As retailers strive to become more customer-centric, the role of Marketers has become more and more important in the retail world. The smartest marketers at the most innovative companies have stopped focusing solely on the destination (a purchase, an upgrade, a download) and invested heavily in the journey. Marketers are now responsible for the entire customer journey, from the initial touch to the win-back process and everything in between. The CMO is the new Customer Journey Officer. (AdAge)

According to Gartner, by 2017, due to Internet-enabled price visibility, the digital customer experience will be the key differentiator to any organization. Although many organizations might be doing something already, they need to do more of it and they need to do it faster. The urgency, is driven by the recent pace of technological development. Trends do not occur in a linear fashion, they occur at the same time, and they affect each other. (NRF)

This upcoming holiday season, retailers should expect more channel fragmentation as shoppers budget not only their dollars, but their time. In addition to shopping in multiple stores, consumers are also planning to shop across various websites. The study also notes that in-store retailing is expected to turn holiday shopping into a much more memorable and hassle-free experience, due to smarter and more efficient logistics planning.

Proximity marketing is driving retail sales. The idea of Proximity, the physical location of a product with respect to the consumer, involves a new dimension previously untapped given the limits of technology until recent years. Proximity Marketing uses cellular technology to send marketing messages to mobile-device users who are in close vicinity to a business. Targeted offers based upon proximity leads to higher conversion rates, which is the ultimate goal for retailers. (Forbes)

Better customer engagement contributes to an improved overall shopping experience, encouraging additional purchases and repeat business. A recent study confirms that long-term customer relationships in the luxury retail segment should be built with engaged associates providing personalized service, linked to a strategic loyalty rewards program. The experience for both customers and retailers will be far sweeter and the long term results much better. (Mobile Commerce Daily)