Future Outlook

The concept of “same shopper” sales, which puts the emphasis on how well a retailer grows sales to an individual customer across channels, will not only continue to gain momentum in 2011, but will carry organizational implications for retailers as they attempt to integrate sales channels, according to IDC Retail Insights, a retail information technology research and consulting firm. 


Indeed, the growing importance of same shopper sales as a key metric heads the list of IDC’s recently released report, “Worldwide Retail Industry 2011 Top 10 Predictions,” which also looks at projected IT spending for the year. It’s worth noting that most of the predictions are driven by consumers and the new shopping patterns that have emerged. 


“2011 begins with momentum from a good holiday season that recovery is on the way, but also with an acknowledgement that the industry has been permanently changed,” said Bob Parker, VP research, IDC Retail Insights, Framingham, Mass. “It will be imperative for retail IT organizations to cut traditional infrastructure and back-office spending by at least 20% over five years to free up funds for investing in more sophisticated customer experiences.”


Here are IDC’s top 10 predictions for 2011:


1 Retailers will integrate channels to support same-shopper momentum and to attract new customers to the brand.


2 Retailers will reorganize information technology to support both embedded and exposed technology portfolios.


IDC defines exposed technology as applications and tools that the customer interacts with directly, from e-commerce and social media to in-store kiosk and digital signage. Embedded technology, which reflects traditional investments, is not directly exposed to the customer. 


3 Retailers will focus on quality, synchronizing their supply network with consumer expectations.


4 Retailers will get back to basics by investing in technologies that make complex supply networks less complicated, more productive and attentive to the customer.


5 Retailers will realize that it is one brand, one experience for the shopper regardless of the interaction point.


Consumers don’t care about sales channels, but they do care about effective and valuable interaction opportunities with their preferred retail brands, IDC noted. 


6 Retailers will create omni-channel options by investing in a retail intelligence platform.


7 Retailers will fight to win the “swing shopper.”


8 Technology investments will have a “LASAR” focus. (LASAR stands for localized assortments, constrained for space, allocation and replenishment.)


9 Sustainability will become an integrated part of the retail brand.


10 Social media will extend beyond marketing into merchandising, product development and social shopping.