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5 takeaways from the May is Marketing Month Workshop in New York

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May is Marketing Month officially kicked off with the 1/2 day digital retailing workshop in New York City on May 1. Retailers and solution providers gathered at the Park Central Hotel in the Big Apple to hear the latest research and trends impacting retailers. Here are five things everyone was buzzing about.

Smartphone vs. tablet: The right place at the right time.

The prevalence and popularity of mobile devices has put information at our finger tips. But when it comes to e-commerce, the time of day, situation, and channel can be the difference between browsing and buying. Providing a glimpse at the and Forrester Research's 2012 Mobile Commerce Study, comScore’s Jennifer Vlahavas and The Partnering Group’s Peter Leech explained why retailers must create strategies to cater to social shoppers on these mobile platforms. Since smartphones can be (quite literally) attached at the hip, it makes sense for retailers to create an interactive interface for customers to browse while in the store. Tablets, on the other hand, provide a better experience for consumers when making the decision to buy. According to the study, consumers are two times more likely to use their tabley of a smartphone to make a purchase. The entire study will be released later this year.

Pinterest and retailers: A match made in (retail) heaven.

At just two years young, the founders of Pinterest could create a board dedicated just to the site's buzz. Of particular interest, over two-thirds of women users leave a retailer’s board on Pinterest to explore their website. But the most staggering figure is that of this group, women making $75,000 or more per year are 30% more likely to make a purchase from a retailer’s site.

The ‘tech titans' reign.

Just over a decade ago, Amazon just sold books, Apple was wrestling with its place in the computer industry, and Facebook wasn't even a glimmer in Zuckerberg's eye. And while Google was busy mastering a search engine algorithm, eBay was a one-of-kind auction website that consumers were trying to figure out. Fast forward to 2012, where each of these companies have an undeniable influence on the way retailers and shoppers interact. As the SAS Institute’s Lori Schafer pointed out, the market cap of these five tech titans – a little shy of $1 trillion – is more than twice that of the 5 largest U.S. retailers. As these “fab five” continue to have the means to drive innovation, it will be pivotal for retailers to either collaborate or push the envelope themselves to thrive in the next generation of the digital marketplace.

Gilt Groupe CMO: 'The future of shopping is now'.

Gilt Groupe founder and Chief Merchandising Officer Alexandra Wilkis Wilson discussed how Gilt has been on the cutting edge with their Pin it to Unlock It campaign on Pinterest, their email personalization techniques, and lessons learned from their mobile apps. And the success of their recently launched international mobile app will be a good barometer when it comes to global retail in the mobile scene.

The potential for "SoLoMo" is relatively untapped.

By now, we've all heard of applications like Foursquare that enable users to use GPS on their mobile phones "check-in" at their current location. The term SoLoMo has been coined to describe the fusion of social media, local commerce, and mobile connectivity that comes with these applications. But as Forrester's Melissa Parrish pointed out, SoLoMo goes beyond check-ins - it gives merchants access to a new kind of consumer that is super-connected, highly educated and high-earning. Parrish encouraged the audience to think beyond of the check-ins and develop personalization opportunities to connect with this highly motivated audience. As May is Marketing Month rolls on, the content will continue to get in the nitty-gritty of online retailing. Check out the calendar of events to see what opportunities remain to fine tune your digital retail marketing strategies.