While smaller retailers are typically more nimble and adaptable to changes in the marketplace, it is often the bigger players who have the capital and resources to adopt and experiment with “new stuff”. Like the Couture Fashion arena, there’s usually a trickle-down effect before the little merchants can have access to the same tools.

Last week was the 2011 Consumer Goods Sales & Marketing Summit in NYC, where 200 of the biggest retail brands sent their S&M brass to a bootcamp to learn and share best practices on the emerging consumer trends.

Event organizer, CGT (Consumer Goods Technology) Group, published a nice and succinct recap of some of the key highlights during the forum. From what I can gather, there was nothing really earth-shattering brought up during the 3-day session. Discussions regarding collaboration/partnerships, mobile commerce, improving one’s TPM (Trade Promotion Management) system, and self-service technology was to be expected.

What I did find interesting was a representative from Proctor & Gamble discussing the use of virtual technology to help improve consumer and brand experiences. By virtual simulation in a variety of situations, designers have the ability to collaborate with retailers as well as consumers, ultimately reducing the margin of error in creating an inefficient store or selling unpopular items.

Bottom line: I guess if your company can afford to have its own Virtual Solutions department, it’s a pretty good bet you will remain ahead of the marketing curve.

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