Salmon ranked third in The Drum’s Digital Census Financial Poll 2013

This year’s Digital Census, published by The Drum, demonstrates a positive picture of UK agency performance. Salmon continue to perform very well, ranking third overall, out of 32 agencies classified as having over 100 staff in the large financial poll, behind DigitasLBI and Sapient Nitro.  Salmon’s digital fee income* of £34,208.000, and digital fee growth of £7.8m, sees us rise up four places on 2012, when we ranked in seventh place.  Salmon’s 2013 digital fee income per head comes out at £108.943 ranking Salmon 8th and suggesting we are also one of the most efficient agencies in the UK.

The Drum Digital 100 financial survey June 2013 financial poll

Here are some of the other interesting findings:

32 digital agencies with over 100 digital staff had a combined fee income of £699m and an average fee income of £21.9m.

Overall, out of the 172 agencies present in the financial poll, 151 (88 per cent) expressed positive growth – confirming that the industry continues to grow at an exponential rate.

The 172 agencies analysed for their financial performance grew by a total of £202m and although the >100 staff size group claims the majority of digital fee income and fee income growth, the 51-100 digital staff and 1-50 categories also showed positive trends overall.

Total fee income of the 172 agencies researched was a staggering £1.086bn, up from approximately £900m in the previous financial period, providing a final growth figure of approximately £186m.

For more information on the Census or to find report pricing and download the full report go to.

* The Drum’s financial polls are ranked on four metrics:

Digital fee income: Amount of income an agency retains for providing digital services, minus pass through costs.

Digital fee income growth: The growth between the two financial period figures.

Digital fee income percentage growth: The growth in percentage terms between the two financial period figures.

Digital fee income per head: Fee income divided by digital staff headcount.




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5 tips for website performance testing

Key performance indicatorsAs we approach the busiest trading period for retailers, I caught up with two of our performance specialists and asked them for some tips for eCommerce website owners embarking on performance testing.

1. Start measuring your site’s performance

If you’re not already doing this then start measuring your website performance.  You can’t fix what you can’t quantify, so this is an important first step. The ideal is to understand what real-life site visitors are experiencing, rather than some approximation of this, so we’re interested to see the development of real user monitoring tools which attempt to measure this.

2. Test mobile and tablet performance

For 2013, look especially closely at site performance on mobile and tablets. Make sure that your testing includes the full range of components used by these devices, for example, embedded web browser engines and APIs that link to back-end or third-party services.

3. Test based on business scenarios

Its important to test and tune a website based on this year’s likely business scenarios, not last year’s.  While some of the cloud-based performance testing services may be attractively priced, double-check that they will test likely scenarios and not just the Home Page. eCommerce sites are complex, so the testing needs to reflect this. Develop scenarios that aim to mirror real customer behaviour and are based on your marketing plans and technology trends.  For example, are you running any new promotions that will cause a hot-spot on a particular page, category or product ?

4.  Test new functionality

What new features, functionality, integration points or services have been added since last peak? Make sure these are covered in your test scenarios.

5. Think end-to-end

Test end-to-end to check that all systems involved in the customer journey are able to cope with the likely volumes and patterns of usage, not just the actual website.

For more details on how to ensure tip-top website performance during this year’s holiday and Christmas season, check out Top tips for website performance.

If you’d like to find out how Salmon can help get your website in tip-top shape for peak season 2013 and beyond, there’s more information on our Performance Optimisation Services here or you can Contact Us.

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DFS transforms its business with new multichannel platform and websites from Salmon


Customers are now receiving a seamless integrated journey from inspiration to purchase.  DFS carried out extensive research to understand how consumers wanted to use the online environment to help them find their perfect sofa.  Insights showed that customers increasingly seek inspiration, gather research and compare designs, colours and value online, before they visit a DFS store.  And yet, just as when people purchase a car, they rarely commit to buy until they’ve sat in the front seat – or in DFS’s case on the sofa.

