The Top Tech Trends For Retailers in 2014

neustar2 This is the first story in the series “The Retailer of the Future,” which examines how retailers are innovating to meet the mounting expectations of the digital consumer. It is brought to you by Neustar, a real-time, cloud-based information and analytics provider.

With the holiday shopping season firmly behind us and a new year just beginning, it’s time to buckle down. Most retailers aren’t dumb; they get this. From mobile commerce, social retail, and new in-store devices, retailers and marketing execs at the top of their game recently told Digiday what they think will have the biggest impact in the months to come. Here’s what they had to say:

Michael Beaulieu, associate director of digital media sales, Wayfair
We will see the trend of Internet-based TV streaming impact traditional advertising channels this year, and we are really just looking at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social media and retail. It is just starting to become clear in terms of what works well for social and what doesn’t. New channels will continue to emerge and retailers will have to be increasingly agile to meet shoppers where they are.

Ryan Holiday, director of marketing, American Apparel
Retail is heavily influenced by email, by social media, by geofencing. Mainstream media/PR still drives a lot of the conversation across all those things. 2014 is about integrating all the new stuff from the last few years together. There has been so much rapid change that everyone really needs an opportunity to put it all together in a comprehensive strategy.

John Caron, vp of marketing, Catalina Marketing
Mobile commerce is really changing the face of retail. How do you compete with Amazon as a brick-and-mortar? If you could combine the personalization that Amazon drives with the benefit of the brick-and-mortar store that is down the road from you that you go to twice a week, that’s the future of mobile. The typical shopper ignores 99 percent of stuff in a store. One of the big advantages of Amazon is that they boil down their inventory into what they think is relevant to you; by adding mobile to the in-store experience you have the ability to help consumers navigate through a store and identify products most relevant to them and drive offers and incentives.

Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali, analyst, Forrester
Primarily it will be mobile shopping to support information — things like Target’s mobile coupon which lets you scan in-store and upload, or a text message link to a coupon that you can then attach to the app.

Jamal Motlagh, founder and CEO, Acustom Apparel
Body scanning is one of the most unique and innovative aspects to retail. Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s are doing tests with body scanners right now and are trying to figure out where they can improve their business strategy with them. We see the body scanners changing the business model instead of adding to technology that already exists. It’s moving to how can we utilize our space better, and how can we move inventory. One company that I’m fond of, Perch, sets up a projector inside your space so that when a customer picks up the product, the projector will display product information to customer.

Image via Flickr

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