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Throughout history, retail technology has evolved in waves.  With the industrial revolution and mass manufacturing, the mom & pop store transitioned to theInternet of Things supermarket.  The massive amount of data on shipping trends, i.e. what's selling, placed the manufacturers at the center of controlling the information to drive retail sales. 

Bar code scanning in the 1970s transitioned the knowledge power base to the retailer.  The planogram, i.e. what to actually place on the shelf for sale, was now a retailer decision.  

As discussed in a previous post, we are currently in the middle of the next major evolutionary technology wave re-shaping the retail industry.  The foundational elements driving the new retail megatrends include: 

 

"Too many people think they know how to lead, not fully understanding what that really means.  Foundational elements of great leadership includeMichael Anthony D'Onofrio willingness to work with others, readiness to cooperate, achieving common success goals, and building strong teams.  Poor leaders want the position for the power.  Exceptional leadership derives from confidence in yourself, knowing who you are, building on your strengths, and leveraging team members to mitigate your weaknesses.  Leadership is a team sport." -- Michael D'Onofrio

A Poem on Leadership from guest blogger, my son, Michael Anthony D'Onofrio

 

Lessons from the Google Acquisition of Nest Technologies

In January, the Economist published a special report on the evolution of technology which they titled "A Cambrian Moment".  The premiseStart a Business of the special report is that "cheap and ubiquitous building blocks for digital products and services have caused an explosion in (tech) start-ups."  The magazine compares the current convergence of technology trends to the "Cambrian explosion" 540 million years ago when life forms began to multiply.

 

NRF 2014 Big ShowEvery year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) trade event in New York seems to get bigger and more global.  2014 did not disappoint with over 30,000 retail professionals listening to 300+ industry experts and visiting a record 200,000 square feet of exhibit space showcasing the latest technologies.  Brazil had once again the largest contingent of attendees outside the United States.

NRF is a great stage on which to reflect the " Big Ideas " that are reshaping retail.  The top 10 from NRF 2014 include:

 

... And Why Three Others Really Matter for a Prosperous New Year

At the start of the New Year, two amazingly confluent appreciable elements came together:Top 10 Swiss Rules

In the German speaking part of Switzerland, 10 Rules of "How to Work Better" painted on a wall in English. A University that provided the world 12 Nobel Prize laureates.

For the past 12 months, on my regular commute to Neuhausen Am Rheinfall I've struggled from the train to read the "How to Work Better" rules painted on a grey building north of Zurich. Most days could only discern the top 3.

 

It is that time of the year to look forward at the top 10 key trends that will drive technology adoption in 2014:

2014 Technology PredictionsSuccessful technology deployments focus on strengthening the brand

According to Deloitte, brand value declined in 2013, for the third year in a row. To win in 2014, companies will need to go back to basics by selectively deploying technologies that protect and grow global brand value.

 

$19 Billion Market Opportunity by 2018

Have recently become fascinated by the early market examples of wearable technologies and their future possibilities for improved Next Tech Waveprofessional and personal productivity. Leading the pack:

Google has an entire web site dedicated to Google Glass. In a highly graphical fashion, Google asks you to imagine that next bike ride, creating that perfect meal, instant visual language translations, picking the ideal golf club for the distance, and composing that perfect song.

 

The first weekend of November happened to be in my Italian hometown during the annual tradition of memorializing fallen soldiers The Power of Traditionsand civilians from past wars. November 4th, which is now celebrated on the first Sunday of the month, has dual significance for the Italians. It is known as the Holiday of National Unity and also the day to recognize the Armed Forces. Historically, this date celebrates the Italian victory over the Austria-Hungary Empire in 1918, unifying and ending World War I for the country.

Early that Sunday morning, the sound of the marching "Bersaglieri" military band piqued my interest. On this day did not expect to become a witness of emotional traditions celebrating the past which very quickly translated into new lessons for the future.

 

 

Product or service differentiation has always been a strategy adopted by the retail industry towards finding that winning formula for differentiationgrowth. Differentiation can take many forms and include price, product quality, store decor, targeted consumer audience, and the business model itself. Two recent examples of successful retail differentiation:

Zara and Fast Fashion

Forbes Magazine recently recapped the successful Zara business model. A team of designers and product managers in Spain oversee design, sourcing and production of specific apparel categories. These individuals monitor closely the sales process of each apparel collection -- from the time the merchandise reaches the stores to the real time customer response.

 

-- How Piggly Wiggly Built Today's Self-Checkout Legacy --

 "An invention acts rather like a trigger, because, once it's there, it changes the way things are, and that change stimulates the Retail Techproduction of another invention, which in turn causes change, and so on. Why those inventions happened between 6,000 years ago and now, where they happened, and when they happened , is a fascinating blend of accident, genius, craftsmanship, geography, religion, money, ambition..." (1) -- James Burke