Chicago is the destination for this years IRC Internet Retailer Conference and is becoming our top conference to attend every year. This year over 9300 attendees and 45 vendors geeked out about all things eCommerce.
If last year's focus was Social Media, then this year it was all about Mobile. Mobile shopping will exceed Desktop shopping in the next few years and why not? Smart Phone sales have long since eclipsed desktop sales. Optimizing websites for mobile and pad are top of mind for web developers to create a smooth shopping experience on all devices. Companies like Facebook are severely challenged on how to offer the same customer experience while somehow fitting advertising on the screen too. My prediction is this problem will be the demise of the Facebook revenue model and steep stock decline over time.
What I find most interesting is the total convergence of online and offline commerce into just one seamless way to shop. It was John Donahoe, the CEO of eBay, who spoke about how the word eCommerce is being dropped from their corporate vocabulary and replaced with just Commerce. As more and more offline retailers add online components like dressing room checkout, in store mobile coupons and QR Codes on the price tag, where does online and off line actually meet? I say the line is so blurred now that eBay is right - it's just commerce. My thoughts are that we buckle up and get ready for a fantastic ride as retail and ecommerce transform shopping into an amazing new customer experience. The word of warning as always from these conferences is the retailers who wait too long will be left behind.