Internet of Things technology solutions can help brands connect with customers in new and amazing ways. Not surprisingly, customers are beginning to expect rich and compelling experiences at retail. In his guest blog post, James Sorenson, Senior Vice President, Kantar Retail, WPP, explores some of the great IoT-based opportunities in retail, and provides a formula that can help guide future implementations. ~ David McKinney
Imagine walking into your favorite store. At the entrance, you’re greeted by name, informed on the newest products you’re interested in, and given real-time advice on your selections. This is no fantasy; it’s the future of retail. This is a future where you, the consumer, are placed in the center of brand and store decisions. The brands that cater to your needs and preferences will become your favorite stores. And the ones that don’t will be left behind. In a world where personal assistants are accessible on smartphones and product comparisons are available on tablets, the stores you enter have to learn how to keep up and provide similar, if not better, information.
Brand Technology Meets the Needs of the Shopper
Shoppers are now digital consumers. They don’t rely on storefronts and store hours. The new consumer uses personal technology to shop. They shop stores online for wider selection, compare competitors’ prices, and browse from brand to brand. This open shopping experience is driven by convenience and technology adoption. This new generation of tech-savvy shoppers have new expectations: speed, control, transparency, abundance, and interaction. To keep up with the digital appeal, brands need to adapt their retail experience.
Kantar Retail has done a lot of work researching retailers, brands, and fast-moving product group companies such as Nike, Costco, and Nestle. We have researched what brands are doing now and what the progressive companies are aiming to execute. The “winning” companies are going digital and understand that every brand needs to be digital in the future. These companies are innovating for the shopper, driving shopper ROI and optimizing function, emotion, money, and time. Here’s how:
- Function: You must be functional to connect
- Emotion: Exponentially multiplies function
- Money: Save people’s money
- Time: Save people’s time
- ROI = (F^E)/(M*T)
To deliver on these innovations, companies must use technology to scale the changes. Technology isn’t innovation for its own sake. It needs to be linked directly to shoppers and their needs. Brands need to reevaluate their spending models and realize they shouldn’t spend millions for reach. Instead, they need to invest in the brand’s impression to the new, digital shopper.
Moving Forward, Everything is About the Shopper
Technology will enable all brands to engage with the shopper on-the-go, in the store, and virtually everywhere. This not only provides a huge value to shoppers and helps fulfill their need for convenience, but it also highly benefits the retailer.
Currently, companies like Amazon, Google, and Tesco are delivering convenience to shoppers. There is even an “Amazon First” mentality that has emerged as a trend, with 49 percent of consumers searching for products on Amazon first, before purchasing. Amazon has been very successful in converting these inquiries into sales. This is massive challenge for other retailers such as Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and eBay.
The Retailer’s Journey
Today, shoppers make many of their brand decisions when they are in front of the shelf. Technology can engage with the customer once they enter the store and are in front of that shelf to influence buying decisions. In tandem with the Internet of Things, Kantar Retail will be able to provide sound analysis and data on the mind of the shopper. Using Intel® technology, we will be able to know the shopper’s demographic, how long they were looking at a shelf, and which products they are evaluating. If you can marry this data with a solution, then that is the true future of retail.
Intel enables these innovative solutions from the brands that are eager to transform into digital ones. At Kantar Retail, we’re excited to see how this new future will unfold and closely collaborating with Intel to make it a reality.