‘Tis the season for bold and forward-thinking retailers to try new things! Excitement is building as many innovative retailers focus on areas to make the holiday shopping experience better for their customers.
Enhancing Retail Mobile Apps
Some retailers are using mobile apps to help customers spend less time gathering deals and waiting in line, and more on finding the gifts their friends and family want:
Target makes it easy for parents to play Santa by enhancing their kids’ wish list app. This app includes new holiday games and a kid-friendly search function to add products in a “letter to Santa.” Parents then log into adult mode and respond to the letter, buy the presents directly, and share the list with relatives.
Kohl’s mobile app lets shoppers gather all their deals in one place by scanning gift cards, Kohl’s Cash, and Yes2You loyalty rewards into a mobile wallet. Customers also enjoy accelerated checkout in stores using Apple Pay.
Walmart’s mobile app lets customers build holiday wish lists by scanning items while shopping in stores, which can then be accessed by friends and family members using the app’s search feature. The app also directs consumers who order presents online to pickup locations in the store.
Creating a Better Omnichannel Experience
Retailers are also connecting online and offline channels with technology in the store to make sure customers don’t leave empty-handed:
Gamestop helps customers who want to avoid lines at all costs by letting them order products with their mobile app and pick it up in the store. If a shopper starts their shopping journey in the store, sales associates equipped with mobile devices will help them browse the complete online inventory, ship products to their home, and check out quickly with Apple Pay and Android Pay.
This year Kohl’s is debuting a “Ready for Pickup” email to alert customers that their order is ready, complete with an in-store map directing them to a pickup kiosk. Customers use just one shopping cart whether they’re shopping from their smart phone, tablet, or desktop.
Dick’s Sporting Goods is providing customers with an “Endless Aisle” experience. If an item is sold out in the store, the customer can use a digital kiosk to order the item, or work with a sales associate to have the item shipped to their home, often free of charge.
These innovations are supported by Cisco research on digital shoppers, which confirms that shoppers are very willing to use mobile features related to product research, purchase, delivery, and product support. In fact, 63 percent of customers surveyed would use in-store guidance to navigate to desired products, 60 percent would scan barcodes when shopping, and 49 percent would use mobile payments. Retailers can expect improved satisfaction and conversion by investing in mobile experiences that provide convenience and value to the customer, and avoiding features that complicate the shopper journey.
Cisco has also found that retailers can turn shoppers into omnichannel customers by allowing them to use in-store technology to purchase out-of-stock items. In a previous holiday season, Cisco customer Tesco combined online and in-store shopping experiences to exceed online holiday sales targets and achieved more than 50 percent sales growth.
We’re looking forward to seeing what kind of results progressive retailers will deliver this holiday season. Share what innovative approaches you are seeing in the marketplace and where you are placing your bets this season!
In my first #CiscoChat I hosted together with Anabelle Pinto, we were joined by Gaurav Pant and Sahir Anand from EKN Research to share their perspective and dig deeper into additional findings from Cisco and IDC. We started by defining who the digital consumer is, what type of services they’re looking for and what shoppers want and expect, all while providing the security they need.
Here are a few highlights from the #CiscoChat:
Who is today’s digital shopper?
#ciscochat a digital shopper is everyone. We seamlessly transition across channels of engagement,commerce. Make the experience frictionless
It’s almost the holiday season and it’s time for your customers to host that special dinner party, where they can make memories and share stories with loved ones. What if they could also share the story of where that holiday meal came from?
This is now possible using the power of the Internet of Everything (IoE). The ability to monitor and assure food quality, safety, and provenance is probably one of the fastest-emerging applications of IoE – and the fastest-growing differentiator for grocers. With IoE, even the minute details of products can be tracked from source to shelf. Providing access to data across the entire agricultural food chain is sometimes now referred to as the “Internet of Food.”
Your party host can share with guests where the wheat was raised to produce the pasta, describe exactly where and how the olive oil was pressed, serve a salad that was bought at guaranteed optimal ripeness, and enjoy a glass of wine from the region of France visited by the host on his last trip to Europe.
Today, your customers are closer than ever to getting this extreme level of detail:
The pasta brand Barilla is already making this a reality. They have placed QR codes on select boxes of pasta and sauces. This code connects customers to a website that tells the story of the farms where the wheat was grown, the co-ops and factories where it was processed, and how much water and carbon dioxide were involved in production. To learn more about how Barilla did it, please read the press release.
Sensors also give retailers the ability to identify and monitor the freshest, healthiest produce. This is done using sensors that monitor the temperature and humidity of your products. You can measure concentrations of gases and even use a pocket-sized spectrum analyzer like the SCiO to determine chemical composition. Based on levels of ripeness, retailers can even develop dynamic pricing and promotional campaigns to react to changes in demand or ripening speed.
Through the Internet of Everything (IoE), retailers can break through information silos across supply chains and give customers transparency into the journey of their food, from field to fork. To see how other retailers are embracing digital transformation, see our customer stories.
As organizations move toward digital transformation, they are embracing the benefits of delivering timely, personalized information to customers, citizens, and patients. Connecting people with information and services when, where, and how they want, is a pivotal point in the way organizations process, apply data and deliver that information.
Given my busy schedule, I appreciate a shopping experience that is hassle-free and fast. I also want the information I need about a product or service to be easy to find. And for that matter, I expect that a retailer knows what I am looking for and provides relevant promotions and discounts. These rising expectations have been born out of leading digital retailers and now that the bar has been set – anything that falls short feels like a disappointment.
Today’s shoppers are looking for efficiency, ease in problem-solving, and faster time to purchase. They want to take advantage of savings through discounts and promotional offers and they want to be engaged when learning about new items, entertainment, and product options. To address these growing expectations, Cisco and Panasonic are partnering to transform the shopping experience through their Powershelf solution. The solution enables brick and mortar retailers to automate inventory tracking and pricing data, helping them optimize their supply chain and better manage demand. In addition, real-time product information can be delivered to a customer’s mobile device.
The future involves much more than improving customer engagement. Cities are challenged with delivering enhanced citizen services and information on a limited budget. In the face of inclement weather and emergencies, it is critical that cities link dispatch, first responders and the community with timely, accurate information. For example, the City of Mississauga is leveraging sensors and wireless connectivity to make these connections, analyze trends and share information between citizen services, public communications, and operations.
As more and more citizens prefer to receive information and updates via their mobile devices, this integrated public service system will allow cities to put a request into action quickly and efficiently and provide real-time updates. Now, the City of Mississauga can deploy operations teams and emergency services faster, enable new services without recognizing an increase in IT budget and improve public safety with immediate, actionable information.
I always feel the rush of excitement when it comes to shopping. Whether it’s that something special to enhance my home’s interior. Or my annual vacation package. Or a pair of custom designer shoes that will add a perfect dash of sophistication to my business suit. Yes it’s true. Nothing to beat bespoke products and services tailored to suit my lifestyle. I get to craft my vacation itinerary. I can design my own shoes online with personal designs, pictures, or logos. How cool is that?
The good thing is I don’t need to rush to the store to search or understand more about what I am looking for. This is the new reality. And I am fast adapting to it. I no longer see a distinction between searching online and hanging out in a mall. The incredible choice and power I have now helps me make the right decisions about my purchases. I find what I need at the best price, whether through a virtual storefront or in a physical shop. Instant gratification!
The Changing Face of Retail I know I am not alone. Millions of people enjoy the convenience, breadth of choice, and enticing mix of deals through a variety of channels.
According to eMarketer, retail products and services purchased on the internet will rise to 8.8% of the total retail market globally by 2018, up from 5.9% in 2014. Read More »