Shoppers Evolution, creating retail innovation

As the use of smart devices increase, the way consumers shop is evolving and so is their level of expectation to receive a seamless and personalised shopping experience.

Some retailers are finding this changing landscape challenging, while others are turning it to their advantage, gaining the edge on their competitors by using the latest technologies and customer data to create a truly customer centric and omni-channel experience.

STATS YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO IGNORE WHEN TALKING TO TODAY'S SHOPPER......
4 out of 5 consumers now use their mobile to shop (Source: convinceandconvert.com)
90% of shoppers said they use their smartphones in stores while shopping, to conduct price comparisons, find product information and reviews (Source: marketingland.com).
77% of consumers expect a retailer’s website to display products and offers that appeal to their tastes (Source: Quidco survey results found on Retail Week).

HOW RETAILERS ARE RESPONDING TO THESE CHANGING SHOPPING BEHAVIOURS 
Mobile apps can provide real-time data on what, where and how the customer has shopped and enables retailers to personalise the shopping experience for their customers, through mobile and in-store notifications, by using Beacon technology. Brands can incentivise shoppers to download apps, by providing offers, loyalty programs and mobile payment via mobile.
Harvey Nichols and Superdrug are two brands who have decided to ditch the traditional loyalty card, in favour of a mobile app. Kerem Atasoy, head of digital marketing, Harvey Nichols said “one of the key advantages to going mobile is that it can collect great data to target and personalise rewards and evolve the programme”. Other brands including Tesco and Boots are looking at ways to move their loyalty schemes to digital also. Other brands such as Starbucks and Subway, enable their customers to pay for purchases and receive special discounts and promotions via the brand apps.

PERSONALISED NOTIFICATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Digital advertising evolved several years ago, with the use of data enabling digital marketing to be personalised based on a consumer’s digital footprint. Now, stores are looking at ways they can use customer data to deliver a more relevant and personalised shopping experience cross-channel.
Asics’ have trialled an interactive digital personal advisor in their Hamburg flagship store, where shoppers can enter their personal preferences on an iPad and tailored product recommendations will appear on a large wall-mounted screen.
Other retailers such as House of Fraser and Ted Baker are combining online buying behaviour, with in-store location data gathered via beacons. Serving their customers with tailored notifications, such as product information, offers and discounts direct to their smartphone when they are near, or in-store.
Some retailers are taking in-store personalisation a step further. Mondelez International are piloting ‘smart shelves’ technology, the shelves use cameras to scan and determine the age and gender of passing customers and weight sensors detect whether they have picked up a product, enabling them to display personalised digital ads on shelf. While tech firm ‘Offer Moments’ uses a combination of Beacon technology and cameras, to build a profile of the shopper based on their social data, demographic and even what the individual is wearing, to deliver personalised messages and product recommendations on digital billboards.

CONCLUSION
There’s a real opportunity for retailers who leverage smartphone shopping behaviours by treating them as an extension of the traditional retail experience. By using shopper data and the latest in digital innovations to optimise retail design, businesses can provide the customer with a truly personalised and omni-channel shopping experience.
However, while consumers are familiar with online data capture and in most instances happy to share their personal data if they can see the benefits of more tailored content and product recommendations, certain types of real-world data capture and personalisation may be taking things too far for some, with 73% of shoppers surveyed stating they would find facial recognition to deliver personalised advertising ‘creepy’ (Source: Rich Relevance), so retailers will need to find the right balance for their customers.
To stay ahead of their competitors, retailers must become truly customer-centric, using shopper data to create a single view of their customer and talk to the them at an individual level. Giving shoppers what they want, when they want it - and by doing so reaping the rewards of increased customer loyalty.

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