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Inc. has a piece about the newly released “U.S. Retail Highlights: 2012 Outlook” report from Collier’s International, which points to a number of trends to which retailers need to pay heed if they are going to be successful:

1. E-commerce will continue to grow “exponentially,” with mobile sales likely to grow 49 percent to $10 billion. But the numbers don’t look quite so rosy for the totality of retail, with the National Retail Federation predicting “a mere 3.4 percent increase in retail sales for 2012, compared to 2011’s 4.6 percent.”

2. “The report recognizes the bargain hunting consumer who uses their phone to search for better deals elsewhere while shopping at a store as a ‘potential game-changer’ and that businesses need to find new ways to snag their attention and cement loyalty.”

3. “Although offering discounts or sales is typically a sure-fired way to attract business, when it comes to determining a retailer’s value, more consumers will choose ‘experience’ over price - in that they seek unique products, intuitive customer service, more flexible shopping options with multi-channel integration, etc.”

4. “There will be a significant increase of retailers offering limited-time-only (LTO) items and mobile-device deals to generate a sense of urgency to buy and to be where consumers are in the digital and social media spaces.”
KC's View:
There is a lot of wisdom in some of these trend prognostications.

Think about it. It suggests that consumer behavior is going to change in some fundamental - even contradictory - ways. People using mobile devices to find better deals, sometimes on a limited-time basis, but simultaneously responding to value propositions that are not just about price, but that also recognize their own life situations and values.

The real shift is to a more dynamic relationship between the shopper and the store. Things are going to be changing constantly - every consumer is going to be in play all the time, and every retailer is going to have to find new ways of being relevant to those shoppers.