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Retail Predictions and Convictions for 2013

December 31, 2012 By Peter Weedfald
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We all know the foundation, landscape, and future of brick and mortar retailing is changing forever. The mammoth social mediums, internet purchasing, information gathering, entertaining, mobile apps, consumer based social publishing, smart phones, tablets, and any other glowing boxes allowing for fast push and pull actions and reactions, are the driving forces of this change.

Specifically, social media, social networking and engineering, all coupled with instant worldwide sales opportunities and competition, has changed the necessity, style, listening skills and past engagement processes for all retailers. Traditionally store traffic, size of basket and consumer future store visits and buying habits within were the core focus and measurement of revenue and margin pools for success. 2013 declares there is much more to opportunity and or failure through our new hyper-changing retail business than measurements past.  
As buying audiences have gone wild, deep, wide and e-mobile in their internet hunts even while standing in a retail location, as they have proven lackluster loyalty to retail brands over time, hunting rather for best price for the same sku's, it is surely time, as we enter the retail business pylon of 2013 for retail to change, to reset for competitive growth. To better study the engaging (or lack of) traffic dynamics based upon a dynamically changing, multi-modal world of colossal consumer choice in retail buying.
The new, must have metric-based tectonic foundation for retailers to be measured daily in a back office war room across multiple online, all the time viewing screens are:

1. Multi-channel retail strategy and investments.
2. Capacity advantage in the language of better sharing retail assets with manufacturers and consumers.
3. Active consumer and competitive research with data analysis and immediate pro-action.
4. Team activation ensuring each retail employee is a social network driver because they believe in your retail benefits for friends, neighbors and consumers.
5. Social measurements with fast capitalization re-action plans.
6. CRM data mining back and front end to mature market opportunity.
7. A well tooled and constructed social engineering platform to listen, to engage to attract and convert consumers into retail brand fans, into lifelong buyers.
As we begin our march into 2013, I offer 14 (yes, one extra one for the new year) retail observations, or if you like, predictions for smart, positive changes, augmentations and expectations to ensure retail growth, retail multi-channel advantage and profitable margin pool management to stimulate growth:   
1. Retail Push & Pull Are Won in 2013: e-Tailors have been training consumers for a decade to enjoy instant ownership through price gratification after searching for product information, selecting their brand and then instantly "pulling" the trigger to buy on the internet spot. Watch all retailers begin to aggressively extend their push and pull prowess across all advertising, social and marketing trigger points to best capitalize on their brand equity, their costly brand promise and position. In essence, the last three feet of the sale for retailers will be everywhere and anywhere as opposed to somewhere.
2. Retail Real-Time Bidding (RTB) Becomes Full Time and Hyper-Aggressive in 2013: In the language of real-time bidding, retail online ad impressions can be evaluated, bought, and sold, individually and or all instantaneously. Buying and selling exchanges and retailers will work closely together to programmatically sell, place and nano-measure bids on advertisements. Real-time bidding seeks to ensure impressions are cost effective while targeting relevant buyers in the right place at the right time. Real-time bidding accounted for 20% of all paid impressions during Q3 2012, jumping during the heavy sales week of Black Friday to range from 40 to 45% of all paid impressions (50-65% in the shopping vertical). Source: PubMatic.

3. Retail Online Advertising Will Explode In 2013: The new year will be yet another rough and tumble year for all brick retailers due to costly SG&A's (above 25%), a weak economic recovery and a rapid consumer shift to on-line and mobile purchasing. Online advertising revenues grew a whopping 18% year-over-year in Q3 2012 from $7.82 billion to $9.26 billion (latest quarterly revenue report from the Internet Advertising Bureau). As the previous peak of $8.97 billion was set in the fourth quarter of 2011, we can easily expect on-line advertising to break through the $10 billion mark in the fourth quarter of 2012. Retailers have been shoring up their on-line advertising investments and will smartly explode and promulgate their multi-channel benefits against  on line only competitors in 2013.


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