2011 is drawing to a close as I am writing this blog and Cisco is going on company holiday until after January3rd 2012.
I will be taking time off myself to recharge after Christmas before heading off to National Retail Federation 2012 in New York.
I thought I’d wrap up the year with what I think retailers will need to be looking at in 2012.
The Five Areas I think retailers need to pay attention to going forward are:
Consumer driven Pricing Transparency versus Retail Pricing Optimization
WSJ just wrote an article about pricing transparency the challenges of brick and mortar retailers. Consumers can now use mobile applications to check for prices in the aisle and compare with competitors and online instantly. This new area of pricing transparency has repercussions to retailers in terms of pricing guarantees and impacts their pricing management system as well as pricing optimization vendors.
Social media and Customer Service
Companies like Federal Express is right now dealing social media amplified customer service problem. When one of their deliveries for the Christmas holidays went wrong, it was got caught on tape for 3.5 million views on YouTube. Fedex addressed the problem with the customer and released a video on YouTube addressing the complaint. Mistakes are no longer private, and retailers need to be responsive on social media going forward for both negative and positive news.
Tablet as a shopping device
I recently received an iPad as a gift with a wireless keyboard and I have been using it at home and work. I still carry my iPhone and use it heavily to manage my calendar, read Email and as a media player.
On the tablet apps like opentable.com takes advantage of the larger screen size for a better user experience, and for browsing the tablet form factor proves adequate for shopping.
As retailers had to optimize their web site for phones and small devies, they may have to optimize now for the tablet form factor and perhaps delivery tablet applications.
Omni Channel – Practical Steps from many diretions
A lot of research indicates shoppers are browsing and shopping across multiple channels like web, store, mobile, social media, etc. Retailers are responding with various service offering to address that including pickup at store of online orders, text messaging and Email notification of store orders, store returns of online orders, guest WiFi access and web ordering kiosks.
Personally I shopped at Nordstrom recently and opted for the electronic Email receipt option, now every time I shop there I am given the option of Email receipts. Apple Stores also have been electronic receipts for a while. As long as you have consumer consent, is electronic receipt another way for retailers a way of better integrating offline and online experience?
The role of Cloud in the retailers computing needs
For retailers dealing with all the challenges of new projects, the computing model going forward is going to have to handle more dynamic workloads than before. Ecommerce retailers address the seasonality of computing needs with Cloud, but brick and mortar retailers traditionally leverage a more static infrastructure. Would cloud computing be the answer to help brick and clicks retailers address new projects in 2012?
Happy Holidays and see you all at NRF 2012 in New York