As 2013 rapidly approaches, the retail industry has a “cautious optimism and strong appetite for technology-assisted profitable growth,” according to a recent webcast from IDC Retail Insights.
The web conference, titled IDC Retail Insights Predictions 2013: Retail, discussed the results of current research and analysis on the predicted use of retail information technology. The goal of these predictions, according to the webcast, was to help retailers “identify critical planning assumptions for business and information technology decisions.”
IDC analysts Robert Parker, Greg Girard, Leslie Hand, Christine Bardwell and Ivano Ortis predicted that enterprises worldwide will spend $65 billion on industry specific solutions in 2013, while worldwide IT spending will exceed $2.1 trillion, up 5.7% from 2012. They said a rapidly increasing number of companies will leverage Big Data, cloud services and mobile applications next year.
Saks and Walmart Executives Embrace Mobile
Brand executives are focusing efforts on omni-channel strategies, such as connecting online, in-store and mobile initiatives. “Brands should make their in-store experience more mobile-friendly,” declared Denise Incandela, President and CMO of Saks Fifth Avenue, as part of the presentation. They must “combine the rich search and finding capabilities of online and mobile with the luxurious in-store environment.”
For Joel Anderson, President and CEO of Walmart.com, mobile is changing the way this retailer interacts with customers. “We have to embrace these changes [to] provide anytime, anywhere access,” he explained. “That’s what the customer is demanding.”
Omni-Channel Turning Points
In 2013, retailers will see “a turning point in terms of industry momentum around delivering the omni-channel promise,” stated Parker, Group VP. “This means we will be applying ‘new rules’ to both the customer experience and supply chain execution ― and technology will have a critical role.”
During the webcast, IDC revealed the top 10 omni-channel predictions for 2013:
- Omni-channel retail maturity will move from foundation to convergence, and from precision to immersion.
- Retailers’ omni-channel objectives will require platform and architecture investments.
- Retailers will pivot merchandising and marketing on customer analytics to drive revenue and profit, with relevance and reciprocity being the watchwords.
- Retailers will invest in customer analytics, merchandising and marketing technologies to curate commerce and contextualize communications.
- The time is right to break down marketing silos.
- Marketing processes and infrastructures will align with the omni-channel business.
- Retailers will remove barriers and instead encourage the Stop Start Shopper, defined by IDC as the use of e-Commerce and web technologies to enable a seamless customer journey across an undefined period of time and set of interactive touch points.
- Web-based customer experience touch points will converge to unify the customer journey.
- Retailers will optimize omni-channel customer service and cost by enabling trustworthy, efficient and effective supply chains (TEE SC). TEE SC was defined as the use of smart supply chain technologies (for example, software, analytics, mobile devices, sensors, social networks and cloud) to improve retailers’ economic and consumer brand strength.
- Retailers will invest in technologies that enable visibility, visualization and virtualization.
To access an on-demand version of the IDC webcast, click here.