Convergence is biggest retail trend for 2013: STORES magazine

Publish Date: 
Dec 4, 2012

WHAT IS THE RETAIL BUZZWORD for 2013? Convergence. And you might not have a firm grasp on the concept, according to the editors at STORES magazine, a publication of the National Retail Federation.

STORES editors produced a list of predictions and forecasts that they believe will be retail trends for 2013. 

"Tying together the web, Big Data, analytics, mobile, social and all things digital” will be heavily used to “deliver a seamless experience to shoppers,” the editors say.

The STORES editors also anticipate that it may take a handful of years for retailers to get a firm grasp on retail convergence. Mega-retailers like Apple, Macy’s and Walmart, among others, make their business decisions with the customer squarely in mind. “They move quickly to try new things and are not afraid to make bets on emerging technology with an eye toward reshaping the customer experience,” the article notes. The secret to survival, it continues, is the ability to “change quickly.”

Other forecasts from the STORES report:

  • Mobile and digital platforms will see a number of virtual fitting rooms, smart shopping carts, personalized fit options and other mobile point-of-sale innovations.
  • Mobile shoppers won’t respond to intrusive engagement. The information must be relevant, simple and immediate.

The editors recommend combating “showrooming” – when a customer visits a store to try on or look at a product before going home and buying it online – by offering price-matching, customer loyalty programs and personalized in-store service.

According to the report, within the next year, “the customer experience is at stake, and the window is closing on those who fail to use pertinent data to improve the shopper experience across myriad touchpoints.” Read: Get personal with your customers, or they’ll find another retailer who will. One way to do it? Get in touch via social media if you haven’t already.

Whether you like it or not, the millennial generation “will reshape retail … for better or worse.”

The editors also predict that retailers will add more store associates in the coming year. “The need to have subject-matter experts —rather than mere order-takers — is critical if retailers are to hold fast to the promise of a better shopping experience,” the article states.  

To read the full report, click on this link.

Posted by Cynthia Furey