This post is part of a series of 2016 predictions from industry experts.
Buzzwords tend to have a short shelf life. In 2015, major retailers realized they had to connect their offline-and-offline customer services, including e-commerce, in-store pickup, social sharing, and mobile pay. Above all, stores needed to represent the "connected customer experience" via branded apps that would receive notifications and information via beacons.
As major chains like Macy's, Target, JCPenney, Walgreen's, Game Stop, and others all sought to communicate that they were ready to initiate a complete digital/physical relationship with their respective shoppers, they needed a clear industry term that would show Wall St. analysts and the competition their position.
Since these features have become so widely accepted, the shorthand is no longer needed. In 2016, brands will have to differentiate themselves not by the number of digital touchpoints they have; rather, they'll have to show how well they can execute on ensuring that customers can discover and purchase store products any way they want. And expect more companies to shift attention from headline buzzwords to fashioning a leadership role around the idea of a "Chief Innovation Officer," or "Experiential Strategy Officer" who will be charged with tying all the loose ends together.