Predictions for e-commerce spending in the United States are in the neighborhood of $260 billion, according to a projection from Forrester Research, Inc. That spending is expected to reach $370 billion in 2017. Is it possible that online shopping might replace brick-and-mortar retail stores?

Not a chance. Real-world retail isn’t dying. It’s evolving.

The projected $370 billion will account for only 10% of all U.S. retail sales, Forrester says. That leaves quite a bit of business for the rest of the retail industry.

Many retail stores have become mini-distribution centers for their Internet counterparts, with “buy online, pick up in store” programs. Industry leaders like Toys ’R Us, Barnes and Noble and WalMart already offer this type of program.

Online and mobile technology are not replacing the real-life experience. They’re enhancing it.

What can retailers do to evolve their marketing efforts to stay ahead of the curve?

Smart retailers will be beefing up their digital marketing departments:

  • Data analysis and integration will be key, and marketing will increasingly require automation solutions that enable relevant, multichannel campaigns based on big-data analysis.
  • More companies will start to address the challenge of integrating digital platforms into their overall customer experience. This will mean using digital media, including social, live, and in-play, to enhance their service experience.
  • There will be an increased need to track meaningful business metrics, like marketing’s contribution to revenue, and campaigns will be built around concrete data. Dynamic personalization–which has been hugely successful in the email world–is now being used to customize website messaging.

Contact Smith Hanley Associates any time you want to discuss the needs of the evolving retail industry. With our expertise in Digital Marketing, Marketing Analytics, Market Research and Information Technology, we can help the right employers and the right employees come together.

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