Retail Predictions and Convictions for 2013

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.

Peter Weedfald is President of Gen One Ventures, a sales, marketing and brand-product consulting company. He has served as SVP, Chief Marketing Officer of Circuit City, SVP of Sales and Marketing in North America for Samsung, and SVP of global marketing and EEVP, GM & Chief Marketing Officer for ViewSonic.
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  • Jim Feeney

    Some good information buried under a mountain of trendy, obfuscating language. Would have been a much better article in plain old english.

  • Bruce Freeman

    Peter Weedfald is truly the guru of internet marketing. Hi tips and insights are incredible. I hope to see more articles by Peter.

  • Al DiGuido

    Pete is right on the money with much of what he outlines in this article. I truly believe that he has left the best for last in his predictions and observations. Online metrics provide retailers the ability to be much more efficient in the ways that they communicate with their customers if they put CRM initiatives at the top of their list. The entire retailing marketing strategy needs to be much more "direct to consumer" minded. All of this great information that the consumer provides the retailer…during their interaction with a brand /offer needs to be leveraged so that that communications can be refined and made more powerful. All of what Pete outlines here is right on the money and the industry has been moving in this direction for some time. It has always been the case that brands who understood one customer…multiple channel touchpoints…became leaders in their sectors. Retailers/ Dealers should heed Pete’s comments here…and get moving on adopting strategies that reflect the new intersections between content/offer & buyer… media etc….In 2013, as Weedfald indicates….those who don’t adopt this strategy agressively will be OOB. – There is still time to change….just not alot.

  • Bill Beaver

    Peter, you’ve provided a lot of great information for the retailer and the manufacturer. I believe your "right on" about the advances that will take place in 2013 with advertising and expansion of all forms of business via the online sector. Mastering the art of the social world has become omni important for all of us. Your comment about manufactures involvement in the selling cycle should be a wake up call to those who are so deeply involved that they detract from the very companies who are promoting their products. As we all know, the great companies market their products and support the retailers who have a much better pulse on the wants and needs of the consumer.

  • Chris Cudina

    Peter’s insight into the ever changing retail enviroment is spot on. He has once again capture today’s landscape and has given a brief blueprint to any company or business leader on how to navigate and tackle it in 2013 and beyond. These times are certainly changing and Peter Weedfald advice will help guide you to a customer rich enviroment.

  • John Reilly

    Yes! Black Friday is becoming irrelevant as a single point of promotion and is no longer the "official" start to the Holiday season. As more retailers begin their holiday push earlier in the calendar, they merely shift consumer dollars from one day to another or spread the spend over more days. Who is getting her to spend more? For Brick retailers to win they must, as Mr. Weedfald explains so well, capitalize on the power of data to quickly respond to consumer demands and competitive threats. Having the right product, at the right time and at the right price is no longer enough, to truly compete, to truly be a market leader, retailers and manufacturers should take Mr. Weedfalds’ insights to heart and truly innovate and differentiate or find themselves out of the race. Really enjoyed this!

  • CLO

    I couldn’t agree more on the Retail CRM is the most profitable engine and I might add most powerful marketing tool retailers can use to boost their customer loyalty, retention and even predict future consumer behavior. This is a tool that can be used collaboratively between retailers and manufacturers to synergize product development, product assortment and profitable price points. Both sides of the commerce – manufacturers and sales channels – can absolutely benefit from Retail CRM, a powerful knowledge pool.

  • Andy Restivo

    Peter has once again nailed it with this very smart and incisive glimpse into the crystal ball for retail. The last three feet for retailers truly will be "everywhere and anywhere." One might argue that in a matter of a few years we have moved from single channel to multichannel to omnichannel and now beyond: to a place where it’s no longer about channels, but instead about integrated, yet still often independent touch points in web, mobile, social, kiosks, store, etc.. The challenge for retailers and their "Chief Metric Officers" is to figure out how to use data and analytics to find ways to engage customers on more than just price, to make shopping across these touch points a more enjoyable experience, rather than just another trip to pick up what’s on sale.

  • Sal Tofano

    Peter thanks for an insightful and smart prognosis for retail industry. Your assessments are spot on and like any businesses that innovate and stay customer focused, there will be those that succeed and those that fail. Our world is experiencing a technology, communications, commerce, social and media revolution that substantially dwarfs the Industrial Revolution. A recent Wall Street Journal’s article spotlighted 4 old school retailers – JC Penney, Radio Shack, Sears and Best Buy and what there current strategies are and how they will make or break. I predict that there will be some fall out and there will be new retailers and e-tailers to take their place. While the trend continues to support on line and mobile purchasing as more consumers have control and consumer like content, is king, there will inevitably be a shift back and forth with traditional retailing and on line. I see growth in products and retailers and on line where the decision has already been made in the consumers mind and there is no need for physical presence to examine the product. I see online becoming the catalyst to shape and mold the future of brick and mortar and the possibility of creating better and more rewarding retail experiences. The growth of mobile, smart phones , tablets while increasing as tools used for purchasing, evaluating brands, researching products will also become much more integrated into the brick and mortar experience and vice versa. We are at the genesis of universal e commerce and retailing explosion !

  • Flora Frčko

    I’m a Member of the Board of a CE company with retail stores in Croatia. It’s a very good article! Systematic, analysis/insight in the CE retail problems fighting for its market position and profit in the new market environment. I think all retailers should take your 14 retail observations seriously into consideration. And not just that, all of them should be applied!
    Flora Frčko

  • Bob

    Peter, You have assembled an outline for a course in Sales, Marketing and Media for 2013 and beyond. Each of your topics are relevant today. Your observations can be considered individually or in some combination, to create an action plan for improving performance. The ideas are scalable for businesses of any size. The decision maker can prioritize as each point is framed through risk or opportunity. The simplicity of the list makes this a great article.
    Bob Appleby

  • Bob

    Peter, You have assembled an outline for a course in Sales, Marketing and Media for 2013 and beyond. Each of your topics are relevant today. Your observations can be considered individually or in some combination, to create an action plan for improving performance. The ideas are scalable for businesses of any size. The decision maker can prioritize as each point is framed through risk or opportunity. The simplicity of the list makes this a great article.
    Bob Appleby

  • Manish Sharma

    Nicely written article. Appreciate the way you have analysed some of the points here. Spot on. Good job Peter.