As traditional bricks and mortar retailers grapple with the challenges posed by their increasingly powerful online competitors, smartphone-toting consumers are playing an instrumental role in driving innovation.
With their phones at hand every moment of the day, Shoppers are naturally finding ways to utilize their mobile connection to suit their needs while in stores. Whether it’s “showrooming” to find a better price or checking product reviews and ratings, we’re taking control of the sale process. In fact, a recent survey by Accenture, found that nearly 75% of shoppers admit that they actually prefer to reference their mobile device than ask a sales associate for help.
How does this emerging trend towards self-service shopping translate for the retailer? It means that as consumers become more connected they expect quick and seamless experiences with online, mobile, and brick-and-mortar channels. They make no distinction between them. And with that expectation in mind, retailers now have a unique opportunity to leverage these connections with today’s technologies to create dynamic shopping experiences inside and outside of the store. As Greg Girard of consultancy IDC Retail Insights says, “The four walls of the store have become porous.”
The Always-Connected Consumer is:
- Constantly connected to the Internet through smart, portable devices
- Technologically savvy – expecting the latest technology from retailers
- Taking control of their own shopping experience, identifying and leveraging many different sources of information and channels to optimize their path to purchase
- Demanding convenience
- Socially connected
Smart retailers are already capitalizing on this new consumer behavior by empowering shoppers with tools to meet their immediate on-floor needs – and more importantly, keeping them from purchasing elsewhere. The Lowe’s iPhone app sets a great example, giving the always-connected consumer convenience by letting customers purchase products and schedule a pick up from the store in less than 20 minutes – it’s just like ordering takeout dinner! Our in-store app for the Levi’s Denim Bar at JCPenney was designed to allow customers to quickly browse the extensive product pool through a range of engaging and innovative digital tools. These are just two examples, but in the coming months we’re poised to see a wealth of innovative, technological solutions pop up throughout the country’s malls and stores.
From our standpoint, this is an exciting time in the retail industry. With a strong foundation in brand strategy, and a wealth of experience with digital wholesale marketing, we’re ideally positioned to help retailers blend on-floor strategy with digital innovation. If you’re interested in finding out how you can best serve the always-connected consumer, just drop us a line!