The folks over at Retail Systems Research (RSR) recently summarized a conference focused on the next generation of retailing. The key take-away is the blurring of what is retailing, or marketing in general, and what is technology. With the smart phone now the de facto decision support platform, shopping has a decidedly cyborg nature to it.
The article lists 16 different themes in the emerging storyline. Some that caught my attention:
- "Consumers don't 'see channels" - the sooner we stop thinking in terms of channels (multi-, cross- or omni-) the better. The appropriate device, channel combination will be determined by the consumer, the context and the intent at the moment.
- "retailers need to understand the path to purchase" - given the interactive nature of digital, the path is only evident in the rear view mirror. The implication is that we have to design programs that provide different types of content at different times. Thus, we're moving from 1:1 to Many:One communication planning to cover pre-to-post shopping.
- "Big Data is often 'dirty', and ... more exploratory in nature ('tell me something I didn’t know before')" - suggests a complete rethinking the role (and funding) of analysis functions. For the advanced companies, it will be just like a phone system. You don't ask what the ROI of making phone calls, do you?