Peter Drucker claimed the best way to predict the future was to create it.
As we look ahead to 2013, we encourage retailers to examine the critical issues likely to impact their businesses and take action. We predict the following will be among the most important industry trends:
- Retailers will begin to study serious organizational restructuring. We live in an age of real-time activity, and those companies that adapt will grow with an evolving new business model.
- A tangible "point of difference" for retailers will emerge from new business models and their focus on innovation. Retailers will need to emphasize their differences in the areas of products and selection, services, presentation and profitable pricing.
- Revenue generation will take priority over cost containment. As Tom Peters said, "Cost cutting is a death spiral. Magic is the top line." For an example of how to grow revenue, observe the nation's top regional retailers, and new business models. Again, positioning and point of differentiation make all the difference.
Retailers will adjust their revenue strategy and apply predictive and business intelligence in positioning their companies to differentiate between consumers and shoppers.
- Consumer insights will continue to take center stage next year. Information dedicated to just-in-time diverse demographic targeting is approaching reality show proportions. But the astute retailers will interpret this data to their clear advantage.
- Big data is so big it is overwhelming. The entire industry is being presented with detailed insights, metrics and analytics about social media, category management, assortment and pricing optimization, in-store merchandising, basket revenue optimization, loyalty marketing programs, mobile device shopping and more. Look for better, more concise user-friendly interpretation of the data.
- Health and wellness products and programs will gain importance, and retailers will better understand how to educate consumers and provide products and services to satisfy this major trend.
- Collaboration between retailers and suppliers will continue to pay dividends in billions of dollars of savings. More mutual openness, candor and win-win programs will drive this necessary practice to new heights.
Issues such as store brands, alternate channel competition and forward-looking women's diversity initiatives in the workplace will provide other challenges and opportunities in the coming year. (Look for upcoming coverage of all of these topics.)
Are we ready and prepared to create the future?
President and CEO, Stagnito Media