Analytics also showed that the increase in consumers use of tablets as they search for a new sofa, for example, is increasing at a tremendous rate, showing a massive increase from 10% to greater than 30% in website traffic in the last 6 months, a figure likely to rise as tablets grow in popularity.

DFS responded with a significant investment in digital transformation to put the customer right at the heart of its business. Salmon implemented IBM WebSphere Commerce to be the foundation of DFS’s sales and marketing operation and to support all its customer touch points including tablet, PC, web, mobile, telephone sales and stores.

Russell Harte, Head of Multichannel Development & Delivery at DFS said, “We now have a world class platform underpinning our business and supporting our digital transformation.  It contains all our product details, customer information and orders and is supporting our multichannel operation.  Our customers are now able to interact with us through whatever channel they choose, which is leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty and will ultimately drive DFS sales.”  Read more here


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GAME prepare for biggest trading year ever with help from Salmon

GAME homepg 428x241Salmon, has helped, the UK’s leading games specialist, prepare for what is anticipated to be the retailer’s biggest trading year ever.

In 2012 Salmon successfully migrated Gamestation’s online platform to, following GAME Retail Ltd’s decision to provide their customers with one unified brand.  Since then Salmon have delivered a number of enhancements to GAME’s omni-channel strategy and are currently carrying out extensive performance testing and upgrading software to equip them for a record-breaking peak period.

Andrew Grainger, GAME’s Chief Technology Officer, commented, “With two new consoles, the Xbox One and PS4, and some stunning new games being released before Christmas we expect our website will come under an exceptionally heavy workload.  Preparing now will ensure customers continue to receive a positive experience through both the website and mobile site.”

Using WebSphere Commerce’s Extended Sites functionality, Salmon have developed and enhanced GAME’s multichannel offering providing customers with a seamless, personalised experience whether on the web, in store or on mobile.

Andrew Grainger, GAME’s Chief Technology Officer, continued, ‘As an omni-channel games specialist, it is important for us to continue to deliver excellence and value for gamers across all our channels. Salmon has helped our online proposition stay strong and with the collaboration, we look forward to continuing to provide access to the best range of games and products, growing our digital market share and delivering excellence to gamers.’

Neil Stewart, CEO at Salmon, said, ‘The GAME brand has proven strong through recent changes. It’s been a pleasure working with GAME since the original WebSphere Commerce multichannel platform delivery in 2011, executing the Gamestation migration and providing consulting support for trading initiatives.  We’re pleased to see that our trading and usability services have helped GAME increase online sales.”  Read the full press release here.


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Lack of online integration holding back international revenues for UK B2B organisations

According to newly released research jointly commissioned by Master Data Management company Stibo Systems and ourselves, B2B organisations are struggling to extend their online footprint abroad, despite success selling through existing channels.

The research findings revealed that 72 per cent of UK B2B organisations sell internationally, but only 40 per cent were doing so online. The same research revealed that 67 per cent of UK B2B organisations already had online offerings, highlighting that, though many businesses have invested in online, they had not yet taken the step of extending it overseas.

The research, commissioned in order to explore the latest trends in ecommerce for business-facing organisations, questioned 100 senior UK decision-makers in manufacturing and wholesale companies about the current stage in their adoption of ecommerce. Part of this research was to find out how ecommerce operations were expanding internationally, and what challenges businesses faced in implementing successful ecommerce strategies.

The findings provided an insight into some of the challenges B2B organisations in the UK face when operating internationally. The most significant challenge was the cost of service to trade, which 87 per cent of respondents listed as the problem encountered most often. Trading overseas for any business has significant cost implications ranging from logistics, a concern to 49 per cent of businesses, to lack of market knowledge at 58 per cent.

Yet the development and tailoring of an international ecommerce offering that fits into an existing UK solution can significantly reduce the costs of doing overseas business and serve as a business growth opportunity.

