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Technology trends: What Wall Street is watching in 2012

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The retail analyst outlook for 2012? "Calm and clear," according to Deborah Weinswig, Managing Director, Citi Investment Research. Retailers are back on the offense after a defensive few years. And many attributes of this switch are due to better investments in technology.

This optimistic outlook, Weinswig shared, is the result of heavy technology investments during the recession in an effort to protect margins and lower costs. And now, as the recovery continues to unfold, retailers are expected to utilize technology to drive sales, improve buying and allocation decisions, enhance margins, and leverage stronger top-line trends. So while retailers aren't opening new stores, they are spending more on technology.

After sharing the current retail analyst outlook for the year, Weinswig also detailed 13 themes that Wall Street will be watching throughout 2012.

  1. Mobile and social analytics shape retailers' views of the customer.
  2. Retailers look to the cloud to get the right data into the right hands.
  3. Retailers engage customers through mobile devices.
  4. Maximize returns with optimization technologies.
  5. Moving to one view of the customer with customer analytics.
  6. Embracing the omnichannel supply chain.
  7. Marketing and information technology converge.
  8. Workforce management to drive lower SG&A.
  9. RFID: Has its time finally arrived?
  10. Streamline the product pipeline with MLM.
  11. Make payment easier with near field communication.
  12. Protect the integrity of data with security technology.
  13. Connect with suppliers on the B2B marketplace.

With retail IT spending expected to rise over the year, which of these technologies do you think will have the most impact on the revival of the industry?