Great to attend the shop.org conference in Dallas with about 3000+ of my online colleagues. The broad themes of the conference probably have not changed that much from last year. The difference is learning from some early adopters and success stories of these media while also working on basic blocking and tackling practices to optimize the business as they go. (Here’s the official shop.org summary here and several good blog posts). Themes and thoughts below:
· Mobile will be huge. No surprise here. Companies are still figuring out how to leverage this new medium while the mobile platforms gain more widespread adoption. Some companies are doing interesting things to integrate phones with loyalty programs at brick and mortar stores to supplement their online relationships. As people get more comfortable doing online transactions, this platform is poised for tremendous growth.
· Social Media & Community is getting mature. Companies are still working to leverage the strength of their brands in a community environment and also measure results. There was a great keynote featuring high level execs from Groupon and Facebook. Both talked to the hyperlocal geotargeting initiatives they have underway and the power of group think or swarm activities at the grassroots levels.
· Multichannel is still a good idea but difficult to implement. E-commerce really is Everywhere commerce. Several presentations on how to execute this well (and not so well.) Customer are coming to expect that brands offer multichannel commerce and services and don’t care about how it works on the backend. Many companies are busy revamping infrastructure and accounting practices to accommodate this customer centric-everywhere movement.
· Personalization was an underlying theme—Certona was the “Diamond level” sponsor. But these companies are still focusing on product recommendations and not the boarder level personalization experience. (Good video preview of the future of shopping.) Really personalization is the expectation of all 3 themes above integrated and relevant to me.
· Expo-Vendor show—really great concentration of relevant vendors, particularly those in the personalization space (Baynote, Monetate, RichRelevance, Certona, Amadesa) as well as some vendors concentrating on predictive analytics and ‘customer valuation management.’ I expect an onslaught of sales calls.