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2013: The Year Ahead in Digital Commerce

by Allen Weiner  |  December 10, 2012  |  2 Comments

Lists. I love lists. I sit all weekend and watch the MLB Network’s “Prine 9,” a show which compiles oddball lists such as the nine greatest left-handed right-fielders. As an homage to such efforts and to get in line with all your look-back, look-forward end of year lists, here’s my list of four major digital commerce trends to watch in 2013. In no order:

Content marketing: Certainly a term that means different things to different folks in the marketing world, but as we see the technology, discipline and principles of publishing make their way into the world of digital marketing, the use of content (and I mean all forms) to tell stories to engage and (especially) sell products will make a leap forward in the coming year. The prime driver is the evolution of new platforms that offer the merger of content management and curation, going one step beyond such social providers as Pinterest and Storify. Publish This and Flockler are just two innovators in the next-gen of content marketing.

The return of retail: Let me be clear, we’re not talking about 50,000 square foot big box stores, we are referring to the trend that lives somewhere between food trucks and pop-up stores. This year, The Gap, Microsoft and others opened pop-up stores which are temporary storefronts that offer seasonal, event-based or even trial shopping experiences. Perhaps a page from food trucks which allow chefs and restaurateurs to ply their trade with less overhead…perhaps not. What’s this have to do with digital commerce? First is the use of such mobile payment technologies as Square (the gizmo that plugs into a merchant’s mobile device and allows him or her to accept credit cards). Second is the use of social media (especially Twitter) to cut loose the clarion call to inform the socially inclined about the newest location of a pop-up store or even what’s on the menu of your favorite BBQ joint on wheels.

Second screen TV: Those in the video world (tech side, that is) have whispered in my ear that 2013 will be the year that second screen/social TV makes the leap from boosting ratings and offering engagement to selling stuff. Not only is content recognition technology getting better and folks such as Apple and Microsoft are building tighter integration between mobile device and TV, commerce platform providers are working closely with online video publishing platform, providers (OVPPPs such as Brightcove, Ooyala) to provide an experience that syncs TV offers with product databases. Think QVC on the iPad and you get the picture.

Consumer review phobia: Recent court cases where vendors and physicians have sued consumers for malicious comments on review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List may create a chilling effect on how honest reviewers are when encountering a bad experience. We will discuss this in more detail in some upcoming research.

How does this list compare to yours? Let us know.

Category: digital-marketing  

Tags: digital-marketing  

Allen Weiner
Research VP
7 years at Gartner
23 years IT industry

Allen Weiner shares insights on how to monetize digital marketing through commerce. His focus on “Commerce Everywhere” provides perspective on how social, mobile, search and emerging channels can be tapped to improve customer experiences and drive business results … Read Full Bio

Thoughts on 2013: The Year Ahead in Digital Commerce

  1. BJ Cook says:

    Solid list Allen. Surprised no one has commented on this. One of the glaring trends we’re seeing is the emergence of “commerce” related startups around the country. People aren’t just obsessed with creating the next social network, but innovating in the area of commerce, whether it be within a niche or the customer experience. What I appreciate the most about your list is that “context” will continue to be important in really nailing that omni-channel strategy. With the emergence of the “anywhere customer,” brands will need to understand how the emerging platforms and tools across the areas you listed, facilitate an engagement point in each stage of their customer’s lifecycle.

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