Here are some of Stores Magazine’s predictions for 2012: By 2015, there are expected to be more mobile Internet users than PC users. Mobile will unify all channels of retail and will be a predictor of tomorrow’s winners in retail.
A recent survey of retailers by Accenture found that 72% of respondents plan to invest more money in analytics. Data is coming in faster and more focused than ever. Many retailers are struggling to find employees who can analyze all this data. The biggest chunk of retailers’ IT budgets will go towards investments in intelligence and analytical tools. Retailers will focus on engineered systems where software and hardware work together to realize analytics as they happen.
More retailers will follow in Bloomingdale’s and JC Penney’s footsteps and adopt RFID technology. Cloud computing will continue to grow. Many retailers are expecting inventory management to “live” in the cloud. Retailers will adopt this knowledge for future customer interactions. Video analytics will be used in-stores to study workforce management, customer engagement, out-‐of-‐stocks, and customer shopping patterns.
Companies should embrace analytics that help them understand and capture the customer emotions expressed via social media. Operations need to become more customer‐centered. Retailers should do more than just listen to the conversation; they should react and develop a co-‐creative culture with customers. Retailers need to find more creative ways to reward loyalty.
The bottom line is that 2012 will be challenging for retailers. The U.S. economy is fragile, the political system is fractured, there is political unrest abroad, and consumer sentiment is mediocre and often distracted or disinterested. Stores suggests that the most important thing a retailer can do is to stay the course in 2012 and focus on customers and merchandise planning.
1.What are the most important trends in retailing for 2012?
Source: Susan Reda, “Predictions 2012,” Stores Magazine, December 2011.