This week I had the pleasure of participating in the “22nd gathering of Retailers in Seattle” aka “Retail ’11 Summit,” an annual gathering of the top retail CEO’s in the region. A fantastic roster of speakers kicked off with Jamie Nordstrom’s morning keynote on the role of technology in retail. He impressed everyone with an incisive story about how Nordstrom has embraced technology to not only reach out to its consumers, but the role it can play in easing operational challenges – like check-out and inventory. I then participated in a panel to discuss the role of mobile in retail, which was moderated by Tami Fujii, a very experienced industry veteran. Joining me were two of Tami’s colleagues at T-Mobile: Venetia Espinoza, Director of Product Management for Digital Media & Partner Programs, and Alex Sammano, also a Director and General Manager of the Bobsled platform. Both individuals brought a ton of experience and insights, not only from the carrier perspective, but also through a consumer lens.
My focus centered on broader strategic issues as covered the gamut from QR code adoption failure to when Social Media™ works and when it doesn’t. The most central theme I tried to express is that technology, especially mobile technology, is all too easily embraced by marketers and retailers to solve their own business challenges; it only truly works when it addresses a consumer need. In the coming month, my team here at Hornall Anderson will be sharing a more formal POV on mobile-in-retail, so be sure to stay tuned to this channel.