In-Store Retail Forecast: Heavy Mobile With a Chance of Beacons
2015 may finally be the year of in-store mobile, and it's been a long time coming. Deloitte recently found that 84 percent of shoppers use digital devices while shopping in-store, and those who do convert at a 40 percent higher rate. From my company's partnerships with Target and other retailers, we've also found that shoppers who use an in-store feature (e.g., store maps or search filtered for in-stock items) are 50 percent more likely to visit and use the app in-store.
While mobile conversion rates may be low, there's no doubt that the devices have a huge impact on in-store purchase decisions. Retailers can't ignore mobile in-store any longer. Here are the top mobile and retail tech trends to look for in 2015:
Last year, most retailers were trying to understand what a beacon is, how it works and how they could use it. In 2015, you'll find retailers move past learning and proof-of-concept projects to actually piloting and deploying beacons.
More and more retailers are using the store as a distribution center, blurring the lines between physical and digital and enabling consumers to shop in ways that meet their needs. Retailers will look to streamline in-store fulfillment by building out curbside programs and services that make it easier for store associates and partners to pick, pack and ship.
Point-of-Sale Systems and Mobile Payments
Obvious transitions are happening in the point-of-sale space, paving the way for the death of the cash register. In 2015, we'll see more mobile checkout options in-store and fewer queues at the front. With the rise of PayPal, Square and, recently, Apple Pay, there's no question that we'll also see movement in the mobile payments space. Disruption will be slow however due to legacy platforms, with the overall transaction level lower than 3 percent.
IT and Store Operations Partnerships
One of the biggest trends this year may be the collaboration between IT and store operations teams. Not only will this bring more optimization and efficiency in-store, but also enables IT teams to have a bigger impact. We expect more experiments in-store vs. in separate innovation centers. This gives store operations a well-deserved seat at the digital table to consider the right factors when rolling out new technology.
Shoppers are demanding to see the same level of personalized offers in-store that they receive online. Recent research by McCann reveals that 66 percent of consumers want to be "inspired" while shopping. Personalization becomes even more important with limited time and a smaller screen to browse. Retailers are better equipped in 2015 to deliver personalized offers in-store.
For retailers, the real benefit of wearables initially may be for store associates rather than shoppers. With the rise of omnichannel, stores also act as fulfillment centers. Employees using devices to pick, pack and ship are slowed by only having one hand accessible. The release of smartwatches and other wearables will allow retailers to better task store employees and enable more effective picking.
Retailers are finally realizing the power of online data and are demanding the same data for in-store. Smart retailers will start acting on these data points to enhance the shopper experience and store operations.
We're living in a time of retail disruption in all areas. Geo-location and store-specific experiences are top of mind for retailers. Mobile and wearables are improving experiences for both shoppers and store associates alike. We're looking forward to what's shaping up to be another very exciting year in retail technology!
Josh Marti is the CEO and co-founder of Point Inside, an in-store SaaS for mobile shopper engagement.