I was asked to have a look at some of the trends that I feel are likely to have a considerable impact on the consumer landscape. This is the first in the series, drawing on my earlier presentation on mobile retail.
Mobile enabled shopping
The growth of smartphones has provided ecommerce operators with the opportunity to encroach on the space of bricks and mortar retailers with apps like Amazon’s Price Check providing a presence in physical stores as well as at consumers’ desktop. In the words of Street Fight, we’re moving towards the following environment:
“Discover anywhere, transact anywhere, and fulfil anywhere.”
But smartphones are also enabling bricks and mortar retailers to provide a more enriched instore experience for consumers. We saw the beginnings of this with the introduction of QR codes, enabling consumers to access product information, reviews and comparisons from their handset and expanding the selection of products beyond what is physically available instore.
The introduction of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons has made the process of bringing information to the attention of consumers a whole lot easier, with information and alerts triggered by consumers’ location within the store after downloading the relevant app.
Smartphones are also offering to enrich loyalty and discounting campaigns, making the process of rewarding more tangible and providing offers to consumers that they can more readily take up.
Whilst we’re still to see the arrival of the much-touted mobile wallet, we have seen retailers begin to integrate payments into their own mobile apps, providing an additional means of purchase, which can prove particularly valuable for regular customers.
These initiatives provide retailers with a rich seam of data with which to better understand their audience and the opportunity to provide a more personalised response to consumers when combined with an effective data management strategy.
Macy’s & Shopkick: Making consumers feel welcome
Macy’s has partnered with Shopkick in the deployment of shopBeacon (BLE) transmitters. Consumers who have downloaded the Shopkick app will be welcomed by the app when entering participating branches and then shown location-specific deals, discounts, recommendations and rewards, without having to open the app.
Cartwheel by Target: Bringing discounting into the 21st Century
Target offers consumers the ability to browse for discounts online, add the offers to the Cartwheel mobile app (and share with friends via Facebook) and then redeem the offers at the checkout. Target must be doing something right as it came at as the most browsed retailer on mobile in the US.
KFC is piloting the Fasttrack app in the UK, enables consumers to place an order and get priority service when they arrive and check in at the participating branch. The app makes it easier to order by remembering favourite items and payment details. For the participating branches, this has meant cutting down waiting and ordering time by 60-70%, sounds like a win-win situation.