I attended the shop.org annual summit in Dallas Texas this week. shop.org is a division of the National Retail Federation (NRF) that is dedicated to online commerce, and the annual summit is the primary trade show in the US focused on e-commerce. I was eager to see how the industry was responding to the dramatic changes being brought on by the rapid integration of mobile and social media in the shopping experience.
I particularly enjoyed the keynote from Glen Senk’s, CEO of Urban Outfitter. He shared his opinion that…
While mobile will have a major influence on e-commerce, it will be an absolute game changer for the bricks and mortar shopping experience, as shoppers use mobile technologies in the store.
He also disclosed that at Urban Outfitter shoppers that used three of their channels (web, mobile, and stores) spend Six Times as much as single channel shoppers.
In other keynotes:
- Mitch Joel, Author, Six Pixels of Separation gave a nice primer on social media adoption for attendees
- Scott Savitz, CEO, Shoebuy.com shared key learning’s from their first 10 years of operations
- .Mike Murphy, VP of Global Sales, Facebook; and Rob Solomon, President and COO, Groupon talked about disruptive retail technologies (along with Josh Goldman, a Venture Capitalist at Norwest Venture Partners)
It’s becoming more common, but I really appreciated show management embracing social media, with an official twitter hashtag #shoporg10 and even accepting questions for the keynote speakers via twitter.
The sessions were divided into four concurrent tracks.
- Customer Experience
- Cross Channel Optimization
As with most trade events some of the sessions were rich with great content, while others were thinly veiled advertorials for the presenters product. However, at the end of most sessions they had break-outs where they divided the audience into tables, provided a moderator for each table, and opened the topic up to group collaboration. I was pleasantly surprised at how open and honest retailers were with each other as we all try to develop new best practices. I often found the roundtables to more useful than the sessions.
If I had a disappointment, it was with the exhibitors in the trade show area. Attendees of the show seemed laser focused on learning more about the mobile channel, and finding better ways to integrate their multiple channels into a single experience for the shopper. Two things that are very near and dear to my own heart. Unfortunately, exhibitors that had products doing both were few and far between.
It’s a bit surprising that an industry that is barely 10 years old, is already so entrenched with their legacy solutions that they view mobile as nothing more than an add-on to existing eCommerce sites. Many exhibitors had buzz words on their booth about mobile and cross-channel integration, but very few could demonstrate the goods. There were exceptions for sure, and one company that I’m liking a lot in this space is CrossView. I’ll have more to say about them next week.
My two biggest take-aways:
- Mobile is rushing towards us like a tsunami. e-Commerce will never be the same when all customers have a “Buy-Now” button always available in their purse or pocket. Yet, it may have an even bigger impact as a shopping tool inside of traditional retail stores.
- The old notion of shopper channels is dead. The final purchase decision will be made at many different touch-points (based on the context and the mission of the shopper), but the decision will be influenced by experiences across all channels. The old winner-take-all metrics that reward an entire sale to the single channel where the transaction occurred need to change.
Congratulations to the team at shop.org and NRF for putting on a great show. I’ll definitely be back next year. I always get energized by shows like shop.org. It’s so much fun to spend a few days sharing ideas with like minded shopper marketers. You typically fly home with some practical ideas to implement, and renewed confidence that my views of the future are shared by many smart people.
Did you attend the show? I’d love to hear your key take-ways.
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