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2012 should be an exciting year to see the continual evolution of e-commerce. As we have now moved beyond the “fad” stage of flash sales and daily deal sites, we will see a blending of more functional and traditional ecommerce with the new game mechanics these business models bring. We are also entering into an age of situational marketing, which is a stark difference from more of the channel focused marketing of the past.

Take these situations I have been in this past week: Waiting for a train, catching up on Facebook on my laptop, Browsing on my iPad in bed.

At any of these times, I could be engaged by a brand. However, my desired experience would be significantly different based on these situations. Brands will have to customize experiences and interactions with the customer to satisfy current needs in a world where our brand is exposed in a giant matrix of time and channels. As brand marketers, we will need to take personalization to another level to compete in this environment as well as gaining a better understanding of the underlying motivation of consumers. For instance, let’s look at Gilt Man (www.gilt.com): After trying to focus on traditional product recommendations, they began to see more of a customer need around advice on styling vs product selection. Thus they shifted strategy to contextual placements of products while utilizing social channels to develop an authoritative fashion voice, which has netted great returns. Understanding underlying consumer motivations allowed them to break away from traditional methods to “sell more stuff” and create a custom strategy.

So some key questions we need to ask: How to blend entertainment & commerce effectively and manage my brand image across channels? How do I personalize experiences across devices to satisfy my customer? How do I restructure customer service in a new media world? How is personalization evolving and how do I take advantage of it?

Looking forward to discussing these and many more challenges at our Brand Innovators E-commerce Summit on March 29th in NYC. Be sure to register (http://brandinnovatorsecommerce.com/registration) and lets continue to drive innovation together!

Jason John is Sr. Director, Online, Mobile, Social Marketing at Gilt Groupe

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by Brandon Gutman
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Brandon is an expert connector and seasoned business development professional. As Principal of Brand Approved, he's led the advisory to become the bridge between brand marketers and best of breed service providers that are reshaping the industry.

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