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Retail in the fast lane

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Retail in the fast lane
Retail in the fast lane
Sometimes being mobile editor of Internet Retailing can be a literal job. This week I have been moving around at great speed in a Tesla Model S luxury performance saloon car. All in the line duty, you understand. My excuse is that the car is internet connected with wifi and 3G and that you can actually shop in it. And I don’t mean park it in the mall car park.

As you can see in the story and video this week, the car actually lets you buy things online. it's a pretty cool car that shows not only how sustainable cars can be really great and fast, but also how the world of mobile retail is poised to transcend what we consider to be mobile devices as we know and love them.

The Tesla car is an early example of how all cars will soon be: connected to the web – not just for shopping, but for everything from navigation to entertainment to telemetry and more.

It has already started. The Apple car, which is rumoured to arrive in 2019, will of course be connected to the web. This week Google rolled out a device to connect your old stereo to the web, it won’t be long before such retro fit kit will be available for cars. Cars are going to be part of the internet of things.

The world of what constitutes an e-commerce device is set to change radically as a result and retailers need to start thinking about how to meet this need in the coming years. Soon, etail will be more about context and location than device and that radically shifts how retailers need to think.

And what better place to start that journey, if you’ll pardon the motoring-esque pun, than at Internet Retailing Conference 2015 on 14 October in London? Not only will there be some Tesla cars on display – and a fleet of them ferrying keynote speakers and VIPs to the show – but there is a raft of speakers and workshops that can help you tackle the issues of how to get ready for this shift to ‘mobile’ retailing.

The conference is festooned with how mobile is integral to omni-channel retail and this is the starting point to start to tackle where this is all going in the coming years. On a practical level, there is much to learn as to how to bring mobile into both the ecommerce and instore fold, but the show also offers the opportunity to look at what cars like the Tesla are starting to mean in terms of the rapidly changing face of e-commerce. I am hoping that having the Tesla car on display will make people think about what ‘mobile’ really means.

To me this means not operating systems or screen sizes, not optimizing for the kind of network that the device finds itself on, but rather it is about understanding the context of where that device is. If it’s a car it could well mean something very different to delivering the right experience to someone on a sofa on an iPad.

And if you want to get to IRC 2015 then you can win one of ten VIP tickets simply by telling us via twitter what you think has been the single biggest development so far in multichannel retailing, and what theme do you think will dominate the next 10 years? Tweet your answers to @etail and @ir_conf using the hashtag #IRC15.

See you there, in the fast lane.
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