Fast and Furious

Digital retailing is maturing at such a furious pace that RIS decided to devote this digital issue to spotlighting successful first-mover initiatives and emerging best practices.

Of the three digital channels – e-commerce, mobile commerce and social retailing – e-commerce generates the biggest share of retail revenue. Industry-wide, online retailing was up 15 percent in 2011, and became recognized as the channel that holds the greatest opportunity for growth. This recognition is currently shaping investments, hiring and restructuring of the traditional retail organizational chart.

Mobile and social channels generate less than one percent of sales for even the most advanced retailers, but their potential for growth is enormous. Since fast-moving online-only retailers locked up many corners of the Internet during the dot-com boom, today’s established retailers will not let that happen with mobile and social opportunities.

Many retailers are moving ahead with pioneering initiatives that help them get a foothold in the mobile and social space despite the prospect of low current
returns. They are doing things like: using tools to aggregate data and do sentiment analysis; linking social media data to demographic classifications and loyalty databases; devising promotional campaigns based on a social graph of interests, activities and opinions; and developing geo-location technology that lets retailers know when a customer nears a store or leaves it.

Many of these initiatives involve Facebook, which is creating a new channel of opportunity – F-commerce. Are we getting burned out by too many buzz words? Maybe. But be advised, it is difficult to catch the train once it has left the station.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds