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IRX2015 PREVIEW Over-excited about mobile

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There is such a lot to look forward to next week at Internet Retailing, we can hardly contain our excitement. As you can see below there are some key things that are tickling us from mobile to payments to the Digital High Street. But, while there are still many of the ‘basics’ being covered off, what I am particularly intrigued about is retailer attitude to how fast tech is developing.

In particular I am intrigued by the wearables. Now, don’t go thinking that just because I am the mobile editor at Internet Retailing that I think wearables are cool. They are not. What intrigues me is whether consumers will buy into the idea and what exactly retailers are going to do if they do.

So, I am particularly looking forward to Mat Braddy, Chief Marketing Officer, at Just Eat’s case study in the mobile theatre on day one on ‘Wearable Tech, AR, and VR – what’s on the horizon for mobile retail’.

The idea of wearables currently has been hijacked by watches – a distinct improvement on glasses – largely because Apple said so. I personally wonder if it’s the ideal way to interact with your phone, but I can certainly see that a watch that can ‘talk’ to the retail environment or even pay for things could well be very cool indeed.

But this is driven more, I think, by the need to start to make the mobile retail experience in store much more background-y: the shop needs to recognise the user as they enter the store and engage with them through push messages. Mobile needs to start to be seamless. This would be the true way to cross channels, seamlessly linking the two experiences. I can see a watch working well for this.

I can also see a watch working well for payments: just waft it around the payment terminal to pay using Apple Pay could be good. But I want to be convinced. And I want to hear what retailers see as the opportunity for wearables and payments. No pressure Mat.

The other thing that I am looking forward to is how the Digital Payment Village at the show will be addressing mobile payments. There are so many payment solutions out there and I am intrigued to see which ones retailer delegates at the show gravitate towards.

Of course there are those that need to make payments on device easier and more mobile and then there are those that want to bring mobile into the store as a payment tool (and then onto wearables, as discussed), but how do they see that happening and who will drive it?

IRX is set to be the ideal place to find out. I am excited because not only is it the place to see what tech is in place and the place to hear from leading retailers and practitioners what their vision is, but also it is the place to gauge retailer thinking – especially around mobile and the shopping experience. Any trip to a shopping mall will demonstrate the disconnect between consumer expectation, mobile use and what they get in store.

INTERNET RETAILING EXPO 2015 takes place at the Birmingham NEC on 25 and 26 March 2015. You can check out the schedule HERE and register to attend FREE HERE

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