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Retailers and Mobile Tech – Getting it Right

Púca's Eileen Carroll looks at how mobile technology is disrupting the retail sector including tactical ways retailers can include mobile in their digital plans.

Retailers and Mobile Tech – Getting it Right

The recent surge of innovation in Mobile payments, contactless shopping, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) has meant there is now a whole array of technologies for retailers to get to grips with when looking at ways to improve the shopping experience for their customers.

Retailers are spoilt for choice, and too much choice can lead to indecision.

But getting the basics right is as important as ever. Further on I’ll look at some ideas for retailers to create compelling, personalised mobile experiences for their customers that won’t break the bank.

But first, here’s what the trailblazers have been up to…

Who’s leading the way?

Amazon GO have been setting the pace in frictionless shopping with their in-store shopping app (initially launched in Seattle in 2016) that turns their customers mobile phones into a point of sale system for a check-out free experience. Other retailers will no doubt be looking to emulate their success.

 

And on Amazon Prime Day this July 10-11th there was stunning statistic that people who had the Amazon App installed reduced their footfall to other retailers by a massive 32 percent decrease in traffic.

“Our data shows that Amazon is clearly changing the game for brick and mortar retailers, and that the trend is only growing as the rise of smartphones and apps give consumers even more convenient ways to take advantage of promotions such as Prime Day,” Eli Portnoy, Sense360 ( Globe Newswire)

Mobile payments are already huge. While Apple Pay and Android Pay are getting good traction in Europe, online retailer behemoths Alibaba are championing their Alipay platform in their race against Sweden (where fewer than 2% of payments are in cash) to become the first 100% cashless country. (Business Insider Nordic).

Meanwhile, AR and VR technologies are also coming into their own as tools for immersive or experiential shopping. Sephora – the online beauty retailers – have released an AR make-up tutorial app to encourage users to try and buy, demonstrating how this technology can directly increase sales.

 

Keeping it Real

Global players like Alibaba, Amazon and Sephora clearly have enormous R&D budgets and are pouring it into technology. But what can local or national retailers do to keep up and stay competitive in the rapidly evolving world of mobile tech?

Here are a few tactical ways to build mobile into your plans…

7 Tactical ways for Retailers to go Mobile

  1. Loyalty apps: Do like Arnotts – take your plastic loyalty card scheme and make all the benefits available via an app – points balance, vouchers, alerts, competitions, geofencing and more.
  2. Augmented Reality: It may seem ultra high tech but in fact location-specific content can be overlaid quite simply in any app using AR, and this includes retail apps. Our AR app for GeoDirectory showcases how AR can create a contextual experience using geo-tagged information. And here are some examples of retailers using AR.
  3. Click and collect: the killer combination of online shopping with an in-store collection point offers great convenience to consumers. Use SMS notifications to speed up collection times – remember 90% of SMS are read immediately.
  4. Flash offers: by sending personalised, time-sensitive “flash offers” to targeted customers you can get great conversion rates. Building in the convenience of pre-payment means faster checkout too so another win-win. Here are some handy guidelines from Shopify for running successful flash offers.
  5. Database-building competitions: Competitions are an ideal way to incentivise customers to opt in and drive online engagement, and the past year saw a big drive by grocery stores such as Dunnes and Tesco to build their opt-in email and mobile lists (and match them to existing address databases) using freetext SMS competitions with unique codes.
  6. In-store experiences: SPAR’s recent in-store competition supporting their Donal Skehan “Meals in Minutes” sponsorship is an example of a simple in-store text to win competition driving customers on-line. Other ways to get consumers to engage include scannable (or Shazamable) codes that can also trigger a gaming experience, competition entry or reward.
  7. Event experiences: Retailers are reaching out to consumers at all kinds of events from music festivals to agricultural shows. Pluto’s experiential campaign for Lidl at the Balmoral Show incorporated a “Supermarket sweep” where participants raced against the clock to collect all the items (using a branded scanner app developed by Púca).

 

Final Thoughts?

Keeping up with the rapid pace of change is challenging to say the least, but I hope some of the above ideas will help you put some meat on the bones of your digital plans.

My advice? Build on what you know, keep evolving and experimenting, choose your developers wisely, and always keep the customer at the centre of the conversation.

Originally published on LinkedIn by Eileen Carroll.

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