“Future Requests” for Connected Retail SpacesBy Kadley Gosselin January 30, 2013
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There’s no question that online and mobile shopping are becoming increasingly ubiquitous. However, traditional brick and mortar stores still have a leg up in many respects: the ability to “try” products in person, instant access to purchases, social opportunities, and so on.
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Despite those advantages, shoppers have begun to expect that digital information will be infused into these physical experiences; 36% are already using smartphones and even tablets (21%) while shopping in stores.
With that in mind, Latitude conducted an innovation study during the course of 2012: Next-Gen Retail: Mobile and Beyond, which explores how shoppers use mobile devices to enhance their shopping endeavors (both online and offline) currently—and how they’d like to in the future. More than 900 smartphone-enabled shoppers in the U.S. and U.K. participated in the study, reacting to various future shopping concepts and generating their own. Much of what we heard involved the integration of digital information into physical stores (e.g., a color-matching app for colorblind—or just color-challenged—shoppers, virtual fitting rooms, personalized recommendations, etc.). In fact, seventy-nine percent of participants were interested in the possibility of having digital content delivered to their mobile phones while shopping in a store.
The infographic below displays the most popular digital enhancements that shoppers would like to see made to in-store retail, as well as the needs underlying these future requests:
How can mobile information improve the in-store shopping experience?
- Make it More Efficient: Not surprisingly, shoppers want to streamline the in-store process and eliminate frustrations like having to wait in line. Self-checkout machines have quickly become a mainstay at food and discount retail locations, but they still haven’t been widely adopted amongst other retail categories. Moreover, the portability and ubiquity of mobile devices creates an opportunity for all retailers to provide this feature (i.e., scan and check-out via smartphone) without the cost of special or unsightly hardware. An overwhelming 95% of participants agreed that they would be interested in an app or service that would allow them to scan products while shopping and check-out via their own devices.
Apps like QThru are slowly becoming available at US grocers and at big, multi-national players like Wal-Mart— which is currently testing the Scan & Go app. In addition, Wal-Mart’s mobile app features “in-store mode”, which satisfies a number of participants’ future requests. The app uses shoppers’ locations in the store to provide details and promotions, offers interactive maps to assist with store navigation, and allows shoppers to make voice responsive lists.
- Provide Product Information: When it comes to in-store shopping, reading labels or scouring Google for detailed product information, use cases, or reviews can be a consuming yet crucial part of the purchase process. Ninety-four percent of participants expressed interest in a mobile app or site for easy product or price comparisons, while 79% of participants said they would like access to demo videos about the products they’re browsing in store (via QR codes, for example). Retailers like Office Depot and Macy’s are responding to shoppers’ needs by offering expert tips and videos at the critical, decision-making moment.
- Highlight Deals: Participants in our study cited saving time over saving money as a reason to shop via mobile. Despite this, finding the best deal is undoubtedly a high priority, with 92% of participants wanting to receive deals via mobile while shopping in a store. Groupon recently announced the acquisition of Glassmap, a social news feed based on location, most likely as an avenue to user data that could help Groupon deliver more targeted deals based on time, location, personal preferences and social buzz-worthiness. Target also recently announced a new price-matching policy: “If a guest buys a qualifying item at a Target store and then finds an identical item for less in the following week’s Target circular, or within seven days on Target.com, Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Bestbuy.com or Toysrus.com, or in a local competitor’s printed ad, Target will match the price.” This policy is likely to appeal to deal-craving shoppers who are routinely using mobile devices to find more competitive prices, even after they’ve completed a purchase.
Header image courtesy of Jorge Gonzalez.
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