4 Approaches Changing the Consumer Retail Experience
Customization and self-service are not trends, they are expectations that have been acquired by many consumers, and will be critical for retail growth. Customers are technologically savvy, and they expect to be able to travel their own path but receive assistance anywhere along their personal, customized, consumer experience.
There are endless articles that focus on single digital tools that will completely change the retail experience. However, it is less about the technology, and more about the objectives and the strategy to serve the ultimate goal.
Here are some interesting practices I would argue will soon be mainstream:
- Predictive Analytics: Handling customer data, and tracking previous purchases can only take a retailer so far. This data has been helpful for targeting customers with offers, but just looking at previous behavior doesn’t provide a true propensity for purchase. Creating a true purchase predictive model requires an influx of data from multiple sources: online, social, in-store, and yes…previous purchase. However, until you take all of these sources and tally their impact score, you will not know what factors lead to purchase, and what factors are just fluff.
- Proximity Technology: Retailers currently track every single action on their ecommerce sites, ad networks, and social media properties. Beacons, Wi-Fi nodes, NFC, and other proximity technologies serve as ‘cookies for the real world’. Most of the current uses of beacon are pretty simple…notice your proximity and push a message to your phone. However, this only scratches the surface of proximity technology. There are currently two bucketed use cases for this technology:
- Active – This could include serving up a message on a mobile app, a NFC wristband walking through a checkpoint, or triggering a message based on identifying an individual. These are all actions that involve an interaction with a customer, and typically permission.
- Passive – This could be tapping into a customers’ smartphone Wi-Fi or tracking through a downloaded app, and watching foot traffic patterns. Retailers can learn what products are getting the most attention, or dwell times across the retail footprint.
- Visualized Data: Being able to visualize data is important today, and it’s going to be even more important going forward. Retailers are demanding more visualization tools to help support their insights and analysis, and also to accelerate their understanding of key business drivers. Visualizations are going to change the way analysts work with data, and they are going to be expected to respond to issues more rapidly. Analysts will need to be able to dig for more insights and look at data different and more imaginatively.
- Digital Messaging: The use of digital signage has become more advanced as new technologies are introduced, and the barrier to entry continues to reduce. The convergence of digital signage and technology has opened new opportunities to customize the shopping experience, and create a relevance that otherwise would not have existed. Data and technology now work in tandem to continuously optimize the consumer experience, and meet customer expectations.
Jon Dodge, EVP, Business Development