New mobile capability, social networks and better analytics will play an important role in the future of the retail industry, according to speakers on a recent Wharton Business School Retail Conference panel titled, "E-Commerce: Is It the Future of Retail?"
"Mobile will be a critical piece of retailing, even more so than shopping online," said Dave Larkins, vice president of NetPlus Marketing in Conshohocken, Pa., and a co-creator of The Colony online boutique.
Mobile technology has not advanced to its full capability, Larkins noted, but continues to evolve due to expanded bandwidth and increasing consumer adoption of smartphones. As networks get better, it becomes easier for retailers to target customers based on where they live or shop, and to communicate with them in real time. Location-based social networks such as Foursquare, which essentially ask users to share their retail patterns with friends, are viewed as another way for brands to link to communities, he added.
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