Online and mobile marketing have turned the retail supply chain upside-down. Gone are the days of moving volumes of product in efficient, bulk moves to stores across the world. Today, smaller shipments rule the supply chain, delivering — literally — on brand promises to ensure receipt of single, customized packages under same-day or next-day delivery.
Allow me to be the group historian for a minute. Does anyone remember, in 1984, the "Crafted with Pride in the U.S.A." advertising campaign, spearheaded by the late Roger Milliken, and funded by a consortium of fiber, chemical and textile companies? This was supposed to have instilled enough patriotism in the consumer to buy goods made in America at a furious enough rate to keep manufacturing here on our soil.
Retail innovation cycles last approximately 20 years. As we take a look at retail history, this cycle becomes self-evident. From the general store to department stores to discount stores and so forth, each variety has their day in the sun as the leading channel for most purchases. Today, we’re lucky enough to be living within two powerful cycles simultaneously. But the fun will soon come to an end.
Absent a major upheaval caused by the inability of our politicians in Washington to reach reasonable compromises on debt reduction and the debt ceiling, 2013 could finally be the year when the economy starts to pick up a more significant amount of momentum.
Developments in portable technologies of all kinds have created an increasingly connected world. Aside from the obvious ubiquity of mobile phones (there are nearly six billion of them in use today), everyday objects from pedometers to thermostats are being infused with digital technologies, and networked to one another.