The Future of Retail is Now

It amazes me how many retailers inAustraliasimply ignore what is now possible using digital and especiallyMobileto drive foot traffic and revenue. What I tend to find is that most efforts of late are focussed on building e commerce capabilities, (apparently to curb the shift in offshore purchasing), and also the continued email marketing and now with some social media thrown into the mix. I would have thought that retailers would want to drive people into their stores rather then send them online, and email marketing is so 2002.

I believe that shopping is an experience and many women I know go shopping not necessarily to purchase a particular item yet for the experience, much like I would head to the local pub with my mates. I also strongly believe that if fixed Internet Web sites have made people shop in their PJ’s, then it will be the Smartphone that will drive them back to the shops.

Using location services such as Geofencing along with digitalMobilecoupons, Social integration and price comparison Apps the Mobile phone becomes a wand while shopping. Shop assistants will all have tablets and will check stock, sign you up to the loyalty program, push a coupon to you and even take payment even via PayPal before you can say “what’s on special”.

Today Google launched “Google Wallet” which offers a NFC payment solution however only in the US for now and one handset, one credit card company and a few retailers. They have however integrated this with Google Offers the group buying offering. A lot of the hype with NFC is around the payment side however the loyalty and rewards side is where it gets very interesting, now consumers armed with a Smartphone can view points, rewards, past purchases, pricing and store visit history and the list goes on.

Recent data shows only 35% of retailers have a documented business plan to navigate the industry’s current and future challenges. The just released ‘Business of Retail’ report, compiled by Financial Review Business Intelligence (FRBI), shows 20% of surveyed retailers have no strategy for the future of their business. A further 45% of respondents have a business plan but have not committed it to paper, while 35% actually have a plan and have written it down.

A recent study ofUKshoppers has found that consumers now prefer shopping via their mobile device rather than over the PC internet. And the difference is very strong: for users aged 25 to 35, mobile is preferred 3 to 1 over regular online!

It is not too late at all for retailers to reinvent themselves however the time is now to start.

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