“Planes, Trains and Automobiles” – Editorial from the January 2011 edition of InternetRetailing Magazine

I’ve just published the web version of my Editorial for the January 2011 issue of our Magazine. You can see it on Internet Retailing’s site here:


There’s also a link to the digital ‘page turner’ edition, also now published online.

“Purchandising” – Editorial from November 2010’s issue of Internet Retailing Magazine

I’ve just published the web version of my Editorial for the November 2010 issue of our Magazine. You can see it on Internet Retailing’s site here:


There’s also a link to the digital ‘page turner’ edition, also now published online.

“No more eCommerce – it’s Total Retail” – Editorial from September 2010’s issue of Internet Retailing magazine

Here’s my editorial from the September 2010 edition of Internet Retailing magazine. You can see this article in the digital edition here:


We’ve long predicted that multiple channels will give way to an integrated commercial approach, but inspired by the World Cup – and not allowing his utter ignorance of football to stand in his way – Ian Jindal reflects on the lessons from the Beautiful Game’s radical transformation in the 1970s, drawing parallels with today’s changes: welcome to the age of Total Retail.

In January’s column, we looked forward to a year in which Boards would place ever-increasing demands on the eCommerce teams, and that eCommerce leaders will need to become rounded, commercial leaders in order to secure their role on the Board. Since January we’ve also seen the rise of mobile and m-commerce and this has increased the pace of innovation and digital development, further eroding channel boundaries. M-Retailing.net, our new title, charts the increased pace of change, but there remains a nagging feeling that the game has changed.

In our businesses we expect our teams to combine deep functional expertise, with a non-trivial appreciation of other disciplines, and finally an ability to assimilate and master change situations, new skills and the changes in customer behaviour and demands. Admittedly there’ll be training – both corporate and self-directed – but there is also a need to reconsider the way we manage and lead our digital teams, as well as the wider business, to achieve against these demands.

In the 1970s there was a similar need to change the approach to football. With faster balls and pitches, increased professionalism and training demands, the static tactical approaches that ranged lines of offence and defence against each other had become turgid. The insight was to create a system where any player could take over the role of any other player – fluidly, autonomously and to great effect. A multitalented player would be expected to be an attacker, a midfield play-maker and a defender – seamlessly and without pause. A jack of all trades and master of most.

Central to the tactical approach of Total Football were the notions of creating space, flexibility and collaboration, founded upon rigorous and demanding training and a proactive attitude, always seeking opportunity and taking initiative.

Likewise the modern eCommerce team. For ‘creating space’ we have the need to create commercial opportunity – even amidst the mayhem and turmoil of minute-by-minute trading. Members of a Total Retail team are expected to act commercially, create opportunities, despite the pressures of daily activity.

The notion of multitalented team-members is also vital. Not only must there be an appreciation and understanding of other people’s skills, but team members must also be able to make a credible contribution in other areas. No more “I am a marketeer” or “I am a technologist” – eCommerce professionals must be both (as well as operationally savvy and commercially astute). Indeed, we created the MSc in Internet Retailing as a programme to assist the development of multi-talented leaders for our industry.

One aspect not present in the 1970s was “fan power”, or ‘customer power’. Our colleagues in store have the most intimate human contact with some customers, but across the whole business it’s the multi-touch, extensive digital contacts that give eCommerce professionals a privileged insight to the customer’s activities. With social media we have an enviable view of the customer’s attitudes and activities beyond the shopping experience in our domains. Further, considering m-commerce and mobile interaction, we’re increasingly able to gain more insight into customers’ behaviour even when they’re not “online” and explicitly shopping or researching.

Total Retail is the opportunity for us to progress from a simple injunction to ‘be more skilled and commercial’ to an approach of being more engaged with customers – at every stage of consideration, socialising, learning, buying and sharing. Being of service to a demanding, knowledgeable and social customer, at all times, places and points of attention. It’s a fully committed approach. To deliver upon this demand we need both to hone our individual skills as players, and to develop a ‘game play’ that is open, flexible and enterprising. The tenets are skills, flexibility, collaboration and creating opportunity.

This shift will be uncomfortable and demanding, even upon those who believe it to be a necessity (and an opportunity). However, it’s likely that our customers will come to expect this sooner than the majority of retailers will respond – meaning significant spoils for those who can bring sparkle to the retail game, much as the Dutch shook up football 40 years ago. Time for us all to embrace Total Retail, and we’ll return to this theme again over the coming year.

