From The Editor | August 9, 2013

Retail IT News for VARs — August 9, 2013

By Bernadette Wilson, associate editor, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @bernadeditor

BSM-Retail Fronts2

Business Solutions searched recent headlines for news of interest to VARs serving clients in the retail market.

GDP Calculation Has Changed

Retail sales are often a good indicator of the strength of the economy; however, the U.S. GDP (gross domestic product) is still the best gauge for this metric. That’s why the recent news from The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis should be so interesting to retailers. The agency reports it has revised definitions and classifications for the GDP to “more accurately portray the evolving U.S. economy.” GDP calculations also now include improved methodologies and bring in newly available data. Recalculated GDPs back to 1929 will make valid historical comparisons possible. The new GDP calculation makes a difference. For example, for the period from Q4 2007 to Q2 2009, the GDP decreased at an average annual rate of 2.9 percent. The previous estimate was 3.2 percent. Additionally, for the period from Q2 2009 to Q1 2013, the GDP increased at an average annual rate of 2.2 percent, previously estimated at 2.1 percent.

Mobile Payments Will Exceed $1 Billion in 2013

Data from eMarketer shows, contrary to previous projections, proximity mobile payments should total more than $1 billion in the U.S. this year. The projection for 2017 is $58 billion. In the near future, low-dollar purchases are expected to account for the majority of mobile payments, and a small population of consumers in the habit of buying daily coffee with a mobile payment system, for example, is expected to increase in the next few years.  

Study Shows Retailers Not Leveraging Inventory Across All Channels

The SmartHub Benchmarking Study “Exploring Omni-Channel” shows only 24 percent of Web stores surveyed for the Innotrac study show in-store inventories to consumers, and only 51 percent of customer service agents answer consumer questions about local inventory. Additional findings from the survey cover topics such as support of online shopping with mobile devices, returning online purchases in stores, and evaluating orders online that are fulfilled through a store.

Organized Retail Crime Task Force Established

A post on blog.nrf.com announces the new South Florida Organized Retail Crime Task Force. The task force — established in an area where ORC is active — includes federal Department of Homeland Security and its Homeland Security Investigations team, the Department of Justice, the Miami U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and Florida statewide prosecutors.

Professionals Comment on Retail IT

RSR’s Paula Rosenblum gives reasons to give up on labels in her article “Cross-channel, Omni-channel, Any-channel: Maybe It’s Time to Let Them Go.”  The article also provides a link to RSR’s Cross-channel benchmark report, from which she highlights “80% of retail respondents report inventory visibility across all channels to be very important and another 16% report it at least somewhat important. Yet 54% of those same respondents report a lack of visibility is a significant organizational inhibitor to getting more ‘omni.’”

Business2Community.com provides “The CMO’s Guide to Omni-channel & Retail Transformation,” which suggests taking a different approach to empowering customers and changing the store’s concept.

“Does Weather Affect Site Traffic?” An article by Siddharth Shah presents hypotheses and data to support weather’s role on sales.  

An article on econsultancy.com explains “how B2B brands can be omni-channel businesses too.”

Integrated Solutions For Retailers’ 2013 CMO Special Report  includes a look at the evolving role of the CMO and the importance of marketing and IT partnerships.

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