Look Ahead 2013

What's Trending in the Retail Industry in 2013

Shoppable Media, In-Store Technology and Physical Presences for Online Stores

Published on .

Kristen Bell in 'Falling for You'
Kristen Bell in 'Falling for You'

Happy New Year. Now get cracking: We outline challenges for 2013 and offer up some predictions

Shoppable media

As mobile adoption and video consumption soars, retailers are looking for ways to get in on the action. "Shoppable media," meaning video or print vehicles that encourage customers to immediately purchase products using various technologies, will become an increasingly popular way to do that .

Juicy Couture, Target and Asos have all promoted shoppable video in recent months. Target 's CMO, Jeff Jones, recently told Ad Age that he believes that 's the direction video is going, citing the brand's recent "Falling for You" shoppable series, a three-part romantic comedy featuring Kristen Bell and 110 products across the retailer's home, beauty and fashion categories.

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Experimentation with QR codes and text-to-buy functions also continue. This holiday season, Target 's TV ads encouraged shoppers to text to buy toys featured in one spot, for example.

In-store technology

Once the stuff of fantasy, the store of the future is fast becoming reality. Retailers of all stripes will continue to add tablets, digital signage and oversize, interactive panels to their locations in the coming year. Walmart is testing "Scan and Go," a checkout system that would allow shoppers to skip checkout lines by using their mobile phone to scan items and pay at self-serve kiosks. JC Penney is just one of many retailers that have added kiosks featuring interactive maps and the ability to purchase products not available in store. Kohl's will soon complete a nationwide rollout of e-signs, which allow it to easily change prices on items remotely. And RFID, the much-heralded tracking technology, is being deployed in new and interesting ways. New Balance and L.L. Bean, for example, are using the tags to launch product-related video when a consumer picks up a shoe from a display.

The grass is always greener

The idea of combining the ease of online shopping with the brick-and-mortar experience isn't lost on pure internet players. Giants such as eBay and Etsy are testing temporary stores. And formerly online only brands like Piperlime, a division of Gap Inc., and Bonobos have both opened bricks-and-mortar shops.

By opening physical stores, these online players are welcoming showrooming, the idea that shoppers will browse in store and then buy online. Though retailers like Target have bemoaned the impact of showrooming, it's an opportunity for e-commerce players to showcase their products while carrying less inventory, hiring fewer salespeople and investing less in real estate.

As much as consumers crave the convenience of online shopping, there are still times when they'd like to step into a physical location to try on a pair of shoes or pants. And despite the fact that e-commerce is booming, 90% of sales still happen in bricks-and-mortar locations.

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