I am obsessed with mobile in retail. For many years I was focussed on how mobile could be used as a channel to buy things any time any place: just whip out your smartphone and buy. But these days I am much more interested in how mobile, AI, speech recognition and data can all work together to make everything we do (a) voice controlled and (b) seamless and fast.
And in retail I see this as being nirvana – especially in stores. Shops are, let’s face it, a poor experience. But adding in the interactive elements that mobile and AI bring – not to mention speech control – and suddenly you make shops a great place to be, offering more than just a place to queue up and buy things in the wrong size.
Interestingly, retailers get this too. As our story points out, research from Qmatic UK Ltd, conducted by Vanson Bourne, finds that on average retailers spend £1m a year on improving their in-store experience – with the most popular being assisted selling ( arming sales agents with tablets), free wifi and video walls.
This is an encouraging start, but this falls way short of offering the kind of interactive experience that makes life seamless and simple, as well as rapid and satisfying as many people now find online.
Interestingly, the research finds that retailers agree: they aren’t doing enough – but it is a start.
One way to approach this is through a mobile-first strategy. It sounds trite, but mobile really does hold the key to the next generation of retail. And getting mobile right will lay the ground work for how to then build in AI, chatbots and all the things that the future has to offer.
We outline the 12 steps to going mobile first here, but in reality there is much more to it than that: you have to think mobile and, as I do, dream mobile. The rest will follow.
The Tamebay Ecommerce Cup
The Tamebay Ecommerce Cup 2017 will be held on September 7 and five-a-side teams are now being invited to sign up. The tournament, now in its fifth year, is moving to a new venue in Shepherd’s Bush and promises FA refs and a comfy new players’ lounge complete with screens to keep tabs on competitors’ matches.
“We had a total of 26 teams enter last year, and it was great to have both suppliers and retailers competing, with Deliveroo taking the top spot and runners up Uber narrowly missing out,” says Mark Pigou, founder of InternetRetailing Media. “This year promises to be just as competitive.” To enter a team of up to 10 people (five players and five subs), sign up here.
Sponsorship opportunities are limited to three companies: email Joey Evans (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more.
Find out more about upcoming InternetRetailing webinars and register for free on the InternetRetailing webinar page. You can also catch up with past webinars on the page: recent sessions have come from IBM Watson on using AI to improve the customer experience, and from SmartFocus and The Entertainer on using social to reach digital customers.
Chloe Rigby is away