Retailers | Consumers Have Changed, Will You?
Cross channel will become the only channel
More and more retailers around the globe are realizing the potential mobile technologies have to increase sales and strengthen the relationship between brands and consumers. These retailers are using customer location and behaviour information to create the shopping experience of the future, reaching out and engaging with customers when they’re most needed- at the right time with the right message.
When talking about these changes in retail, it seems like the focus is often put on the retailers side and whether they believe in applying and adapting to these technologies but not as much emphasis is put on how consumers have changed.
Let’s face it, we’ve all become somewhat spoiled by the amount of information available at our fingertips, at all times. We can’t stand having no 3G or Wi-Fi connection and waiting is just not an acceptable part of our daily routines. We want it and we want it now.
Companies like Amazon and Uber have forever changed what’s expected from service providers. Waiting on a busy intersection for the next free cab to drive by is just not an option anymore. Instead, we can track the location of every cab driver in the city before even requesting one. Once we do order a cab, we can instantly see what the driver looks like, the number of their vehicle and how far away they are from us. We can even call or message them if needed, and well, we love it. Our mindset is forever changed and brands can either adapt or face the risk of becoming obsolete.
Custom tailored experiences
Just like we now have as much information as there is to have on the products and services we’re interested in, we also want these tailored to our specific preferences and lifestyle. We’re in a constant state of information overload where generic brand communication doesn't stand a chance at capturing our full attention. The person telling you they’re not comfortable with apps tracking their location is the same person who will be captivated when you acknowledge them as an individual out in the crowd. It’s a matter of time until we’re all ok with this level of sharing and in all honesty, it all comes down to how brands use these not-so-new anymore technologies to reach out, interact and gain insights from users.
Much more than a single screen
Even though mobile is the most direct form of brand to consumer interaction, retailers need to think beyond the mobile screen. There’s no reason why marketing campaigns should be limited to one single screen.
For example, a retailer could know a certain customer who’s interested in hiking is currently in one of their stores and while they could push an offer right to their phones, which some might (for now) claim to be invasive, they could also show an offer on one of their in-store screens. It doesn’t have to go as far as saying “Hey Peter, I know you are interested in hiking. Why not check out these hiking shoes? Size 10? No problem, they’re on special.”. Instead, simply show an offer for hiking shoes- “Today only: Hiking shoes 10% off”. Much softer yet highly relevant and targeted.
In the next 5 years, I see more and more devices being able to talk to each other which will inevitably bring the online and offline world closer together. Cross channel will become the only channel. Experiences will be personal and integrated and rather than choosing to evolve, brands will need to in order to continue to be successful.