How to Effectively Execute a Multi-Channel and Mobile Strategy: An eTail Boston 2011 Recap
Now that the buzz of eTail 2011 in Boston is starting to calm down, retailers are faced with the very real question of how to make many of the ideas discussed at the conference a reality. Many sessions were held discussing the need to effectively execute on Multi-Channel and Mobile. Well, how does a company really get started on those things? Do you go to your development manager and say we need a mobile app or a better way to support affiliates? You could, but that leads you into the land of one-off solutions, which have long development cycles and limited flexibility.
What retailers need to understand is that the web has changed. No longer is your web site the only point of contact with your customers. Customers have changed their behavior (again) and are now looking to interact with you on mobile devices, social networks and through an expanded partner network. You'll still need to create a good experience on your web site, but you'll also need to create engaging experiences on all of these new and future connected devices at multiple locations.
This is where the infrastructure of the web has changed. APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are the backbone of how these experiences are reliably delivered to these new connected destinations. They also give you future flexibility to react to upcoming changes in customer behavior, new devices and new social locations. Retailers would be well advised to take a hard look at why APIs are the future of their business success on the web.
As an example, I'd suggest taking a listen to a recent presentation given by Best Buy's Director of Open API Platform Business, Kumar Kandaswamy. Kumar talks a bit about the history of Best Buy and discusses how technology is allowing Best Buy to effectively make mobile and Multi-channel decisions quickly thanks to their API strategy.