-- Emerging Retail Technologies

Josh GordonIn the afternoon I attended a session that attempted to define current emerging technology trends in retail interactive marketing. I choose the words carefully because I wasn't convinced that all of these technologies were necessarily emerging. I feel some of them have been in market for a while, and, if anything, there is a struggle about how best to tactically leverage them, not identifying them for early adoption.

We’ll start with the first “trend” — personalization. A short presentation was given on the possibilities open to online retailers if they choose to use personalization. I feel the session’s time would have been better spent on identifying areas where personalization should not be used, or how to avoid becoming big brother when trying to create a positive consumer experience online.

The second trend, social shopping, spent time talking about the theoretical. How social shopping isn’t new, but the technological possibilities are. Not a grand revelation there.

The third trend was actually a trend, centering on the value of geographically targeted mobile marketing. For example, getting text messages while shopping at the mall for a store at the mall. This is something that I think qualifies perfectly as a trend, because trends are bound to fade. The presenter called it the “$1 Trillion Idea.” He proceeded to talk about the merits of using mobile as a service, as well. I agree with him on the service aspect. Our clients that use our mobile product employ it as a service. However, I can’t imagine how a trillion dollars can be quantified that way.

The final service was taking catalogs online with visual environments to change clothing color and purchase right from the virtual “try on” area. This is fairly new technology, and very interesting for clothing retailers.

The most important aspects to interactive marketing weren’t really covered in this trend context. It would have been interesting to hear about being relevant and personal across all of the multiple touch points consumers use.

Tell me — am I off base? Is personalization, or any of these other “trends” really new and ripe for early adoption? Or is it best to identify how best to leverage them?

I’ll post about the Capitol Hill Perspective of behavioral targeting in a bit. I’m still a bit excited after that — it was the most fascinating discussion I had all day.

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