Commenting on the report, Simon Walker, director, ecommerce innovation at Stibo Systems, said “British businesses are innovative and dynamic, as this research shows, and have expanded considerably overseas in recent years. However, this research has highlighted how this expansion is being stifled by the cost of doing business. By channelling the local market and cultural knowledge developed by selling through existing channels into online operations, the cost barriers to international expansion can be significantly reduced. By utilising centralised tools such as Master Data Management as part of a business’s ecommerce infrastructure at home, it can in turn power online offerings abroad, significantly reducing the costs of operating overseas.”

Craig Harper-Ashton, head of multichannel at Salmon, added “Growing ecommerce offerings abroad should be a key consideration for any B2B organisations looking for growth. As this research shows, the main barrier to growth internationally is the cost of doing business, which can be immediately reduced by selling online. Optimising sites for international markets and utilising existing expertise gained in the market, is a simple way for UK businesses to expand their international footprint, driving growth.”

Whitepaper and infographic

Further information on the research can be found in the form of a whitepaper and an infographic


The survey was conducted by Coleman Parkes Research in February 2013. The sample consisted of 100 senior business decision makers in charge of ecommerce development and delivery for a mix of large manufacturers and wholesalers (1,000+ employees) that either currently have an ecommerce operation or are planning to implement one. All interviewers abided by the MRS code of conduct.

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The 6 Es of Everywhere Commerce for retailers, brands and B2B businesses

  1. Execution Now that everyone agrees that eCommerce is strategic, executing at speed is the major challenge for large businesses. An agile approach will help deliver business benefits quickly, while remaining open to future change.
  2. Easiness Make it easy for all shoppers to shop with you, anytime, anywhere, any device.
  3. Excellence Customer experience excellence is highly correlated with improved customer loyalty, and better financial performance. Structure the business to deliver this efficiently and consistently.
  4. Experience Bringing the in-store experience online can help retailers offer a differentiated proposition. Brand owners can use digital channels to create emotionally engaging experiences for their end consumers (and collect valuable data) even when the purchase transaction is completed elsewhere.
  5. Emergence An emergent approach to strategy will help keep you aware of evolving trends and technologies. Innovative ideas can come from anywhere inside or outside the company and an emergent approach allows these to be incorporated in the company strategy.
  6. Exploitation Be careful not to introduce new technology for its own sake. Focus first on understanding customer behaviour and then how technology can enhance this.  Exploit existing technology before buying new.

If you missed the previous Upstream post, ‘eCommerce becomes Everywhere Commerce. Brands face stark choice: adapt or die’, you can read it here.

First published in BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2013

BrandZ Top 100 2013

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The Road to B2B eCommerce Success [Infographic]

Salmon and Stibo Systems recently commissioned a survey to explore the latest trends in eCommerce for business-facing organisations. You can download the survey research statistics here or view the infographic below.

The research identified key issues for B2B organisations in adopting eCommerce including:
• Finding the right technology to support an eCommerce strategy
• Not having the resources and knowledge needed for its on-going management
• Developing the right business model

Salmon B2B eCommerce Research Infographic

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eCommerce becomes Everywhere Commerce. Brands face stark choice: adapt or die.

Yesterday’s definition of eCommerce is dead. The rough definition — buying and selling over the Internet—is inadequate for today’s commerce companies.

Today’s shoppers expect to shop anytime/anywhere, to buy every kind of product, to use whichever device or channel suits them at that moment and to be recognized and valued for their custom. Today’s business leaders (whether brands, retailers or B2B businesses) are grappling with increased shopper expectations, rapidly evolving technology and new sources of competition.

So, should we now drop the “e” and call this form of transaction just “commerce?” Since all commerce today involves electronic systems and the lines between the online and offline worlds are blurred, the “electronic” in eCommerce may be redundant. Another approach would be to redefine it as “everywhere commerce” so that we can focus on the big opportunities and challenges in eCommerce today.

