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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.

Discussion  Question:

1.What  are  the  most  important  trends  in  retailing  for  2012?

Source: Susan  Reda,Predictions  2012,” Stores  Magazine,  December  2011.