clockwork_december2012_wallpaper_300x300 (2)Over the past month, we’ve heard a lot of talk about what to watch for in 2013 — enhanced machine learning capabilities to help data paralysis, increased desire for personalization trumping privacy concerns, and the need for omni-channel strategies to satisfy the connected consumer were all at the front of these conversations.

In December, we saw two top-tier bylines from industry leaders discussing the need for big data to be more accessible to a larger segment of the population, a study from IBM demonstrating consumer desire for personalized shopping experiences, an article from Gyro’s CMO putting forth ten predictions for 2013, and an article from Maxymiser highlighting the growth of personalization and the need for seamless mobile integration. Continue reading to see what 2013 trends you should keep an eye out for!

We Don’t Need More Data Scientists  — Just Make Bid Data Easier to Use,” GigaOM  – It’s all too common to hear how the shortage of qualified data scientists is limiting the potential of big data, but perhaps more data scientists are not the answer. According to Baynote’s Scott Brave, it’s time to unclog the data scientist bottleneck by focusing on how to make big data accessible to all. In order to do so, Scott recommends a three-pronged strategy: limiting the scope of data captured and analyzed in order to more easily create templates for data inputs, templatizing feature creation to allow domain experts to more easily facilitate machine learning, and applying domain-specific lenses to big data analytics to allow business experts to experiment.

Beyond Marketing Clouds – The Age of Machine Learning,” AllThingsD – BloomReach’s CEO, Raj De Datta echoes many of the key messages in Scott’s GigaOM article when he states, “Big data is too big for humans to work with, at least in the all-important analytical construct of responding to opportunities in real time.” Raj postulates that the solution is not just machine learning, but machine learning that uses algorithms to initiate actions based on the data. Raj also recognizes that a human element is still needed in order to add the “human touch” and to continuously fine-tune the systems. Don’t worry — no need to start worrying about the all-powerful machine quite yet!

2013 Global eCommerce Trends: More Personal, More Mobile, More ChannelsCMSWire  – Now that we have established big data analytics and machine learning as areas to watch in 2013, let’s turn to personalization and mobile. According to Maxymiser’s President, Brad Simpson, these should also be on everyone’s radar. Brad notes that while personalization is nothing new, its widespread popularity is. More companies are doing it, and more consumers are demanding it. Brad also points out that as consumers become more and more connected the need for platform-specific offerings that offer a more consistent shopping experience will become a necessity for retailers. We certainly agree with Brad here at Baynote, and look forward to continuing our work in these areas in 2013.

“10 eCommerce Predictions for 2013” Forbes – In line with Brad’s  predictions, Gyro’s CEO, Paul Dunay postulates that 2013 will bring “true, real-time personalization for everyone.” Brad also projects that omni-channel will become a reality, that companies will begin to master big data and that consumers “get over the privacy debate.” While I must agree with Paul on many of his predictions, there still much work to be done in these areas; for example, retailers still struggle to wrap their minds around omni-channel and most are still overwhelmed by the potential of big data. I believe we will see great progress in these areas during the upcoming year, but I have a feeling will see many of these same predictions when 2014 comes around.

IBM Study: All Consumers Looking for a Consistent Experience, from Start to Finish,” Chain Store Age –This IBM study demonstrates that consumers are willing to share their information “in exchange for highly personalized relationships with their favorite stores.” However, the research highlights that personalization is only one aspect of the perfect shopping experience. Retailers must also provide consumers with a consistent and “flawless” experience throughout the shopping journey.  Without stating it, this article clearly demonstrates the need for retailers to create an omni-channel experience that integrates personalization seamlessly throughout. While these trends are from 2012, we expect them to remain hot in 2013.