5 Tips for Retailers to Effectively Leverage Mobility and New Digital Technologies
The retail world is changing rapidly as companies move to make significant investments in digital technologies. Retailers are innovating in response to consumer demand for instant access to product information and transactions through digital channels.
Customer-facing mobile services are especially appealing to retailers as they seek to enhance the in-store experience by giving patrons some of the convenience of internet shopping. Recognizing their customers attachment to smartphones and tablets, retailers such as The Home Depot and Ben & Jerry's are offering smartphone checkout, electronic receipts and text message-based personalized promotions with targeted coupons and specials.
According to Boston Retail Partners’ 15th Annual POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey, retailers ranked in-store customer-facing technology as the most important factor to their organizations. In addition, 30 percent of respondents said they have a smartphone app, 40 percent have implemented a digital catalog, and 40 percent offer product information and a shopping list via customer-facing mobile technology. They also said their focus within the next two years will be on offering further customer-facing technologies.
What's more, eMarketer estimates that U.S. retail e-commerce sales will reach $304.1 billion in 2014, which is an increase of 15.5 percent over last year's $263.3 billion. According to eMarketer, that growth will represent more than 20 percent of 2014's total retail sales increase of $199.4 billion.
It's no wonder that worldwide retail sector IT spending will grow 3.4 percent in 2014 and that "[r]etailers increased focus on mobility, along with ongoing investments in e-commerce initiatives to develop a true cross-channel retail experience, will drive investment throughout the forecast period."
Leveraging mobility and new digital technologies is a smart move for the retail industry, especially as it seeks to engage younger consumers accustomed to using mobile devices to communicate, browse and play. But as with any new endeavor, retailers should proceed with caution and pay heed to the following: