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When it comes to retail, there are many different avenues that one can go down, either as consumers or retailers. Many consumers are becoming more tech savvy, which enables them to find more options on where to buy when shopping for certain products. The slowed economy has brought an influx of daily deal sites and apps, which has created price conscious consumers.  Retail shopping trend research from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that 1 out of 4 adult cell phone owners used their mobile device to look up prices of a product they found in retail stores, while 64% of mobile users are using their mobile devices to shop online. How many of you use your smartphone to look up the product to see if you can save by going somewhere else?

Mobile Payments on the Rise

Consumers always want a choice and the ability to create multiple channels that a consumer can pay through will lead to higher sales - there are fewer chances to lose a sale when payment options are abundant. Mobile payment options are bringing retail closer to the consumer. Consumers can now easily purchase products using mobile payments, which will increase the retailers reach. Once mobile credit card readers like Square become more available, small startup retail stores and vendors will be able to reach a market that may not have already been available without the mobile payment options. Mobile payments have been the source of the increase in retail sales, especially mobile retail in the past year and a half – a recent study shows that the mobile retail market is predicted to exceed $12 billion by 2014.

Online shopping has been on the rise since the early 2000’s, primarily because the online stores have been able to offer better deals than department stores. Convenience has taken over in this day and age and many people are giving up the ability to try items in store for the convenience in having the item shipped straight to their door.

Retail therapy is going to be more important than ever in the evolving world of brick-and-mortar retail stores. By definition, retail therapy is shopping with the primary purpose of improving the buyer’s mood or disposition. Bob Phibbs states, “The best retailers will realize that customers go to stores to meet interested and interesting employees who can help them ultimately feel smarter and better about themselves” – empowering the customer is the #1 goal. Businesses that can reproduce the feeling of retail therapy for the consumer will be the ones coming out on top.

The future of retail will depend on retailers that realize that customers need to feel empowered and not belittled by the salesperson or overwhelmed by the technology being thrown at them. Having a multi-pronged approach to delivering content to consumers is important in this tech-savvy world, however it is important not to overuse technology as a way to compensate for a lack in marketing strategy.

The bargain hunting consumer will be a major game changer to the retail scene because they will price check the item with others online. An Inc.com retail report stated that, “While offering discounts is a sure way to get consumers interested, when it comes to determining a retailer’s value, more consumers will choose experience over price – in that they seek unique products, intuitive customer service, more flexible shopping options with multi-channel integration.” When it comes to multi-channel integration, there are many large and small retail companies that can benefit from moving to a more 21st century attitude towards tech savvy shoppers. So many of the big name retailers have fallen to an outdated shopping experience, and many people are taking advantage. Studies have shown that engaging the customer through mobile, digital signage, and interactive displays have increased sales by 35%.

There are many considerations that need to be taken into account when bringing your retail store into a mobile and online ecosystem, but when done right, the rewards can be great.

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