Skip to main content

2012 Outlook On The Retail Industry

by Will Roche

2011 was a great year for some retailers, but not so much for others. Regardless of where my customers fall on this spectrum, most of them are looking forward to 2012 with a sense of optimism. They know there will be rough spots, but there will be opportunities as well. Their challenge is to be ready to handle whatever comes around the next corner.

To help you prepare for a prosperous 2012, I thought I'd share some thoughts on what I'm hearing from others in the retail industry.

Question: What are the top three fundamental issues on the minds of retailers today?

The top issue is one that retailers mention year after year. How do I get closer to my customer? Building any relationship requires getting to know more about that person. The same is true for building customer relationships, whether you're selling to individuals or corporations. The benefits of stronger customer relationships are obvious: increased revenues, stronger margins and a barrier against the competition.

Improving customer communications are an important part of the answer to this challenge. Social networking and mobility solutions are two new technologies that can have a big impact. Retailers are looking for ways to leverage these new technologies, in a smart way, to drive closer relationships in the coming year.

The second issue is one that the challenging economy has forced many retailers to think more about. Retailers need to control, and in many cases minimize, the cost of their infrastructure. They've cobbled together business systems and put up with high maintenance costs in the past because there really was no other option. Now, with new technologies and tighter budgets, they are reexamining existing systems ...

FREE Membership Required to View Full Content:

Joining gives you free, unlimited access to news, analysis, white papers, case studies, product brochures, and more. You can also receive periodic email newsletters with the latest relevant articles and content updates.
Learn more about us here

About Will Roche

Will Roche is a passionate, creative leader who was heavily-involved in the conceptualization of Raymark's customer-centric CRM solution.

Having attended Clayton State University and Harvard Business School, Roche has 33 years of IT experience garnered at both IBM and Microsoft. His retail life began at IBM in the early eighties with the introduction of the first PC-based POS system, the 4680. Later, he was also responsible for the introduction of IBM's first open architecture POS system for small and mid-size retailers called the SureOne. Roche also headed up partnership development of the first of its kind, value-added industry distribution channel with then start-up ScanSource, based on the emerging "open system" Microsoft platform.

In 2002, Roche started at Microsoft, where he led a team charged with managing all of the top retail and hospitality independent software vendors (ISV's) worldwide. In 2008, he was promoted into Microsoft's Dynamics division, leading Microsoft's entry into the retail enterprise applications business with direct involvement in application software acquisitions, partner channel development, marketing and brand awareness, keynote public speaking and publication syndication.

Will Roche is focused on providing actionable information about how retailers can become customer-centric. Will is currently consulting and writing for retail industry publications worldwide.

More about Will Roche