NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- If you're still in doubt that a major shift is taking place in the retail sector, peruse the roster of speakers who took the podium for the Financo Forum held in New York City Monday night.

What has traditionally been an A-list panel consisting of department store veterans and merchandizing big-wigs, was this year revamped to include a slew of social media execs and techies.

Financo, an investment banking firm that caters solely to the merchandising sector, has been hosting this buzz-worthy event for 21 years, usually igniting rigorous debates (and the occasional raucous one) among the list of CEOs in attendant.

But the panel, which included Rue La La's CEO Ben Fischman, Google's ( GOOG) retail industry director Daniel Schock, Lululemon Athletica ( LULU) founder Chip Wilson and Facebook executive Stephen Zangre, was subdued this year. CNBC anchor Nicole Lapin moderated the round-table discussion, along with Financo's chairman Gilbert Harrison.

Technology's impact (specifically Facebook and Google) on the retail industry was the push-button topic, drawing among the 300-plus attendees in the room a veritable "Who's Who" in the industry, including J.Crew's ( JCG) Mickey Drexler, Saks' ( SKS) Steve Sadove, Coach's ( COH) Lew Frankfort and footwear mogul, Steven Madden, all questioning if their companies are doing enough.

"We have been successful not because we are selling merchandise at a value, but because we are creating urgency and excitement," Fischman said. Rue La La, whose parent is GSI Commerce ( GSCI), is an invitation-only sample sale site. "It's about the sex and sizzle," Fischman continued.

Darts were thrown at Amazon ( AMZN), which did not have a representative at the Harmonie Club, as the panelists likened the e-commerce giant to Wal-Mart ( WMT). While Amazon owns a foothold in nearly every category, Fischman said Amazon isn't a merchandiser. "There's no theater there," he said. "Amazon is about convenience, but great retail isn't about convenience."

Indeed, the panelists all agreed that in order for brick-and-mortar to compete with Amazon, the focus needs to be on elevating service. Likewise, all agreed that mobile shopping will be at the forefront in 2011. "If only now you are starting to think about creating a mobile app, you are incredibly late," Fischman warned.

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