By Rob Garf 

Demandware CEO Tom Ebling kicked off XChange 2014  yesterday by reflecting on the last 10 years and our four unique tenets that have been consistent since day one.

Next, Tom went on to highlight the vast opportunities and threats that our industry faces. These threats include the Amazon effect, vertical integration, digitally empowered consumers and the steady march of new technology costs. To compete against these threats in tomorrow’s retail, Tom declared that everyone must choose when they’re going to win on price and convenience, and when they will compete by delivering a distinct brand experience.

Retail Imperatives

When retailers choose to compete on experience, they must acknowledge and address three imperatives in the business:

  • Commerce is Ubiquitous: As cars begin to drive themselves and drones start delivering pizzas and packages to your front door, commerce will be more ubiquitous than ever. As Tim O’Reilly declared 15 years ago in his Web 2.0 manifesto, “the web is the platform.” The web – and the cloud – will enable commerce to seep into everything. Examples that Tom shared include Jawbone, Samsung’s smart watches and WeChat, all of which provide the capability to facilitate instant commerce beyond the traditional screens and form factors.
  • Data as Currency: Turning data into currency is a huge imperative for retailers today as they look to harness the vast amount of data generated from consumers. Google is a perfect example. Almost every service they provide is FREE, except for the intelligence they extract and sell to savvy marketers looking for an edge. Our cloud platform, as Tom pointed out, gives us the same ability to have our clients leverage data for their consumer-centric initiatives. We had over 223 million unique consumers visit Demandware-powered retailer and brand websites during 2013 and we processed more than 81 million orders for them. When we thoughtfully start to mine this fertile information flowing through our cloud, our community will be able to optimize experience and engage consumers in exponentially more – and more relevant – interactions.
  • Community is Power: Community is Power in retail (and everywhere) today and tomorrow. Prime examples include Kickstarter, which has crowd-funded $1 billion across 224 countries to propel great ideas into realities; Deliv, which has assembled an army of couriers who deliver packages within hours; and Waze, which is turning their 48 million drivers on the road into one real-time, organic traffic updater. Waze has major possibilities for location-based merchandising by sending offers, information and updates to entice travelers to pull off the highway and into stores.