A Look at What's Past...for the Future

Welcome to Retail Leader's first special issue of the year, our 2012 Annual Report.

The issue was born out of the desire to offer our readers a look at the most critical challenges that affected the industry last year. And while there was certainly no shortage of attention-grabbing headlines throughout the year, our intent was not to simply identify and record those influential moments.

Our goal, as always, is to provide context, strategy and analysis beyond the headlines that appear in your inbox every morning. In this issue we offer a look back at the events of the recent past in the hope it will prompt productive and provocative discussions about lessons learned and strategies for the future.

We've tackled some tough subjects in this issue, most notably a frank and honest look at the state of collaboration among retailers and manufacturers. We spent much of last year, along with our industry associations, singing the praises of collaboration and its many benefits. Certainly more resources are available to those who are committed to making collaboration part of their overall business strategy. However, our reporting indicates that even though the message is being heard and even welcomed, the industry has a long way to go before it is truly walking the talk.

Last year was a banner year for mobile commerce, with more retailers jumping into the social media space and more consumer apps available than ever before. As our eyes get wide with excitement at the incredible technological advances being made every day, I offer one gentle reminder. Resist the temptation to be wowed by the technology and stay focused on the strategy behind the capabilities. Whether it's a cool new app you're considering or a presence on Facebook or Twitter, make sure that you've established a sound strategy for the implementation and how it will complement your existing positions.

If you want to stand out and succeed in this new omnichannel landscape, the experience you deliver to your customers across all touch points must be shopper friendly, consistent and seamless.

"Resist the temptation to be wowed by the technology and stay focused on the strategy behind the capabilities."

– Jennifer Acevedo,

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