Friday, July 06, 2012

Retail Trend: Blend Instead of Separate

What does the future have in store?

Marketing Charts recently summarized research among retailers on what they see the world looking like in 5 years time.  While clearly written from a retail perspective, e.g. the first step along the path to purchase is to pick a place to shop, the scope of the discussion applies to beyond in-store behavior.  The sub-head says it all:
Omni-channel retailing is about giving customers a seamless, consistent experience whether it's in-store, online or through a mobile device.
To achieve that lofty goal the research suggests we must:
  1. Know who is shopping where and when
  2. Integrate physical and digital worlds (like IBM's test of augmented reality)
  3. Give associates the same level of information that the web site has
I can just imagine a team working to overlay the strength of data-based merchandising, think collaborative filtering in Amazon, on top of the traditional shelf-set or merchandising plan via proximity technology.  Fashion retailers are already doing similar things moving RFID from inventory control to helping consumers find sizes and accessories and creating a digital mirror to see how it looks.  

And all this produces new data upon which to glean insights on how to make the consumer's experience more enjoyable.

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