Two major events over the past few weeks focused their agendas on the future of retail:’s Annual Summit and the Altimeter Group’s Rise of Social Commerce.  Here are some of the key trends that emerged and our takeaways:

Trend #1: Seamless experiences across platforms
Technologies are beginning to break down the walls between online stores and their bricks and mortar counterparts.  Retailers are eager for greater integration between platforms.  The Altimeter Group calls this “Frictionless commerce.”  Technologies and user experiences that were highlighted include:

  • Geo location (passive and active) so that retailers and recognize you in-store before you reach the register.
  • Mobile experiences that are relevant wherever you want to shop, e.g. providing m-commerce outside of the store and price comparison tools and coupon options within the store.
  • Shopping with friends online in a way that is as satisfying and effective as the group shopping experience in-store. Wet Seal and Levi’s are retailers who has been testing heavily.
  • Facebook becoming a commerce platform – potentially competing in the future with ecommerce platforms like IBM WebSphere.

Key Takeaway: While some of these technologies are early stage, enabling people to use an existing social identity on any device will be a key element of unifying the retail experience across platforms, giving retailers a powerful way to link data and systems.

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