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eTail West: Insights from Day 1

Mobile Shopping, Showrooming and price transparency were just three of the many topics covered during the first day of eTail west in Palm Springs CA.

eTail’s annual conference has officially kicked off and Palm Springs is busy with over 1,800 retail attendees wandering the halls of the J.W. Marriott. The focus of this year’s conference is on moving from channel-obsessed to customer-obsessed, and there is definitely a lot of talk about both thus far.

The first morning’s sessions were pretty high-level, talking about how retailers can scale their businesses with technology and also citing some common case studies like Amazon and eBay. Talk of increase on mobile devices (both smartphones and tablets) also dominated the conversation.

Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital shared some interesting points on Amazon and price transparency. He was talking about how well Amazon’s distribution centres are setup across North America, and how he predicts this will enable them to do same-day shipping in the near future. This would obviously be huge as we believe that one of the reasons people go into stores is for that instant gratification. Same-day shipping will get Amazon pretty close to that.

The second point was on price transparency. Mark stated that the increase in internet connectivity has meant a major win for consumers in the area of price transparency. The fact that almost everyone now has access to the Internet and that prices are readily available has swung a lot of control into the consumers hands. Similarly, Jared Blank from Tommy Hilfiger later added in his panelist session that ‘consumers are ahead of where retailers are.’

Larry Freed, the CEO of Foresee, a major retail analytics firm, revealed some interesting data around a holiday shopping study that his company performed last year. They analyzed the shopping habits of over 25,000 consumers and discovered some interesting findings. Some of those included:

  • 61% of multi-channel consumers visited competitors’ websites
  • 33% of in-store shoppers visited a competitor’s website in-store
  • Huge uptick in mobile shopping

Akamai then took center stage and showed how their technology can improve the mobile shopping experience in-store. They have some pretty awesome technology that is mostly centered around faster load times. They began to talk about some other cool applications that retailers can offer their customers, and specifically cited that retailers dont want their customers to be able to check competitors prices online.

So what does this mean for price intelligence? Here are our 3 take-aways:

  1. Mobile is growing, and showrooming is real. The more phones that are out there, the more showrooming will occurr, and it is clear from the stats that Foresee revealed, the showrooming threat is real.
  2. It [almost] always comes down to price. Technology means that price transparency is inevitable, and retailers need to embrace it. With shoppers increasingly leaving to your competitors’ stores, it’s more critical than ever to have the right price.
  3. It’s all about the customer, and keeping up with them. Customers are embracing the latest and newest technologies, and retailers need to keep up.

Finally, we suggest everyone planning on going to eTail West next year sharpens up their Rock, Paper Scissors skills. Domo rewarded an all expenses paid  trip to Dubai worth $15K to one lucky attendee!


About the Author
360pi derives profitable insights from product and pricing big data to help leading omnichannel retailers, etailers, and brand manufacturers compete and win with shoppers. 360pi’s customer base accounts for over $US200 billion in annual product sales and includes Ace Hardware,, and, along with several Fortune 500 consumer products companies. With the majority of in-store purchases being influenced online, 360pi helps retailers and brands successfully navigate the multi-channel landscape with real-time insight into who is selling what, where, and for how much. Ultimately, 360pi customers make smarter decisions faster to drive increased revenues and margins across all channels.