Have you ever been shopping at a store and thought, “Hey, I think I saw that cheaper at XYZ store”? That’s when you whip out your smart phone and you begin to do some comparison shopping. This practice of ‘showrooming’ was predicted by IDC to influence retail sales between $700 million and $1.7 billion dollars in December 2012. SMBs will have to be more prepared to handle this competition in 2013 by being much more in touch with technology and how it relates to their consumers and vendors.
Fred Lizza, CEO of Dydacomp, recently released his retail predictions for small and mid-sized businesses for 2013 which include small businesses’ global reach, investment in smarter back-end business and the continued growth of the connected customer.
By: Fred Lizza, CEO of Dydacomp
The New Year will provide many opportunities for small businesses to reach new customers, capitalize on the latest technology and increase their global influence. As they plan ahead for 2013, small businesses should keep in mind three key trends that will shape the industry in 2013.
1) “Small can be Mighty”
As we move into 2013, we will see a dramatic change in the amount of influence that small businesses will have on industry trends. Hiring is still lagging at large organizations, driving more experienced, tech-savvy, people to open small businesses. As a result, small business owners will harness the power of technology to gain greater insight and ownership of the market and connect with consumers at a global level.
2) Continued growth of the “Connected Consumer”
As small business owners reach a more global audience, they should be aware that their customers are becoming more and more connected and mobile. As smartphone and tablet adoption continues to rise at a rapid rate, consumers expect the retailers they buy from to keep up with their mobile needs. Analyst firm IDC recently reported that ‘showrooming,’ or comparison shopping on a mobile phone while shopping in a store, will increase by 134 percent this holiday season compared to last year. In order to remain competitive in the coming year, retailers will have to re-examine their loyalty programs and special offers, and ensure that they are prepared to compete on price. In addition, business owners will need to have accurate insight into their current prices and inventory to manage change in real time.
3) Smarter Back-end Businesses
In 2012, small business owners focused their resources on building up their online store fronts, giving them multiple sales channels, greater market reach and increased growth. In the New Year, tools like multichannel order management systems and business intelligence reporting and dashboards will become a necessity to help manage and maintain this growth. This increased focus on their back end fulfillment systems will enable retailers and merchants to see trends and address issues earlier than ever, and see a unified view of their business across all channels. Business owners will look for vendors with cloud-based solutions, which will provide them with a wider variety of smart tools at an affordable price, allowing them to manage their entire back-end business anywhere, anytime.
As these trends continue into 2013, small business owners can capitalize on huge opportunities if they take the time to understand today’s consumers and take advantage of the latest technology.
Fred Lizza is the chief executive officer at Dydacomp, a provider of business technology platforms for small and mid-sized eCommerce and multichannel merchants. He can be reached at email@example.com.