Today I’m at the eTail Boston conference listening to a very distinguished collection of speakers talk about the challenges of growing our ecommerce business. At 5pm today I’ll present on multi channel marketing integrations. You can see the live stream via this link http://bit.ly/qkX5ZP and also download it later.
What I’m struck by from the discussion from my colleagues is how we are mapping out the future for ourselves. Many pundits and vendors have opinions about how important for instance social or mobile is however brands feel that the jury is still out on how these things are integrating into their overall strategic vision. I feel it is folly to think that purchasing behavior won’t continue to evolve the same way we’ve seen it exponentially expand and transform over the last 10 years. Key is making sure your brand message is not lost amongst the technology. I feel that holding the customer experience as the main touchstone of your development efforts is extremely important.
Deciding whether or not you are a company that is going to grow and customize its own platform, embrace open source customizable solutions or partner allows you the freedom to move forward accordingly. I’m not sure that many companies now need to focus on their own slate of programmers. There are tons of tools readily available today that arguably can get you into the frey in a particular channel much faster than doing it yourself. You will still require staff but the skill sets will be different. Having a realistic view of the existing strengths of your team and your willingness to financially invest in them is an important business decision.
The great thing about conferences of this nature, at least for me, is that I get an opportunity to have some space to think about the big picture amongst other people who are doing the same thing. There’s an immediacy to the inspiration that comes from hearing about the solutions and challenges of others.
The CEO / CMO / SVP panel today drove home one thing – a focus on the basics of great customer service will always put you head and shoulders above the rest. Whether it was the CMO of ShoeBuy.com talking about their API’s or the President of Build.com hammering that exact point home they were both really talking about the same thing. Technology alone or new channels won’t save a business that doesn’t have a clear focus and capability on the fundamentals. Furthermore, now is not a time to be timid. Now is the time to push forward with enthusiasm as noted by the CEO of Brookstone. If you react to the market factors with fear one of your more bold competitors will run over you.
So be bold, go forth (with good metrics) and conquor the new channels that make sense for your brand. There’s no time like the present and tomorrow may be too late!
Thanks to the great folks at eTail for putting on a show with so many valuable speakers and including me in the list!