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The brand consultancy agency Interbrand recently published the "Best Retail Brands 2014" report.  Quoting directly from the document, Best Retail Brands 2014following are key ideas from the 136 page report. 

North America

  • Analysts predict that Amazon will soon carry more than 85% of the products sold at leading retailers, including grocery, at better prices, with more delivery and payment options.
  • A fully functional mobile presence is a given for every brand; the new onmichannel reality has led to a rise in "connected stores for connected customers."
  • While e-commerce sales continue to grow 10% per year, questions about the role of brick and mortar seem to be largely resolved.
  • The store is now a brand experience that drives revenue across all channels.

Europe

  • E-commerce accounts for 5% of retail sales in European retail; traditional retailers such as Zara, John Lewis, Carrefour, and Fnac are catching up with digital pure players.
  • The drive through hypermarket format has become one of the secret weapons for food retailers to protect their business and build on the strength of their brand.
  • Digital must be used strategically to bridge a compelling in-store experience with a multi-dimensional digital strategy. 
  • Retailers must use data to gain a true understanding of shopper insights and create a frictionless shopper journey, putting their brands at the cornerstone of that journey to achieve engagement, responsiveness, authenticity, and relevance.

Asia-Pacific

  • Home to approximately half of the world's population and witnessing rapid urbanization and income growth, with China set to overtake the U.S. as the world's biggest retail market by 2016.
  • China has the world's largest online population and Asia's most vibrant e-commerce sector. 
  • Retailers must innovate, or suffer a potential decline to their dominant positions as competition broadens.

Latin America

  • With growing middle class and an increase in consumer spending, most retailers are seeing strong financial results.
  • Supermarket and apparel brands are particularly strong in the region. 
  • The winning brands are those that provide a consistent and pleasant customer experience. 

"The concept of the store is evolving and the 'retail experience' is anything but standard - it is now limited only by the human imagination. From social media to social spaces, from digital touchpoints to 'art malls', smart retailers are bringing their brands to life by engaging customers' lives and the desire for social, connected meaning."

"In a remarkably short period of time, the social web and mobile technology have transformed the way consumers live, work, play, and shop."  

"The shopping experience will continue to change as many retailers reduce their physical presence and invest more in experiential, digital-enabled spaces."  

Over the last 50 years retail has transitioned through three major technology driven megatrends. The current phase emerged with the advent of the Smartphone.  Consumers are now the power brokers of the retail shopping journey.  

Brand experience starts with a strong product proposition.  Think digital theater to differentiate your brand beyond its initial appeal. Competitive advantage is achieved by continuously improving the customer intimacy through the strategic deployment of customer focused technologies.  Sample technologies available today to start a positive digital customer journey include video & data analytics, RFID, virtual reality, smart surfaces, and mobile devices.

Brand + Digital Technologies = Formula for Future Retail Success 

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