To assess whether a company is adequately recognizing this shift in commerce and taking the necessary steps to be present everywhere, business leaders need to ask themselves these key questions:

Every country Are we offering international shoppers a seamless experience? Are we reaching potential shoppers in fast growing markets? Are we personalizing the shopper’s experience based on his/her location?

Every device Does our eCommerce platform support the wide (and increasing) variety of devices and browsers? How are shoppers using their devices? Are they using a smartphone and laptop at the same time and in complementary ways or at different times and then keeping them in sync?

Every channel Are we supporting every possible route into an eCommerce transaction? These include: social networks, brand marketing, physical stores or branches, wholesalers, Amazon, eBay and other marketplaces, aggregators and choice engines that simplify options to help consumers make better decisions.

Every shopper Are we personalizing the shopper’s experience based on the current context plus his/her past and predicted behavior? And are we catering to both B2C and B2B shoppers?

Every interaction Are we delighting our shoppers every time they interact with our brand (whether on our own web properties or elsewhere)? Are we delivering excellent service right through the customer experience: from brand awareness, to product awareness and purchase, as well as the delivery, returns and customer service processes?

Every product How effectively are we managing product information, pricing, inventory and returns across our own, third party and drop ship supplier locations?

Every piece of data Are we gaining enough insight from the mass of data available on our shoppers’ interactions? What new opportunities are offered by the exponential growth in data from smartphones and social media (big data) and from information disclosure?

Every business model Have we just taken our pre-Internet business model online or have we really exploited the new opportunities offered by the Internet? Which aspects of our old business model can be blended with digital to offer a differentiated proposition? Can we integrate with our legacy systems? How do we keep up to date with new developments like Google Shopping Express?

Every delivery option Are we meeting the needs of those shoppers who want the product in the next hour or the next day as well as those who are willing to wait until next week? And what about those shoppers who want a one-hour delivery slot or want to pick up from a nearby location at their convenience, not ours?

Based on the answers to these questions, business leaders need to decide on priorities and start making changes to adapt to this new environment. The name change from electronic commerce is important, not just because the term too narrowly defines the today’s reality, but also because it confines thinking. The term focuses thinking on the wrong problem.

Retailers need to think about how strategic use of technology, mobile location-based services and big data can improve life for the customer, unify the brand experience across all venues and provide a competitive advantage.

“Everywhere commerce” is here already and the choice for today’s commerce companies is stark: adapt or die.

This article was first published in BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2013

BrandZ Top 100 2013

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PayPal Etail Awards Success

Etail Logos_WinnerSalmon would like to say a huge congratulations to their customers Morrisons Cellar and Argos for their award success at the 2nd annual PayPal Etail awards, held at the Old Billingsgate in London on June 12.

Both customers were recognised and took home coveted industry accolades which demonstrate their outstanding achievements.

At the ceremony, hosted by comedian Adam Buxton, Argos scooped the award for Clipper Logistics Best Multichannel Retailer – Large with Tesco highly commended, and Morrisons Cellar won the Best Customer Experience award with Schuh highly commended. For more information on the awards and winners click here.

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Salmon receive the IBM Industry Solutions Choice Award for Commerce

Salmon received the IBM Industry Solutions Choice Award for Commerce at last week’s Smarter Commerce Summit in Monaco.  The awards recognise Business Partners in each geographic region for their outstanding performance and commitment.

Keith Pope, European Channel Leader, Industry Solutions, IBM and John Trowell, Business Partner Sales Manager, UK & Ireland, Nordics, CEE, Industry Solutions Group, IBM presented the award to Neil Stewart, Salmon CEO.

Salmon receive IBM Industry Solutions Choice Award for Commerce 2013

Neil Stewart, Salmon CEO, receives IBM Industry Solutions Choice Award for Commerce 2013 from Keith Pope and John Trowell of IBM

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