2014 Retail Predictions
In 2014, retailers will finally have a "it's not who you are in the inside, it's what you do that counts" moment regarding buzzy phrases like "omnichannel," "showrooming" and "big data." That is, retailers will intensively focus on how consumers interact with their brand in every way possible. As such, customer experience management (CXM) will move front and center in 2014, replacing omnichannel as the main driver for retailers. Expect customer-rich experiences anchoring retail goals throughout 2014.
Big Data Will Be Just ‘Data’
First of all, the term "big data" won't get phased out; it will start to become more defined. In particular, retailers will begin concentrating on the most helpful data that have the biggest impact on key performance indicators. Is it time on site? Bounce rate? Conversion rate? With so much data to parse, retailers have come to the realization that big data isn't as straightforward as initially envisioned.
Big, well-funded retailers marched toward big data dominance in 2013 by establishing their own think tanks and labs (e.g., WalmartLabs). This year we'll see the next tier of retailers start to implement the technology as more retail industry solutions become available in a turnkey fashion. Having spent the last few years learning the technology and figuring out how to use it, the next tier of retailers have made heavy investments in infrastructure, technology and people, but are looking for the right big data vendor with whom they can partner. These retailers won't have the bleeding-edge big data chops that Amazon.com, Google and Netflix have, but will begin to incorporate it more thoroughly in their marketing efforts nonetheless.
The dreaded freeloader conundrum caused many sleepless nights for retailers, beginning with the ubiquity of smartphone shopping apps, but like omnichannel, showrooming will become just another piece of the customer experience puzzle. Retailers know now that showrooming is really just about price matching and availability, and are making strides to address this across the entire customer experience. Expect retailers to intensify their efforts in bridging online-offline and use showrooming to augment shoppers’ in-store experiences. In fact, retailers are already merging offline and online functionality.