13 Things Overheard or Talked About at Shop.org

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  1. Word of the Conference: “Mocial”. It’s what is happening when you put mobile together with social…Imagine that very shortly, your CEO will ask you what your “mocial” strategy is…hard to say with a straight face.
  2. If Google is the new Microsoft, Amazon is the new Google: Every retailer I talked to is thrilled with Amazon’s marketplace because of the revenue, but they are concerned about the costs and the implications of making their brand subservient to Amazon’s, just as retailers have uneasy feelings about Google’s power, they too fear Amazon.
  3. Marketplaces are Hot: Everybody from Best Buy to Barnes & Noble is doing it. Amazon’s marketplace model has really changed the competitive landscape and many retailers and non-retailers are on the same wavelength. Check out my friend Rick Watson’s blog post on marketplaces and brands. (He is the GM of Barnes & Noble’s Marketplace….
  4. SEO is still a mystery: Everyone is concerned about it, but few retailers are making a huge push into baking in SEO best practices. A predominant themes – “It’s too hard”, “We are already SEO’d by our platform”, “It doesn’t work” or “Panda killed us because we tried to do SEO”. All false. SEO isn’t just about search bots, its about creating valuable, deep content that provides context.
  5. Baseball is Cool: Thanks to the delightful folks at MyBuys, I got to meet Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry and thanks to the lovely folks at iProspect, I got to get my picture taken with the 2004 World Series Trophy…you know, the one that ended the curse?
  6. Social Sharing is Everywhere: I ran into now fewer than 10 social sharing companies (from Moontoast to ShopSocially to Curebit). Although these social sharing sites (“Hey, I just bought a sweater at J. Crew and you can get 10% off there too!”) may drive incremental revenue, it is hard to imagine that these are full-fledged companies, but rather features that belong to a larger enterprise marketing play (no offense to any of the companies I mentioned).
  7. Retailers without huge Facebook fan followings think that the number of Facebook fans is totally irrelevant: Guess what? They are right, as are the number of Twitter followers (it is engagement, not scale that drives incremental revenue).
  8. Paid Search Is Still the King: Big budgets, big spend, nobody is happy (retailers and providers). The only people that like paid search are the search engines.
  9. Comparison Shopping Engines Are Dead: Not really, but as a core acquisition strategy, they don’t cut the mustard…nobody sees them as anything but a necessary evil.
  10. eBay is back: Lots of folks see eBay as a viable alternative without diminishing their brand. Good on you ebay….
  11. Clearance Items are Still a Pain: The clearance racks that drive volume in offline retail don’t work as well online. There are few effective ways to dispatch of clearance inventory while keeping a straight face if you are a specialty retailer.
  12. Everyone is Wondering When the Hype of Social Will Be matched by the Reality: It probably never will be, but retailers need to understand that for the foreseeable future, social is brand advertising, not direct response. Not a hard thing to wrap your head around, but it is hard to wrap your budget around that.
  13. The Year of Mobile Still Isn’t Here: But many are panicking that they aren’t ready. Retailers, you won’t miss the boat online, but make sure that you spend smart and look for ways to be creative. Mobile, local and social have all mushed together…
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