Adam Bird, Linda Dauriz, David C. Edelman, Mathias Kullmann

Writing something as permanent as a book about something as ephemeral as the Internet seems paradoxical. But rest assured: unlike Ethan Hunt's pre-recorded briefings in Mission Impossible, this chapter will not self-destruct before your eyes. However, some of the companies mentioned in it might. There is a good chance that some of today's digital pioneers will be out of business when you read this, and today's hot topics will surely be tomorrow's “old hat.” But we believe that the underlying trends we examine in this chapter will continue to change retail marketing fundamentally.

One third of the world's population is online. Every year, more than 200 million new users link up to the Internet. And connectivity is no longer a privilege of saturated markets: out of 2.5 billion global Internet users, one billion reside in Asia. More than 60 percent of all Internet connections are already mobile connections, and mobile access is growing at a rate of more than 20 percent. Today's digital natives are online anytime and anywhere. And most importantly, more than two thirds of them say that they use web research to make purchase decisions.

At the same time, users are ever more willing to reveal who they are, what they like, and how they spend their time and money. Currently, there are some 850 million Facebook members, up from 500 million when Retail Marketing and Branding first came ...

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