With the New Year upon us, we get a chance to make bold new predictions and design new solutions. 2017 will be the year where customers can finally be ‘mobile-only’. Over the past three years we have heard of ‘mobile-first’. Mobile will be at the core of any new organizations starting up in 2017. However, what about an established entity? Bold prediction is that in 2017 they will go mobile for both consumers as well as retail operations.
For consumers it is fairly evident that mobile commerce is the growing channel with 31% of all online commerce in 2016 was mobile. This should cross 50% in 2017 if retailers can remove some of the frictions within the path to purchase while becoming hyper personalized.
Best way to do is by:
Acquisition: Invest heavily in push notification marketing strategy as much as mobile social media ads. Both social media and push notifications have one of the highest click through rates because they are highly personalized, so go all in with your digital marketing within these two segments!
Product Search: 2016 was all about ‘Alex’, ‘Ok Google’ and ‘Hey Siri’. Retail product search in 2017 will either be integrated with these AI or the retail apps themselves will use voice search for frictionless discovery. Imagine yourself doing this: ‘Alexa, order me the kitchen table I was researching from home depot, weekly groceries from Kroger and Polo sweater size L from Nordstrom’ and you have all of these at your doorstep in no time.
Product Selection: Want to see how that sweater will look on you or that kitchen table would fit in your home - Augmented Reality (AR) is the answer. Dress yourself or your house by just using the smartphone to ensure that perfect fit. Want to experience driving the new Audi S7 vs BMW M6 - then use Virtual Reality (VR). Pop your phone into a VR player and truly experience the thrill being behind these vehicles instead of visiting multiple dealerships.
Checkout: Filing out shipping and billing addresses, credit card info and then finally validating that everything is correct is so 2016. Integrate with mobile pay to offer a simple ‘one click’ or ‘one thumb’ checkout. Single biometric verification is needed since both Apple and Google wallets already have stored all necessary information. We still need to figure out how to auto update information when cards expire or customers move.
Customer Service/Post purchase help: Get all the answers and customer care through chatbots. They can be used via text, email or even within app chat. In case queries get too complex, there can still be traditional reps available. To support mobile-only economy, retailers will have to invest in real time inventory and empower their associates with mobile POS and clientele capabilities to ensure a sophisticated personalized in store customer experience.
Real Time Inventory: For a seamless on-the-go experience, it wouldn’t be possible without IoT creating real time inventory movement, digital supply chain and frictionless checkout. For instance, Impinj is the provider for the underpinning of Amazon Go which claims to provide 99% accurate inventory data. With such accuracy and discipline loss sales due to out of stock can be a thing of the past.
Associate Enablement: Companies like tulip are marrying the best in mobility with operational excellence to provide a compelling in store experience for associates thereby transforming and enriching the end customer experiencing. Tulip provides an exceptional clientele toolkit, fully integrated omni-channel mPOS and best of all new stores can be brought up in an instance without any expensive store infrastructure. By having so much power in the pocket of an associate, the associate has more availability thereby reducing wait time and creating an end customer personalized in store shopping experience.
2017 will be a transformative year for retailers as the ones who decide to make customer experience their core DNA while making mobility the centerpiece of their strategy will thrive the others will wither way or be bought out.