Despite the explosion of digital devices, the retail store is not going away any time soon and will remain the “core of the experience,” said a Deloitte Global Powers of Retailing 2012 study. However, a store may not be the final shopping destination, but “a piece in a larger, more connected customer experience,” leaving retailers to rethink their operating model. Additional retail trends from Deloitte LLC’s study include:

*Trouble lurks for mid-tier retailers. The growing wealth disparity in the U.S. has prestige retailers and budget stores positioned best for success. Meanwhile, a skewed income distribution leaves the middle-tiered retailer as the “worst place to be.” Therefore, a multi-channel retail strategy is key for success. While most retailers already possess several consumer touch points, they’ll “need to have a clear understanding of the shopping journey and how consumers move across channels.” In a holiday consumer poll, Deloitte found 71% of respondents “were planning on shopping multiple channels in some manner—viewing or researching products in one channel and purchasing in another, for example.”

*Personalization is the “new norm.” Retailers must turn their piles of shopping and consumer information sourced from social media, mobile and customer loyalty programs into targeted programs.

*Globalization is key to expansion. With slow growth in developed markets, key areas of opportunity include India, Brazil, Turkey, Indonesia, the Andean region of South America, sub-Saharan Africa and China. Success in emerging markets will require retailers to “tailor product assortments and retail experiences” to local preferences. Deloitte recommends using an online store before committing to a brick and mortar site, as a good first step.

*M-commerce will expand. But, Deloitte cautions, retailers and manufacturers must: 1) Make sure an app is user friendly, and smoothly integrates mobile and other channels; 2) Ensure security and privacy, for a breach could ruin a retailer’s reputation; and 3) Enable the app to provide access to information for employees and supplier partners too.

For more trends from the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsue Limited study, visit: