1) "Big Data": the real star of the show
Considered by IBM's Chairman and CEO, Ginni Rometty, as retailers’ "new natural resource”, big data raises the issue of smart collection and analysis.
With 2.5 billion gigabytes created each day, the effort of collecting, structuring, analyzing and retrieving relevant information ("from data to insights") has become essential to create relevant interactions with consumers.
2) In-store tracking and analytics
A multitude of tools to track consumer data is now available: video analysis, wifi tracking, NFC solutions and iBeacons (even though Apple did not attend the show).
The real issue behind these technologies is to capture structured data that can be mined and analyzed to push personalized and contextualized information. But as Johnna Marcus, director of mobile and digital for Sephora U.S., remarks: "do not be creepy": the right strategy should be "pull" not "push". Retailers must let the consumer decide to access the value-added information that you are making available.
According to research firms (Sysco, Gartner and Forrester), consumers expect a highly personalized shopping experience and customized relationships, not only online but also in the store, where they want to be recognized and valued. To provide the "best offer", retailers are also ultimately personalizing prices via targeted discounts.
Consumers are increasingly using mobile devices to make purchases (6% in value in 2013 and 10% projected in 2017, according to Forrester Research) and inform their buying decisions (70% of retail purchases are made after doing online research).
4) Loyalty and Mobile: The Power Couple
In order to retain consumers, retailers heavily bet on mobile loyalty programs since they seem to perform better. Starbucks, Sephora, and Walgreens are intensively focusing their post-holiday campaigns on mobile devices.
5) Mobile billing solutions
Drawn by mainstream solutions such as "Square" (created by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey), Mobile billing solutions become commonplace. Traditional billing systems must adjust by integrating some kinds of BI functions.
In their wake, a multitude of actors beyond Google and Paypal, offer white label digital wallet solutions.