Speaking: the Endeca Retail Dinner


Just back from the rarified atmosphere of Mosimann’s  for the Endeca Retail Dinner.

Great group of people – Shop Direct, RS Components, Wiggle, Game, Tui… fun to catch up with people and meet new faces.

Endeca sponsored the last InternetRetailing CEO Dinner (see the photoset of Dinner05) and we had a wonderful and relaxed evening, so I was pleased to accept the invitation to say a few words to open (or delay!) dinner. I covered some topics from recent editorials – changes in retail, the growth of the voice of the customer, the challenges to eCommerce Directors as they embrace multi-channel and move to the Board table, and – of course – my most recent editorial on Total Retail, brining the skills, attitudes and approaches together.

We eat in the “Mappin & Webb” room (goodness only knows why the rooms are named after retailers and brands – the others are Mont Blanc, Davidoff, Bentley, Parmigiani Fleurier…). I had visions of watch salespeople jumping out mid-course, but the goods were locked in glass cabinets around the outer edges of the room. Mosimann’s is in a converted 19th century church and the M&W room was the old belfry.

Great venue, but I wonder why it wasn’t just called the Belfry… 😉 Meanwhile, any guesses welcomed as to how much M&W pay to sponsor the room, whether anyone takes that seriously, and how would you measure the ROI on the cost?

Thanks to Endeca for being great hosts and making the evening happen.

TheAppLounge – launched tonight

Just back from Wardour Street where I was pleased to have spoken a few words at the launch of TheAppLounge ‘pop up’ experience store.

You can see details at www.theapplounge.com, but in brief it’s a place to meet, socialise, experience and understand software and technology in support of one’s ‘digital life’.

Alexander Grünsteidl (Senior Director of User Experiences at Method), who conceived the AppLounge sums it up:

“The AppLounge is a pilot store that aims to bridge the gap between the in-store and online retail experience. The space is designed to encourage customers to slow down, have a drink, and sample a variety of applications and accessories on display.”

I’ve had numerous discussions with Alexander over the years since we were introduced by Nico Macdonald at an Innovation Reading Circle evening, and he’s been working on ways to change the relationship between brands and customers, and the way products are designed for markets, for a number of years via his Digital Wellbeing Labs.

The AppLounge will be open as follows:

15 September, 2010 – 2 October, 2010 at

Meza, 100 Wardour Street, London W1F 0TN

Global eCommerce Summit (GES): Chairing a roundtable

I was pleased to be invited to the GES in Monaco, an attempt by our friends and Shop.org and BBP of the Netherlands to work with EMOTA and other associations to create a pan-European high level conference in a similar vein to the big US conferences (like Shop.org and Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition, IRCE).


The venue was astounding and the weather, erm, “convivial” to say the least. The hotel/resort had much of the US golf/leisure complex feel of Florida-based conferences, but I’m stunned to discover that the costs of putting on an event in Monaco are so much cheaper than London, Amsterdam or Barcelona. Mental note for the future, even if the destination has unfortunate resonances in a time of parsimony and corporate belt-tightening.

The speaker list was excellent, the company stimulating and the conference venue was just excellent, if a little on the massive-and-vacant side. Stepping out onto sun-drenched balconies, of course, removed even the slightest, curmudgeonly tendency to complain 😉

Some images from the Summit below, and more photos available on my Flickr set (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ikj/sets/72157622703241718/with/4061051725/)

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Internet Retailing 2009 – our best conference to date

October’s conference season’s highlight (for me, anyway) was the fourth Internet Retailing conference – IR2009.

While I’m of course biased (!) the conference saw our highest attendance (just under 1,000 in total, with 450 full delegates), an expanded roster of exhibitors and, crucially, the introduction of our plenary keynote session to open the day. Novotel Show_2009_013.jpg

We were privileged and inspired to hear from Peter Fitzgerald (Retail Industry Head at Google UK), Jane Judd who heads customer service at Zappos and Robin Terrell, MD of John Lewis Direct. Any of these speakers alone would have made a wonderful conference opener, but to have all three was a luxury (one that we intend to repeat in future years – I think we now realise that one can’t have too much of a good thing!).

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Peter, above, gave us Google’s view on the ever-increasing pace of change, and the need for retailers continually to ‘up their game’ to remain competitive. A chilling message, delivered with Peter’s usual charm and clarity.

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Robin wowed the audience with his combination of shared insights and facts (his openness was astounding and very highly praised) along with a down-to-earth pragmatism about the tasks and challenges ahead. I won’t précis his speech (you can see the full video on the conference since) but I’ve never seen before 1,000 people, as one, dive to write notes at a speaker’s every utterance.

