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MagMaker Spotlight: Erin Neer, Retail Guru

From her home in North Carolina, MagMaker Erin Neer tracks retail trends in her Future of Shopping magazine. It's an eye-opening guide to the changes that are reshaping both merchandising and the consumer experience, so we asked Erin to tell us how her magazine has influenced her thinking about where the retail world is headed:

What inspired you to create your magazine?

I work for a large retailer, and I love to shop. I noticed there was no good place for me to go and learn about what is going on, either as a consumer or as a retailer. So I decided to use Flipboard to create my own magazine about the topic.

So what does the future of shopping look like?

It’s going to be unlike anything we’ve seen before, because retail has been turned on its head. In the future, shopping will be more personalized, and more fun. The customer will really be at the center of retail experience.

Is that really new? Hasn’t the customer always been king — or queen? What will be different?

Historically, when retailers said the customer is king, they were talking about setting prices, or honoring sales or coupons or deciding where to open stores. Going forward, the customer will play an even more important role in determining what products you actually sell in your stores. What will be on the shelves, or online? How do you distribute ads or marketing materials? How does the customer want to be spoken to, and what kind of content do they engage with most readily? Retailers are going to have to understand all that.

When you curate your magazine, do you have a specific kind of reader in mind?

It started out selfishly — just creating a reading list for me. But then my magazine started attracting readers, and I realized I wasn’t the only one who finds this interesting. That’s changed the way I curate, because it means it’s less about whether or not I actually agree with an article and more about whether readers might benefit from reading it.

Where do you go to find articles for your magazine? Do you have any favorite tools or tricks?

Quite honestly, I do love using Flipboard. I read the  Fast Company Co.Create and Harvard Business Review feeds regularly. If I’m on the web, I use the +Flip It bookmarklet to add things to my magazines. I also read several other MagMaker-created magazines, including Retail Insights, Retail News Network, Trending in IT, and Digital U.

Read The Future of Shopping, by Erin Neer

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- Stacy Small, Owner/Founder Elite Travel International

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