What to expect at next week’s eTail West conference
February 22, 2013
Online and multichannel retailers will meet at Worldwide Business Research’s eTail West conference in Palm Desert, CA, next week to network and discuss the state of digital retail. Here is a preview of what attendees can expect from the event.
With the growth in mobile over the past year, the medium will grow in importance with the conference’s topics, especially with tablets. The conference is slated to be the largest eTail conference with more than 2,000 attendees.
“This will be our largest eTail to date, with more attendees, more speakers and more networking opportunities than ever before,” said Lori Hawthorne, events director of the eTail portfolio at WBResearch, New York.
“Attendees can expect multiple opportunities to meet each other on a peer-to-peer basis, as well as hearing from innovators in retail in all areas of ecommerce and multichannel,” she said.
ETail West focuses on every part of digital retail.
eTail West 2012
The first day is broken out into four different summits – Web, email, search and for the first time, tablets and mobile.
Per Ms. Hawthorne, the focus will be heavily on how tablets are increasingly being seen as their own types of devices.
For example, tablet usage, conversion optimization, Web design, in-store optimization, on-site experience and consumer data will all be discussed in sessions.
Panelists at eTail West, March 1, 2012
“Our diversity of speakers from retail to travel to brands focusing on mobile will help to present a holistic view of current trends, as well as trends impacting the future of mobile within the retail vertical,” Ms. Hawthorne said.
Below, some attendees weigh in on their expectations for the conference.
Michael Ricci, vice president of digital solutions marketing at Webtrends, Portland, OR
More than ever, marketers understand the importance of truly knowing their customers – what content appeals to them, how they prefer that content to be delivered and what they are interested in at any given moment. Optimizing for the mobile experience plays a huge part in the success of brands today and there are a lot of new technologies and leaders emerging in the space who will be at the show.
I think we’re all invested in optimizing for the mobile experience, measuring the performance of our mobile marketing technology and understanding how all of this impacts retailers and consumers alike. In the mobile space, it has become critical for marketers to make customer experiences as relevant as possible, or they may run the risk of missing conversion opportunities. In 2013, optimization has become tablestakes for success in the mobile channel, and eTail is the best venue to talk to the most cutting-edge marketers and vendors out there, who are constantly innovating and implementing this technology and changing the mobile marketing space for the better.
David Wachs, Chicago-based senior vice president of mobile at ePrize
We've worked on some impactful campaigns for brands helping them to leverage the impact of mobile throughout the consumer's entire path to purchase. I anticipate a lot of retailers are either looking to connect the dots between online and offline, or already have, and are planning to share how they addressed that challenge.
I'm looking forward to the day one panel discussion, "Reviewing and Developing Customer Engagement Strategies that Truly Resonate and Increase Loyalty," as leveraging mobile to motivate consumer engagement and behavior is at the core of what ePrize does. I'm curious to hear key learnings and insights from my colleagues in this space.
The day two panel discussion, "Shirt? Skirt? Latte? How We'll Pay in 2020" by Visa should be another interesting session. Mobile payments are a huge part of the future of retail and mobile, so it will be great to hear another leader's expectations for what the next ten years will look like.
Richard Anson, founder of Reevoo, London
A key issue for me is how retailers and brands build a trusted relationship with their customers, wherever they are, and of course how they turn those relationships into sales and long-term loyalty.
I am looking forward to Facebook's key note given by Nicolas Franchet and Twitter's key note given by Richard Alfonsi - both on Thursday morning - particularly after Twitter's commerce partnership announcement with Amex.
I believe that 2013 will be the year of mobile. In a document published a few days ago, comScore reported that purchasing on mobile phones is beginning to make a dent in ecommerce. And our own research conducted last year in Britain found that shopping and researching products via mobile has increased from 38 percent to 46 percent in a year. Using a mobile device to shop and research products while inside a store is also rising. It almost goes without saying that a mobile strategy must start to play a very big part, if not the heart, of any retailers' connected shopping experience.
Graeme Grant, president and chief operating officer at CQuotient, Cambridge, MA
The conference’s theme of moving from channel-obsessed to customer-obsessed is an intriguing and important one. I am looking forward to learning how each of the retailers attending are tackling this shift across all channels to really engage consumers with relevant interactions and discussing new possibilities for them with today’s technology.
I hope that hyper-personalization is addressed at this year’s conference. Everyone talks about personalizing communications for the customer as if it’s old news but, in reality, there is still a huge opportunity here for retailers to improve and fine tune these efforts in order to drive loyalty and revenue. Since we’re talking about being customer-obsessed, really knowing your individual customer is a critical component of that so I hope to have many discussions around making this a reality during the conference.
Bob Moul, CEO, Artisan Mobile, Philadelphia
I’m most looking forward to hearing from our colleagues in the space about the business challenges they’re facing and what solutions they’re looking for to successfully overcome these challenges. ETail is not only a networking opportunity, but also a great opportunity to learn from other vendors and brands. Of course, I’m also looking forward to introducing folks to Artisan and the problems we’re trying to solve with regards to better managing native apps and maximizing the investment brands are making in mobile.
I’d really like to hear about what brands are doing to integrate mobile, Web, and social channels both from a strategy perspective as well as an organizational perspective. Another critical issue I’d like the conference to address is the current inflexibility of managing and optimizing native apps, and how retailers need solutions that will allow them to take full advantage of the revenue opportunities that native apps offer.
I’m hoping that the conference will show that mobile needs to take its rightful place in the boardroom in terms of corporate strategy. Mobile strategy cannot be siloed to just IT, and the mobile conversation can no longer be just about technology. Organizations need to include mobile in the larger conversation of what they’re trying to accomplish as a business and embrace the ways consumers want to engage with their brand.
Pelin Thorogood, CEO of Anametrix, San Diego
Naturally, both marketing analytics and mobile will be highly talked about topics. Etailers know that consumers no longer follow a straight line to purchase, so the challenge is to determine how to engage consumers across all channels and track, analyze, and make sense of their journey.
A 2012 Nielsen study reported that purchases from mobile devices tripled over the previous year, and new data shows even more of an increase this year. Anametrix hopes eTail West will address the challenges and opportunities around mobile, both from a marketing and measurement perspective, as it becomes a major channel for consumer interaction with brands.
Etailers more than other vendors must deliver the right offers at the right time on the device the consumer is using at the time. Anametrix anticipates eTail West will set the tone for mobile marketing in 2013 by demonstrating how real-time analytics enables right-time marketing. In past years, the focus has been mostly on demographic segmentation. Mobile marketing of the very near future will hinge on using behavioral, social and geolocation data to enable microtargeting the right consumers, at the right time, with the right offer to drive relevance and improve return on marketing investment.
Melissa Pereira, director of corporate communications at Truste, San Francisco
ETail gives us a great opportunity to meet with retail businesses and hear first-hand about their data management challenges. We want to understand their concerns and work with them to address the unique issues facing the retail industry, including mobile data collection, monetization and building customer trust.
Truste’s hope is that the conference draws more attention to the safe use of consumer behavioral data for mobile advertising. Our research shows consumers are increasingly concerned about mobile tracking. We firmly believe that businesses can address mobile privacy concerns in a positive and proactive way through policies that deliver transparency and choice – before legislation is thrown down.
Last year, the focus was on how to collect mobile data from users. This year, the focus is on understanding that data and how to use it appropriately. Businesses recognize that they must ensure the safety of their customers’ data on mobile – and deliver notice and choice for its usage – if they are to succeed in delivering innovative technologies such as targeted advertising.
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York
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