The Apple Watch has arrived! Will this fundamentally alter the future of wearables? Will this be the catalyst that doubles Apple’s stock price? Will this be the gadget that finally makes mobile wearable devices mainstream? It’s still too early to know for sure, but the launch of the Apple Watch does bring into sharper focus emergent opportunities in mobile technology.
Earlier this year, Jim Carroll told an audience at a ThoughtWorks National Retail Foundation event that he believed “mobile is eating retail.” Perhaps it might be more appropriate to say that retail is devouring mobile.
Mobile technologies are becoming an ever more crucial part of retail operations. Retailers have the opportunity to actively engage consumers by creating experiences that are more meaningful, differentiated and personalized, and those that take full advantage of mobile technology will be able to create more durable customer relationships built on shared value. Retail’s future is being irrevocably defined by mobility, and it’s about so much more than the phone.
'Minority Report' is Now a Reality
Remember the movie "Minority Report," where digital billboards broadcast ads to people by name based on biometric scans? Creepy? Maybe. Farfetched? Not at all. Now, personalization doesn’t require tapping into consumers’ private biometric data; it requires only a mobile device and the information consumers choose to share.
The future of “shopper marketing” lies in highly targeted in-store promotions to consumers based on their interests, needs and past actions. It relies on a deep understanding of consumer behavior, a cohesive view of an individual’s activity across channels, robust analytics and effective customer engagement models.
Is it possible to achieve such personalization without a “creepy factor”? Absolutely, but it requires earning consumer trust. According to Mintel research, 60 percent of millennial consumers would be willing to provide details about their personal preferences and habits to marketers. What’s more, at least 30 percent of millennials who initially said they wouldn't part with more personal information said they would be willing to do so after receiving an incentive (e.g., a discount coupon for their next purchase). Retailers must earn the right to be their customers’ trusted partners.