Bill Bass

Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail.

The Annual Summit is consistently one of my favorite conferences of the year. Held in late summer, the event provides me with a burst of inspiration that I tap into throughout the rest of the year. This year's conference, held in Boston from Sept. 12 - 14, was no exception. Here are two insights I learned there that I'd like to share with you:

It's no surprise that the majority of cross-channel retailers are focusing their attention online when analyzing the future growth of their companies. Consumers spent $165.4 billion online last year, an increase of 14.8 percent compared to 2009, according to the U.S. Commerce Dept. While certainly eye-catching numbers, that $165.4 billion accounted for less than 5 percent (4.2 percent to be exact) of total retail spending. So you can see why there's such excitement over the future of the e-commerce space — retailers have barely scratched the surface when it comes to the medium.

Here are just five of several retail trends I learned about at INNOVATE 2011, the Retail Innovation and Marketing Conference sponsored by the National Retail Federation, held last month in San Francisco.

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