Multichannel and User Generated content catch words at eTail

In the mid 20th century, modernist architects to the desert to apply new ideas and techniques to building in a natural environment. It seems the perfect setting to hear new ideas about the Internet discussed, at this year's eTail show.

One big trend that I have heard a lot about, which also came up at FirstLook, is the user generated shopping experience. Web 2.0 is not a new idea, but the fact that consumers are actually able to participate in the retail experience is a new step in the direction of e-commerce.

At this show, a number of things to this effect have happened, like Petco using Bazaarvoice to host its user generated media, this coming at the same time as Bazaarvoice partnering with Aggregate Knowledge. This partnership will leverage a user generated review platform and turn it into an aggregate total of all of these reviews.

This theme rang true in a session yesterday afternoon in which Jodi Watson, vice president of direct marketing services at Williams-Sonoma spoke about the importance of building a strong Web site that promoted the brand, much like a store.

The multichannel shopping experience is definately key for retailers who are looking to grow business in the coming years. But it is not only important to have all of this sophistication in channels for the customer side of things. It is also important to study that data and know what to do with it, as Steve August, vice president of customer marketing at Brookstone highlighted.

Because understanding your customer and providing them what they need is a constant challenge and should be the goal of all retailers.
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