The year 2016 is drawing to a close and retailers around the globe will be busy implementing their last quarter plans that includes year-end discount plans and Christmas offers to boost sales. Customers are waiting for the best deals and E-tailers too would be strengthening their websites with the help of content managers for big billion sales to boost their profit margins.
The retail shopping experience has gone through a whirlwind change in the last two years, with ecommerce in particular attracting customers with attractive deals. The Smartphone is no more a luxury product; in fact it has become a necessity in today’s fast paced world. The tech savvy customers have become demanding too, expecting seamless, personalised, simplified and extraordinary services.
The customer has become an omnichannel user. A buyer may start his buying journey through a desktop computer and finally complete the purchase through his smartphone. Retailers have to appeal to this new breed of omnichannel shoppers to stay ahead in the highly competitive market.
Here are three technology trends that every retailer can adopt to boost their brand image.
Proximity marketing is any system that utilizes location technologies to directly communicate with customers via their smart phones. Uses of proximity marketing include distribution of advertising content (audio, text, and video) at retail check-ins and payment gateways. Proximity marketing helps retailers to do real time marketing and take personalised marketing to a whole new level.
Blue tooth Beacons (A proximity marketing technique) has played a great role in boosting retail sales in 2016. These beacons are tiny wireless devices that transmits a weak Bluetooth signal to other Bluetooth enabled devices in the general area, which can be enhanced by mobile phones. The beacons reach out to customers when someone walks by with a Bluetooth enabled smartphone and the right application. These beacon-powered apps collect valuable data on consumers’ in-store activity, helping the retailers to deliver highly personalized services. Once a customer opens the related app in-store, their past shopping behaviour data can help retailers target them with offers customized to their location in a store.
Proximity marketing helps a retailer to engage with a customer who is glued to the device. With these beacons, retailers can navigate customers through a store, find what they want and maybe get a few perks for their efforts. The onus lies on how the retailer handles the customer once they have their attention. NFC, geo-fencing, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi hotspot are other proximity marketing tools that retailers can exploit to good effect to boost their brand effectiveness.
When Apple introduced the passcode fingerprint scan mode as a security feature, it gave me a sense of happiness because I knew that I was an owner of a smart phone that was highly secured. In the year 2014, Gartner made the prediction that 30% of all companies will use biometrics on mobile devices by 2016.1
Finger print scan, voice identification and facial recognition are some of the biometric techniques that are in use today. Frost & Sullivan predicted that nearly a half-billion people will be using a smartphone equipped with biometric technology by 2017.2 With such a high consumer base, it becomes mandatory for retailers to exploit and extend their services using biometrics.
The Digital Store
Even though the online world has taken the world by storm, the physical brick and mortar retail business is still a reckoning force with shoppers choosing to physically walk into the stores and shop. Giving these customers a digital experience boosts their shopping experience.
Ugg Australia uses memory mirror technology using RFID tags that helps customers to try different outfits in various colours and shapes. This saves the long queue time of staying outside the trial room. Apple stores are perfect examples of a next generation digital store.
Incorporating latest technology in the retail business has its pros and cons. A retail IT support partner can help retail firms to provide seamless customer experiences and achieve profits.
Tell us about one technology trend in retail industry that has caught your attention in 2016