Robin’s speech was one of the best keynotes I’ve seen and one of the most highly-rated ever at our conference.

Jane, below, took a few moments to introduce us to the Zappos way and then peeled layer after layer away to reveal a characterful and savvy underpinning to “The Zappos Way”.

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For the rest of the day it was intense networking as well as note-taking and idea-exchanging in the three parallel streams. Here are some photos from the day…

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Morten Kamper, CEO of the Danish eCommerce and Distance Selling Federation (FDIH) asking a question of the keynote speakers

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Mark “Many Phones” Pigou, my business partner in InternetRetailing and the conference promoter. Odd to see him smiling until the very last stand is down and the feedback is in…

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Mike “Dr Mike” Baxter, redoutable Stream Chair, engaged on a panel…

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Rob “I’m Listening” Prevett, IR’s Account Director, personing the stand at the show…


… and humour (plus marketing budget!) from Jacob Salamon at Bazaarvoice. They’ve enlivened our conference for the last couple of years with “Badge Flares” – adhesive messages for the bottom of delegate badges – but this year pulled an “homage”. Great fun, and I’ve used this image in lieu of a business card for a while since. Thanks Jacob 😉

The 2010 conference information is already available at http://screenevents.co.uk/IR2010/index.html and I’m looking forward already to building on the success of 2009 to make our fifth annual event even better!

London College of Fashion – speaking

For the last couple of years I’ve spoken at the invitation of the London College of Fashion to their final year students on an aspect of eCommerce.

This year I spoke on “The Future of Internet Retailing – considerations for fashion (r)etailing”.

Great audience and some excellent questions, and of course the deck’s available on Slideshare:



Closing keynote at the Bazaarvoice Social Commerce Summit

Last year I spoke at the Bazaarvoice Social Media Summit event at the Magic Circle, so I was pleased to return this year for an enlarged event, held at the wonderful Shakespeare’s Globe.

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The day’s agenda is here: http://www.socialcommercesummit.co.uk/agenda.html and you can also see photos of the event on the Flickr set – http://www.flickr.com/photos/owiber/sets/72157622418861263/.

Ze Frank’s presentation was excellent: dynamic, engaging and inspiring – and delivered with energy and humour. His life is a blend of conceptual art, social experiments and situationalist improv. I rather fancy being him if and when I ever grow up. Surely, the biggest plus point of the interwebs is that they provide a milieu for minds like Ze’s to thrive?

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I developed some themes from earlier in the year – epiphenomenology in particular – linking this to the idea of engagement and the challenges of relevance, culminating in the ‘profit per engagement-second’ metric suggestion.

Sam Decker’s given a great round-up of the day on the BV blog – http://www.bazaarvoice.com/blog/2009/10/13/summit-up-bazaarvoice-wraps-uk-social-commerce-summit/.

Congratulations to the BV team (and the ‘master of ceremonial preparation’, Jacob Salamon, for organising such a fun event.

UPDATE: some nice real-time responses to my presentation on Twitter:

Brett Hurt
Twitter : Brett Hurt: Ian Jindal of Internet Ret ..._1255283213577.png

Justin Goring

Twitter : Justin Goring: Ian Jindal of Internet Ret ..._1255283262311.png

Björn Woltermann

FDIH – keynote at the 2009 eCommerce Conference in Copenhagen

I was extremely pleased to be invited to speak at the Danish eCommerce Federation’s (FDIH) annual conference in Copenhagen on 30 September/1 October by my friend, Morten Kamper, FDIH’s Director.


I was still enthusing about my experiences of FDIH, Copenhagen and the knowledgeable Danish eCommerce community from my April visit, but the opportunity to speak alongside Trevor Johnson of Facebook and Neil Morgan of Omniture made participation a ‘must do’.

The venue was once again the IT University – great location and wonderful facilities.


As usual there was the amazing Danish welcome, the stupendously beautiful weather for a pre-conference afternoon’s wanderings with the Minolta CLE (which rather showed its 20+ years’ age and developed a shutter timing problem – and therefore a trip to RG Lewis upon return for ‘Clean, Lubricate, Adjust’).

Images from the conference, including me in full flow, are available here:

While I didn’t get invited to the Climate Conference later in the month, I can’t wait for an opportunity to go back to Copenhagen. I was however pleased to see Morten later in the month both at InternetRetailing’s 2009 conference and then in Monaco. October was a gruelling conference month!