As the holidays come and go, I can’t stop thinking about shopping, specifically:

  • how the shopping experience has changed;
  • why it has changed; and, lastly,
  • what the future of shopping will look like.

Here in the information technology, communications and entertainment (ICE) practice, we are collectively thinking about these questions. More importantly, we are thinking about how we can support our e-commerce entrepreneurs as they build their startups, which will help answer these questions and redefine the shopping experience.

We are not alone in our interest in e-commerce. According to eMarketer, Canadians will double their spending from over $16 billion in 2013 to more than $30 billion by 2015. Interestingly, their spending will be distributed across multiple devices and involve many different payment types.

This is a trend we can’t ignore. Many jobs and much wealth will spring from the e-commerce space, but unless we foster entrepreneurship to help define it, we may be left to the mercy of the larger retailers and smaller American startups that are entering the space (for example, Nordstrom, Target, Amazon and Gilt Groupe). We believe that we have the talent to create homegrown e-commerce companies that can compete globally.

To that end, we have partnered with Demac Media as a first step toward deepening and focusing our advisory services in the e-commerce sector. The partnership will combine structured mentorship, programming and networking opportunities for all e-commerce and mobile startups within the ICE practice here at MaRS.

We will offer:

  1. Office hours: One-to-one pro-bono consulting to discuss e-commerce strategies
  2. Workshops: One-to-many presentations dissecting strategies for user interface, user experience, development and extensions
  3. Interactive discussions: Designed to provide a prospective road map for design and development
  4. Monthly meetups: Public gatherings open to all those who register at eCommerce Toronto. Happening the first Thursday of every month, these gatherings will consist of roundtable discussions in which Canadian e-commerce merchants and professionals can debate various topics and share their knowledge under the e-commerce umbrella.

This is a small step toward helping e-commerce entrepreneurs—such as the following MaRS e-commerce clients—to succeed:

  1. ShelfLife: Put simply, ShelfLife is the future of collecting, ready for your use, today.
  2. HomeSav: Exceptional home furnishings at deeply discounted prices.
  3. Ethical Ocean: Selling ethical goods from around the world.
  4. SocialGift: Get your friends together to gift another.
  5. Remote Stylist: Connecting interior designers with consumers who need them and with the right furnishings to boot.

If you are an e-commerce entrepreneur interested in changing the world, join us at the next e-commerce meetup to learn more and to meet other like-minded entrepreneurs.

Alternatively, contact me directly at nmonk@marsdd.com to learn more about how the ICE practice can help.

Happy shopping!

Nathan Monk

Nathan is a Sr. Strategist, Customer Development and Mentor within the Info. technology, Communications and Entertainment (ICE) practice here at MaRS. He is a Champion of Customer Development helping startups navigate the forest for the trees and reduce the risk of failure. Follow him @cowboytweets. See more…