Whether you love to shop or simply tolerate it, there’s no question that this is the age of the empowered consumer. Thanks to technology, we have volumes of information at our fingertips about products and companies, including specs, reviews, and insights that can greatly influence our purchase decisions. Not surprisingly, retailers are eager to implement solutions that can increase sales, reduce costs, and improve the customer experience.
With billions of devices coming online as part of the Internet of Things (IoT), retailers are in a perfect position to explore the ways that connected, secured, and managed devices—from POS systems to digital signs to mobile apps—can optimize and even transform their businesses. Naturally, getting it right requires good strategic thinking and a commitment to align technology solutions with brand goals and core business values.
Recently, I had the pleasure of participating in a conversation on Twitter with some folks who are passionate about branding, shopping, and improving the retail experience. Thank you to @Techlicious, @Suzanne Kantra, @RetailerInsight, and @MomTrends for the great session. We covered some exciting topics about the future of shopping, including:
- Comparison Shopping: People know what brands they like and where to find those brands. Consumers have moved away from scanning barcodes or performing a traditional web search, looking instead to apps from their favorite retailers to research potential purchases.The best retail apps often emphasize a particularly valuable functionality that helps drive conversion. For example, the Walmart app clearly indicates how much you are spending as you shop, and apps from Starbucks and Uber make it extremely simple to pay.
- Sales and Coupons: There’s a growing feeling that retailers who provide coupons and promotions via an app will have an advantage over companies who emphasize email delivery of such content. Additionally, consumers are using discount retailer apps like Hautelook and Gilt to find deals.
- Brick and Mortar Retail: Retailers are becoming more adept at providing quality in-store experiences. A great example of an in-store device connected to the Internet of Things is the MemoryMirror from MemoMi. The technology allows users to compare multiple fashions, share their experience with friends, and make purchases via an app.
- Personalization: Knowing individual customer preference and meeting specific needs is critical to success in retail. Accordingly, apps should take one’s shopping history into account and make targeted recommendations. For example, there are already mobile apps powered by Actv8me that serve deals tied to where you are in the store straight to your mobile device.
Whether online, through a mobile device, in-store—or a combination thereof—smart retailers understand that delivering consistent and valuable brand experiences keeps customers coming back for more.
Join the conversation around the Internet of Things and the future of shopping by following me on Twitter: @ShopTheFuture and using #Inteliot