“It’s no longer about expecting a customer to find your store, you have to bring the store to the consumer wherever she shops — at home, in the car, a coffee shop or a competitor’s aisle,” said Lori Schafer, executive adviser for retail at SAS Institute and co-author of “Branded: How Retailers Engage Consumers With Social Media and Mobility.” A store could be on Facebook, in a social game, on a billboard or on a blog.
“To cut through the clutter, brands have to be everywhere,” said Karen Robinovitz, chief creative officer of social media agency Digital Brand Architects and founder of Purple Lab makeup. “Retail has to become much more ubiquitous. People have to really step outside their comfort zones.”
• In 2011, more retailers will launch stores on Facebook, much as Rue La La, Gilt, J.C. Penney, 1-800-Flowers, Best Buy and others have.
• Expect to see more widget stores that live on blogs or any site but have no fixed Web address, such as custom shoe retailer JeffSilverman.com.
• Stores in ads. Streetwear boutique Moxsie was one of the first to try this with an online ad for a sneaker that could be clicked and purchased without leaving the page or the ad.
• Shopping via mobile phone is skyrocketing, with 11 percent of Web shoppers reporting they purchased via mobile phone last year, according to ForeSee Results. More retailers will adapt their sites to mobile, and some will partner with app companies such as Foursquare to alert customers about special offers while they’re shopping inside competitors’ stores, as Best Buy has done via TheFind.