Evolution of retail: Here’s the future
If you look at the turn of the century, you’ll realize how quickly things can change the way products are displayed and marketed, the way we purchase, decide and pay, and the like. Previously we had to make a firm plan for shopping and most importantly carry cash with you. Okay, this is not something we want to discuss because we all know that it was painful.
In the past few years, we’ve witnessed radical transformations in the retail industry driven by two major parameters:
1) the changing needs of the consumer
2) the latest technologies.
The evolution of retail is marked by greater innovation, integration, and responsiveness. The brands no longer hold all of the power in the consumer products industry. The new consumer is empowered – basically through online and social channels – with almost infinite options on their path to purchase.
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Latest research and trends suggest that retailers will adopt and/or experiment with tech innovations and figure out how they can use them to improve the shopping experience of their customers.
To remain competitive in today’s real-time world, retailers need to adopt the latest technologies and deliver contextually-relevant, timely shopping experiences.
Furthermore, we expect platforms such as mobile and social media to play bigger roles in customers’ shopping experiences. Many retailers have already leveraged the latest technologies (for instance, Mobility), but in 2015 companies are expected to go beyond that. The same goes for ‘mobile’. Through geo-fencing and responsive websites, retailers will step up their efforts to provide personalized and contextual customer experience. People are rapidly adopting the latest technologies and so must the enterprises.
The latest trends in technology for 2015-16:
Responsive Website Isn’t Enough
Making a ‘good enough’ mobile-enabled website isn’t enough for retailers. Mobile-first landing experiences, mobile apps and paid social advertising have become an integral part of the retailer’s marketing mix. It is very important to keep equilibrium between in-store, online and mobile shopping experiences.
Leverage Big Data
In the coming years, we expect the number of SMBs using big data and analytics to increase. Cloud computing has become a viable, mainstream solution for data processing, storage and distribution and there’s no doubt about it. Softweb Solutions for instance, provides retailers with the ability to collect, analyze, and use big data from the cloud to make more confident decisions and tailor customer interactions.
Gone are those days when shoppers had only one option to pay- the cash register. NFC and cloud-based point-of-sale systems have changed the definition of payment. Many savvy merchants have already upgraded to a cloud-based Point-of-sale (POS). Softweb can help you develop custom mobile app with Apple Pay API integration that will enable customers to make cashless payment with just one touch.
Beacons and Contextual Marketing
You already know the iBeacons buzz – a technology introduced by Apple. Its geo-location features and contextual marketing together enable retailers to provide a very personalized customer experience. In fact, it’s a great way to understand your customers’ interests, behavior patterns, shopping history, etc. and use that data for more intelligent marketing.
Wearables are no longer limited to the fitness and medical worlds. Big vendors like Google and Apple have already thrown their hats into the wearable ring. Wearables help retailers deliver mobile-enriched experience and opens up a whole new realm of promotional and strategic opportunities for branders.
Hands down, Augmented Reality has a huge role to play in retail. Whether it’s a mobile app that will help you find your favorite place around, a tool that lets you try on clothes virtually or put on makeup, Augmented Reality is already making an impact on retail.
Mobile will show no signs of slowing down in coming years and marketers count on mobile devices to make their customers’ shopping experience pleasant and flawless. In a nutshell, it’s all about improving and providing a new level of customer experience.