With the holidays behind us, economy watchers are waiting for the numbers to signal consumer confidence and spending is back. Early signs seem to indicate it is. According to ComScore, Cyber Monday lived up to its name in 2011 as the Monday after Thanksgiving racked up $1.25 billion in online retail sales, the biggest day in the history of US e-retailing. Nine other days topped $1 Billion during the 2011 holiday season. ComScore also reported e-commerce sales for the period from Nov 1 through Dec 25 increasing by 15 percent over the corresponding days the year earlier.
E-commerce and its super hip sister m-commerce is growing by leaps and bounds. Why? Because better technology is making the process and user experience easier, consumers trust and enjoy the internet more and it's become ridiculously convenient. Content strategy, video, analytics and social media are revolutionizing the way people shop. And the most exciting part is, we've only just begun.
During our weeklong festival last September, FutureM, all about the future of Marketing, it became clear that we are seeing a surge in local innovative and successful e-commerce plays. Everything from new business models, advancements in the mobile and cross channel markets and tech companies that build platforms to help companies to sell and promote their wares online. But I'd bet most Bostonians don't even realize how much is going on right in our backyard.
So here are five things to know about our Internet business community, listen up:
- Staples.com is the #2 e-commerce site in the world. Yep, right there in Framingham. Nuff said. And you only need to hang out in Back Bay to meet up with someone from Wayfair, one of the largest home goods e-commerce sites in the world. Turns out even Amazon realizes the richness that's here, opening an office in Cambridge in a few weeks!
- Tech geniuses in Cambridge and around 128 are reinventing the shopping experience for websites and major brands all over the world. Yes, I'm talking about Demandware, Akamai, and Endeca (recently acquired by Oracle) to name a few. These companies have created platforms to get retailers rolling with everything they need to engage customers across devices and channels.
- Innovative Boston-based entrepreneurs are creating new business models that are the next wave of selling online, see Gemvara for me-commerce, Daily Grommet for citizen commerce and BabbaCo for subscription commerce. In fact, our own Rue La La practically invented the private sale model of e-commerce that's become the shopping addiction of the forever stylish.
- Mobile phones and tablets are literally changing the face of e-commerce and helping it flourish. According to a post-holiday study from Motricity, nearly four in ten consumers (38%) used their mobile devices to purchase a gift, followed closely with to use a digital coupon or sign up for a coupon (37% each). The Boston tech scene boasts incredible developers and designers, like SapientNitro who are creating customer experiences on mobile devices that make your heart race.
- Massachusetts marketing strategists are completely changing the game when it comes to driving and maintaining customer loyalty. Deep web analytics, highly personalized email, relevant content strategy and meaningful social engagement are the new tools of success. And the companies that are creating them are right here in Boston: Hubspot, e-dialog, Compete, Constant Contact, Adobe, and on.
We are also fortunate to have a really cool set of folks who are interested in helping this community thrive ?the VCs and investors, the lawyers, the mentors? that are providing much needed support to our incredible innovators and helping to make sense of the rapidly changing landscape.
I think we are coming to an inflection point where we should rally and showcase the growth of this exciting mini-cluster. So we are. MITX is running a daylong conference all about building customer love in the digital age. Our conference will feature the leaders that are shaping the future of online shopping. These Boston based innovators are amazing. Yet one more reason to be thankful you live in here.
This very informative infographic from another awesome Boston company, BuySellAds, tells the story:
Debi Kleiman currently serves as the President of the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange, the nation's largest nonprofit trade association for digital marketing, media and internet business. Previously, she was VP of Product Marketing & Sales Operations at Communispace and spent close to 15 years as a B2C marketer for major packaged goods companies. She is a Boston World Partnerships Connector.
The author is solely responsible for the content.