Enterprise Mobility

How Mobile Technology is Changing the Retail Industry


Only 10 years ago, no one realized that mobile technology could be of any interest to the retail industry.

But, look at it now!

According to a report, 50% of all in-store transactions will be completed via mobile point of sale by 2017. And, 33% of shoppers search for online coupons on their mobiles. Also, 80% of smartphone owners want mobile-optimized product information, while they are in a store.

So, with mobile technology, customers are able to research, compare, and purchase products and services more efficiently than ever before.

Whether they are browsing in a brick-and-mortar store or sitting at home, consumers are using mobile technologies to change:

  • How they purchase things,
  • How they talk to others about retail experiences, and
  • How they feel about brands.

And, such a dramatic growth has made it inevitable for retailers to harness the power of the forces working on the market to capitalize the advantages of the opportunities to come.

So, how are retailers using or planning to use the advantages of mobile technology?

We did a deep analysis and put together our findings in this article. Read on to learn more.

#1 Streamlined Checkouts

Mobile technology has brought a revolutionary change to the retail industry by streamlining the checkouts and conversions and it has helped to build a deeper relationship between the consumers and retailers.

Previously, retailers lost a large amount of sales due to long queues at the checkout which resulted in purchase abandonment by the customers.

But, today, mobile technology has nullified this problem by moving the point of sale closer to the customers. In fact, leading brands like Starbucks and Apple have already started using mobile checkouts to get to the sales more quickly.

Some of the innovations making this possible include mobile “scan-and-go” payment apps (such as Google Wallet) and mobile credit card readers (such as Square technology).

Mobile wallets ensure that the consumers do not have to stand in a queue to purchase something and mobile checkout helps retailers collect the contact information of the customers so they can add it to a marketing list, which seemed impossible before.

#2 Increased Customer Engagement

Knowing where your customers are and what they want will help you engage them more strategically to ensure an optimal experience.

So, by leveraging the use of geolocative technologies, such as geofencing and near field communication, mobile technology can help retailers increase their customer engagement.

Some retailers are already using geofencing to set up a virtual “fence” around a retail property to identify when a customer, who has opted for the service, is in the area. This helps the retailers send custom messages about exclusive offers that are good for that visit.

They are also using NFC tags to give customers more information about a specific product. They thus place the tags in front of the product on the shop’s shelves so that the customers can get more information about the product via a mobile interface by simply touching their phones to the tag.

#3 Retaining Customers through Clienteling

Clienteling is a technique that helps retailers form long-term relationships with consumers based on data about their purchases, behaviors, and preferences.

And, mobile technology enables retailers to collect the data automatically, store it efficiently and then share it with the sales associates across all their stores. So, the customer preferences are easily accessible by any sales associate, no matter which retail outlet they use.

So, today, retailers are using it to retain their customers, as it gives them the power to foresee what the customers might like and they can then help the customers find it and follow up on the purchase.

Moreover, mobile-based clienteling has been proven to be highly useful for lesser-known or smaller retailers. Although it requires a bit of training and buy-in from the sales associates, the investment is fairly low and the payoffs can be worth it.

#4 Improved Advertising

Mobile technology has also put traditional in-store advertising in the backroom. Today, mobile devices act as a digital signage and price tags can quickly be changed to reflect the mobile point sales and new discounts. Advertising that highlights new products can also play over the digital signage that covers a store.

Retailers are achieving this through beacons, as it helps them capture more data about the customers while they advertise directly to them. Beacons also gives them the ability to advertise products on one beacon and highlight another product at the other end of the store on another beacon.

Such dual capability of advertising and data collection make it an inevitable technology to use for retailers and the adoption is estimated to grow even more in the near future.

So, how is mobile technology changing the retail industry according to you? Have we missed any important points here?

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