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Consumer Trendspotting

BY Marianne Wilson

It’s a new year, and with it comes the opportunity for a fresh start for retailers as well as consumers. As in new years past, I’m inundated with a flurry of trend forecasts, surveys and predictions. One of the more interesting ones to cross my desk comes from JWT, New York, one of the world’s biggest marketing communications brands. It is the firm’s seventh annual year-end forecast of trends that will impact consumer behavior going forward.

“10 Trends for 2012” is a good read in general. And at a time when consumer behavior is so in flux, it provides retailers with some interesting insights as to what will be motivating their shoppers — and how they can best act on those behaviors. Not surprisingly, economic uncertainly and technology are driving several of the trends, according to the report.

“With our annual trends forecast, we aim to bring the outside in — to help inspire ideas beyond brand, category and consumer conventions — and to identify emerging opportunities so they can be leveraged for business gain,” explained Ann Mack, director of trendspotting for JWT.

Here’s JWT’s take on the trends to watch this year:

1. Navigating the new normal: As the new normal becomes a prolonged normal in the developed world, more brands will open up entry points for extremely cost-conscious consumers. Markets will find new opportunities in creating stripped-down offerings, smaller sizes and more accessible products and services.

2. Live a little: Stressed and worried consumers will look for ways to live a little without giving up a lot; loosening up once in a while by splurging on treats.

3. Generation gap: Enabled by technology, twenty-somethings, a “Lost Generation,” will transform itself, with many of them starting their own businesses.

4. The best of shared value: Increasingly, some corporations are deciding that making a profit and achieving social progress are not mutually exclusive goals.

5. Food as the new eco-issue: The eco-impact of food choices will become a more prominent concern as stakeholders drive awareness around the issue and rethink what food is sold and how it’s made.

6. Marriage optional: A growing cohort of women is taking an alternate life route, one that doesn’t include marriage as an essential checkpoint.

7. Reengineering randomness: As individual worlds become more personalized and niche — and the types of content, experiences and people we are exposed to become narrower — greater emphasis will be placed on reintroducing randomness, discovery, inspiration and different points of view into our worlds.

8. Screened interactions: Consumers will be interacting — touching, gesturing and speaking — more and more with interactive screens.

9. Celebrate aging: Popular perceptions of aging are changing — for the positive — and consumers are redefining what the term “old age” means and when it begins.

10. Objectifying objects: Expect to see more “motivational objects,” items that accompany digital property to increase perceived value, and digital tools that enable creation of physical things.

The “10 Trends for 2012” report is available at JWTIntelligence.com.

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Calling all collaborators: industry group reaches out

BY CSA STAFF

LAS VEGAS — The premier prizes in the supply chain world will be up for grabs in the coming months as the Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions Associations (VICS) has begun soliciting entries for its 15th annual awards program. The awards will be presented at the VICS Collaborative Commerce Achievement Awards Dinner sponsored by Hewlett-Packard to be held June 4 at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

Awards are presented in eight categories based on nominations received from companies that recognize a team, department or a trading partner for their efforts in bringing excellence and innovation to supply chain collaboration. The deadline for nominations is April 27.

“The VICS Collaborative Commerce Achievement Awards have become the premier prize for supply chain enhancement in the retail channel,” said Joe Andraski, president and CEO of VICS. “We encourage all practitioners and their partners to reward the innovative processes being deployed throughout the industry by nominating them for a VICS award.”

Awards will be presented in the following categories:

Retail Excellence – presented to a retail company that has developed or adopted internal systems and practices that have resulted in enhanced supply chain efficiency, improvements in customer service, reduced costs, or increased speed to market by working collaboratively with trading partners to create true end-to-end supply chain integration.

Supply Side Excellence – presented to a consumer goods manufacturer or wholesale distributor that has developed or adopted internal systems and practices that have resulted in enhanced supply chain efficiency, improvements in customer service, reduced costs, or increased speed to market by working collaboratively with trading partners to create true end-to-end supply chain integration.

VICS CPFR Implementation Excellence – presented to two companies, a retailer and supplier, which have worked collaboratively to create true end-to-end supply chain integration and cooperation utilizing VICS CPFR.

VICS Empty Miles Top Contributor Award – presented to the company that helps drive adoption through referring new subscribers and posts the greatest savings resulting from the use of the VICS Empty Miles Program.

Sustainability Excellence – presented to the company that develops, executes and maintains the most innovative environmentally sustainable supply chain.

Best Third-Party Provider – presented to a third-party services or systems provider that has developed and/or implemented systems and practices proven to be cost-effective and resulted in supply chain improvements.

VILRI Implementation Excellence – presented to two companies, a retailer and supplier, that have implemented item level RFID processes to improve store and/or distribution center-level efficiencies and drive sales increases using EPC-enabled tools.

Best VILRI Solution Provider – presented to a solution provider that has developed and/or implemented item level RFID systems and practices proven to increase supply chain efficiencies and drive sales increases.

The VICS board of directors is also accepting nominations for the 2012 Roger Milliken Career Achievement Award, which is presented to an individual who has demonstrated leadership through selfless support and utilization of VICS and GS1 standards, as well as standards committee participation. Dr. Donald Bowersox of Michigan State University received the award last year.

Nominations are open to retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and technology providers. All nominations must include a business challenge, business answer, technological innovation, measurable percentage-based ROI, time frame, level of difficulty and benefits. Awards finalists for each category will be notified prior to the VICS 2012 Conference and will be invited to the Awards Ceremony and Board Dinner.

Additional details about the program and an entry form are available here.

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Walmart works Vudu magic with Xbox

BY CSA STAFF

SAN BRUNO, Calif. — Walmart announced that its Vudu entertainment service is now available Xbox 360. Xbox LIVE customers can now shop Vudu’s library using new, interactive features such as voice search, voice control and Kinect gesture commands to rent or own the latest Hollywood hits, TV shows, cinema classics and independent gems in standard or high definition, the company said.

As an incentive to get customers to try Vudu on Xbox, Walmart announced that Vudu is offering a $4.99 credit toward their first rental or purchase.

“Vudu on Xbox 360 brings more fun into finding, watching and buying your favorite movies and TV shows,” said Edward Lichty, general manager Vudu. “With the new, interactive features on Xbox 360 to browse Vudu’s library, along with special savings like 99-cent VUDU rentals, we hope to make the holidays even more entertaining and affordable for families.”

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