Welcome to 2015! As is always the case at this time of year, the trends experts and prognosticators are out in full force, offering predictions for the coming year.
While experts may not see eye-to-eye on every detail, a common thread appears throughout the chatter. It's time for retailers and manufacturers to embrace in-store digital technology–whether that's via payment, marketing or loyalty programs.
"Shoppers are no longer loyal to an individual channel, but rather to a brand experience across all channels," explains CapGemini's Lindsey Mazza, senior manager of supply chain. "Strong execution against in-store mobile strategies support retailers by increasing customer loyalty, sales conversions, profit and, ultimately, business continuity."
Retailers should look to some key innovation areas within the realm of in-store technology, according to CapGemini. First, expect to see more "mobile-armed" associates who have broken free of the checkout line using mobile point-of-sale devices. Freeing these associates to spend time on the floor allows more customer interaction in addition to speeding checkout times with mobile payment technology.
Retailers should develop alternate paths to consumer insights, given the elevated level of concern over data security today. Advanced analytics will be the key here, allowing retailers to effectively personalize the customer experience for the opt-ins as well as the opt-outs.
"We predict that in 2015, we will see retailers band together to develop trust campaigns committing to concrete, non-competitive, industry-wide initiatives to improve data security and privacy," Mazza says.
Retailers striving to achieve a true omnichannel experience for their customers should look closely at their organizational structure. Are traditional silos short-circuiting the technology you've invested in to achieve this goal? If the key is to capture a single view of the customer across channels, does your internal structure facilitate or hinder this effort?
One prediction it seems most retail futurists can agree on is that in-store mobile technology will play a significant role in achieving these goals in 2015.
No doubt that there are countless opportunities for retailers to more effectively identify and meet the needs of their key customers. One prediction it seems most retail futurists can agree on is that in-store mobile technology will play a significant role in achieving these goals in 2015.