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A report published by a retail group each year provides a listing of stores, sellers, ideas, people, and concepts that it considers the most influential for that year. Although some trends appear nearly every year, a few surprises invariably sneak up—or down—the list.

The most recent version lists two technology giants in the first and second positions: Amazon and Apple. The editors note that Amazon, which once might have seemed like a fad, has revolutionized the very way people buy things. Even as it has been doing so, Apple has reinventing how we understand technology and our uses of it—and making us demand style along with our tech.

Although both the top two spots cite retailers, broader concepts, such as the economy and unemployment rates, mobile commerce, and discounting, appear in the top ten as well. From these influences, marketers must learn that even the greatest efforts might struggle when the environment makes consumers unlikely to buy.

Such a report offers marketers a great tool, indicating both examples they might follow and trends they need to adapt to in their efforts.

Source: Retail Customer Experience, Top 100: Retailers, Issues, and Trends that Are Making an Impact. Louisville, KY: Networld Media Group, 2012