Tech & Innovation Summit: The ‘Internet of Things’ Is Coming

The 2014 Summit just took place in Seattle, Washington, USA, and top global eCommerce executives provided valuable insights on shopper marketing, customer engagement, and more. Here are five things that were driving the conversation on the opening day:

  1. Focus on a single view of the retailer first, not a single view of your customer. Marketers have been preaching for retailers to achieve a single view of the customer, yet we fail to ask the question—will consumers show us their true selves? Gartner’s Miriam Burt says this will never happen, so long as consumers are in the driver’s seat of their own data. Rather than worry about a singular customer view, retailers must first get their own house in order, and make a “single view of the retailer” their main priority.
  2. “Boundary-less retail” is not a differentiator, it’s an expectation. Karen Etzkorn, EVP & CIO – HSNi lamented that consumers expect retailers to offer seamless experiences across channels and touch-points. This is no longer an area of innovation, but simply a best practice for doing business.
  3. Retailers should be thinking of media companies as competition. Etzkorn also said that retailers should act more like storytellers, leveraging content to tell powerful stories about their brand and products.
  4. Engagement through gaming taps valuable consumers. Gamification, while just a buzzword a few years ago, seems to have staying power as an instrument to drive purchases among the most active and valuable customers. HSN’s online arcade’s customers were more likely to login to earn points towards a purchase, and more likely to transact with the brand.
  5. “Internet of Things” is coming, and will change shopping forever. Refrigerators that contribute to household shopping lists and homes that scour the internet for the best deals are coming, says Gartner. Admittedly, Burt says this may still be a ways off … but when it hits, it will forever change the way people shop.

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