Video: Shop.org 2015 thought leaders on the state of e-commerce

It is rare to have under one roof the kind of e-commerce firepower that the annual Shop.org Digital Summit brings together. The 2015 version in Philadelphia earlier this month didn’t disappoint. The BloomReach content team took advantage of the critical mass to collect the thoughts of some of retail’s leading experts and thinkers on topics ranging from mobile’s rise to omnichannel’s importance to the difficulty in pinning down a clear definition of personalization.

The entire video playlist is on YouTube. You’ll also find a summary of the interviews and the videos below. Yes, there are quite a few, but they’re short and there is no need to watch them in one sitting. Consider this the start of a conversation that we’ll continue in the coming months. Cook up some popcorn; take a seat and enjoy.

Lauren Freedman, of the e-tailing group, talks about site merchandisers and their often-overlooked importance. The best among them succeed through a mix of art and science.

Patricia Waldron, of IBM, explains how cognitive computing and natural language processing are changing the world of e-commerce.

Ian McCaig, of Qubit, says businesses sometimes go wrong when testing. Take care not to focus too much on measuring the effects of superficial changes.

Brian Beck, of Guidance, explains that it is difficult, if not impossible, to get a comprehensive view of your customers without taking a holistic view of your data.

Ryan Scott, of SapientNitro, talks about the pros and cons of building key systems rather than buying them from companies focused on the solutions to your challenges.

Kathy Kimple, of FitForCommerce, talks about the importance of personalization and the risks involved with doing it poorly.

Gangadhar Konduri, of AgilOne, points out that while consumers spend a lot of time on mobile and the Web, the bulk of buying still goes on in stores. How do you marry the different consumer worlds?

Ryan Scott, of SapientNitro, says it’s important to understand that the relationship between retailer and consumer doesn’t end with a purchase. In fact, that’s when the relationship begins.

Shelley Kohan, of RetailNext, talks through different types of measurement and when you might deploy each.

Shelley Kohan, of RetailNext, says that declining foot traffic in brick-and-mortar stores is only part of an in-store story that might not be as bleak as it seems.

Steve Arndt, of Persio, says that real personalization means understanding what your customers are doing on all the channels they use to shop. It’s the best way, for instance, to avoid wasting money on misguided retargeting.

Jakki Geiger, of Informatica, talks about some of what needs to happen in order for a retailer to be able to give a customer what he or she wants — when they want it and where they want it.

Sean Cook, of Aptos, says that companies need to “future proof” themselves. Find out what’s involved.

Scott Silverman, of Scott Silverman Associates, talks about how the importance of a data-driven mindset is likely to shape the future of retail’s leadership.

Scott Silverman, of Scott Silverman Associates, explains that building a data culture is vital for retailers that want to build a seamless customer experience.

Scott Silverman, of Scott Silverman Associates, says retailers face some tough choices when it comes to mobile. Some need to be ready to make sacrifices on the desktop in order to make the necessary commitment to mobile.

David Morin, of Prism Retail Analytics, says retailers now have the tools to gather data in the physical store that is similar to the data gathered on the Web. He looks at the importance of dwell time, store layout etc. in the brick-and-mortar world.


At BloomReach we like to move fast and break things — no really, we break things. The idea is to illustrate the fact that when a consumer knows what he or she wants, but doesn’t know exactly how a retailer describes it, it can be an ugly scene. If your site isn’t able to learn and understand the thousands of ways shoppers describe products, you’re e-commerce strategy might well be shattered. Take a look.


Videos produced by Justin Fogarty, BloomReach’s head of content. Cover photo by Mike Cassidy.

Mike Cassidy is BloomReach’s storyteller. Contact him at mike.cassidy@bloomreach.com; follow him on Twitter at @mikecassidy.