Clearly mobile is revolutionising retail. Our mobile phones keep us in touch with retailers for new items and special offers, enable us to share interests, likes and dislikes with friends, purchase items and guide us to closest store. Many, including me predict the next big thing for mobile in retail is customer service and direction inside the store. Already grocery stores are installing precise in-store mapping technology to guide consumer to efficiently locate products on their shopping list and making special offers as they stand next to the item, coffee for example, 25% off to try this particular brand. Once an item is selected and placed in the cart, suggestions for companion merchandise can be presented, red meat, red wine for example. Goal is to make food shopping quick and comprehensive, nothing worse that arriving at home to realise you have forgotten creamer to go with your coffee.
Beyond in store positioning is consumer Wi-Fi connectivity. Today most stores are offering free connection to customers if only to allow the companion(s) to check the latest football scores while the shopper leisurely searches for new shoes. Wi-Fi is one of the key factor in preserving and expanding the sales of a brick and mortar stores in the age of e- and mCommerce growing at 13% while physical store retail is flat at best thus the lament of “can we preserve the high street”. Wi-Fi connection can put your best sales associates in direct touch with consumer to answer questions, provide product information and suggestions by rendering content from your website, issue offers and entertain shopper companions with points of interest allowing uninterrupted shopping time.
Both of the above utilise consumer devices instead of the store owned devices prevalent in mobile PoS. Will the above functions lead to use of customer devices for purchase and payment? I see this as the ultimate solution once iron clad security is in place. And oh what happens next when products such as Google Glass gain wide acceptance?
Both precise positioning and Wi-Fi have the added benefit of collecting information about the consumer. In this age of customer centric retail the more you know about a consumer the better your chances of retaining them and increasing market basket. In the end everything is about BIG data, and predictive analysis. Gather consumer data, wishes, likes and dislike to ensure you satisfy their demands in both products and services. A promotional tab in the Sunday paper offers hundreds of discounts and offers, many are unused and the extra merchandise acquired to satisfy the ads adds significantly to your inventory. With instant predictive analysis based on BIG data, acceptance of offers will increase and inventory can be managed at lower cost.
So what are next steps for you to assure success in the mobile revolution? How can you maximise benefits from precise in store positioning, Wi-Fi, BIG data and predictive analysis? First step is to learn what is are available and then plan implementation for your unique business model by attending the RBTE event March 11- 12 at London’s Earls Court. There you can attend over 100 education sessions in the Innovation and three main theatres, walk the exhibit floor and visit 300 stands then network with other retailers in the Retail Only Lounge. I’ll be there.
Let me know what you think, by posting to this blog or meet me in the Retail Only Lounge to discuss.
Richard Mader, President Mader International Consulting and Member RBTE Steering Committee