too many names, you know, you've got some huge well known brands that most people will aspire to maybe have one of their handbags or 2. Yeah. or perfumes or whatever it may be. You know, how? Yeah. obviously, you've got some amazing brands, but have you managed to win those clients over other platforms?

David Meakin [00:27:23]:

Yeah. I I wish I could mention some of the names. They're very lucky 3 brands that are very secretive of their of their tech stack. So I think, I think we start with

Richard Hill [00:27:32]:

fashion. Everyone thinks fashion's

David Meakin [00:27:32]:

easy in the technology side of our industry. It's absolutely not easy. You're you're selling very complicated but bundles. You mentioned earlier the suits that comes in you know, lengths of arms and fits for the top of your legs compared to the bottom of your legs. And we've got loads of pop up niche players that are basically measuring how your fires are compared to your shins, you know, like, there's lots of players that do that and just focus on custom made fashion in the area. So the industry as a whole need to understand, I think, that fashion is not easy. It's not selling hoodies online. You know, like, these are Yeah. Luxury brands that have a lot of complexity around how the product is built, also how the merchandisers cross sell and upsell those product ranges. If you buy a very expensive cover grand, handbag, that's a very different customer to the person you a candle once a year for Mother's Day or something. So there's an understanding in there, about how the business is trade. Our ambition is to be the platform that e commerce teams love to use. And I think that's really how we've, been able to secure some of the more luxury brands because people like using it as they move around into other, fashion or other similar luxury companies, they wanna use the tech they wanna use. Yeah. They're used to using. And the other thing is because of, I guess, economies of scale, we're able to really create new features for specific verticals and specific types of merchants where a lot of other of our competitors are building on tech debt and they find it hard to move on and do some of the basics. Right?

Richard Hill [00:29:15]:

I think that's a key part, isn't it? We we touched on it before we hit record, but you know, ultimately, you know, very specific verticals are very specific requirements, you know, so you you talk about, we talk about the, you know, the clothing sizes and the the the the different legs and sizes we all are.

David Meakin [00:29:31]:


Richard Hill [00:29:32]:

But as a e eCom store, manager, that's managing the back end of that, store, you know, you could obviously want to be able to use that platform, you know, I get buy him from your wider eCom team quite often, you know, there's usually So X Y Zed platform so clunky. Oh, we've gotta go in and do X Y Zed. That's gonna take hours to do this, that, and the other. So I think having obviously, winning these brands is great, but obviously maintaining and retaining certain clients on any client, you know, is absolutely key to any anybody in, really, in terms of, you know, from a partner perspective and from a development perspective. But from a merchant perspective, you know, you want your teams to enjoy, but in the back ends of forms, if that's possible.

David Meakin [00:30:13]:

I think it I think I think that's really important and actually not just tech, but if you're choosing an agent, that's why you guys do so well, because you really understand the brands you're working with, you're asking relevant questions that talk about how the business might grow and put plans together for these merchants. You can't do an SEO plan unless you actually understand what the objectives other businesses in the future. Yeah. And I think that's why we've done really well is because we definitely talk about how you replatform and how you get the most out of our tech, but we are asking you know, like, what are what are you trying to do when you're trying to, sell that bag? What happened if it goes out of all the weird use cases that the merchandiser has to deal with manually maybe on a daily basis. Yeah. We're trying to build features around that. or at least make it possible for their developers to build features around that. Yep. So that the tool is actually not a nightmare.

Richard Hill [00:31:02]:

Yeah. And that's that's the problem, especially in fashion, is it? The in and out of stock, different sizes, how is your platform dealing with that? Yeah. You know, how is your you know, Google Ads, for example, dealing with, very popular product that's got 7 sizes, but you've only got one size in. Should you still be bidding a 100% when you've only got one you know, one chance of the buy of the apple when the 7 to go out normally, you know, and if your tech can't handle, then those different variables You know, you're using them for a a world of pain or a, you know, using not a very successful marketing campaign. You know, if your tech stack isn't getting the buying from the people that are using it. So we've covered a lot of ground, you know, from from from live streaming, selling our lives to your easy rank SEO. and obviously some some some bigger areas, but what I'm keen to see if we can get out of you is, some things that aren't really maybe known out there that well around around the road map for Shopline over the next sort of 12 months. What some of the things that are coming down the the pipeline that you maybe you can share with us.

David Meakin [00:32:05]:

Yeah. it's it's a very, fast moving road map. In July, we released 200 new features to all of our different components, email marketing, subscriptions, membership, obviously, the main site itself, the pause system, payments, lots of different areas. So those 200 features are spread really across all of those different teams. We've got a very agile product team. They're able to accept new features. We don't really have a 12 month. We've got a vision for where the product's gonna go, but we are able to add new features in on a quarter by quarter basis. which is very powerful thing to be able to do. Generally, though, what we're trying to do as as a product is hit those points that I said earlier. We're trying to make it even more user friendly to be able to connect to some of the biggest players out there for when it comes to headless front ends and all the things, that merchants are requesting more and more of at the moment, and in the core of the platform, we're not just gonna be building those starter stores with, you know, I list some products. I create a car on VJS, for example. That's very nice, but all the data that's being created in those experienced layers, we need to bring back just like we are in social. We're bringing that back in so that as we create even smarter, deep learning functionality

Richard Hill [00:33:22]:


David Meakin [00:33:22]:

Yeah. -- personalization functionality in the core product that can be used by developers on the front end.

Richard Hill [00:33:28]:


David Meakin [00:33:28]:

So that's really where we're going. And I think nobody's doing that at the moment.

Richard Hill [00:33:30]:

That's yeah. That is very unique from a platform platform perspective. very much a focus on that lifetime value -- Absolutely. -- of of the visitor here. Well, thank you for coming on the show. Thank you for visiting us here at eComOne HQ. It's been an absolute pleasure having you on the podcast. I like to finish every episode with a book recommendation, David. Do you have a book that you eComOne to our listeners and viewers?

David Meakin [00:33:52]:

Yeah. there's a book called ins, inspired, and it's about how you build really cool products that customers love to use. so maybe I'll give you a link and we can put it in

Richard Hill [00:34:03]:

the chat. We'll we'll hook it up in the show notes. Well, thanks for coming on the show, David. It's been an absolute pleasure having you here at eComOneHQ. Thanks for coming down to see us.

David Meakin [00:34:11]:

Thank you very much, Richard. Thank you.

Richard Hill [00:34:18]:

If you enjoy this episode, hit the subscribe or follow button wherever you are listening to this podcast, you're always the first to know when a new episode is released. Have a fantastic day, and I'll see you on the next one.

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