Proactive vs. Reactive Retailing: How emerging technologies can help you take an active role in your customer’s journey

As any retailer knows all too well, gone are the days of simply setting up your storefront and hoping for the best. Now with increasing competition both on and offline, retail marketers need to go above and beyond to catch attention spans and nurture loyalty in an oversaturated market. With this perspective, the daunting role of retailers seems more challenging than ever before. However, today retailers have an arsenal of tools within their reaches to enhance their engagement and make a lasting impact with consumers.

As new technologies emerge on a constant basis, marketers have the opportunity to connect, communicate and facilitate meaningful, in-the-moment interactions with their customers. Seemingly, the advent of mobile shopping gave ecommerce retailers a significant advantage, but there is room for bricks-and-mortar retailers to leverage consumers’ complete dependence on their smartphones and optimize their in-store experiences. Included below is a rundown of the emerging technology available for retailers to execute to become more proactive within the customer journey.

In-Store Navigation- The job of a retail marketer is not complete once a shopper steps over the store threshold; it’s imperative to understand how customers interact with your space. Brands have implemented in-store tracking systems to better pinpoint their customers’ whereabouts resulting in a more seamless experience for both brand and customer. Walmart was among the first crop of retailers to experiment with in-store apps that serve as a guiding tool to help their customers shop efficiently and most importantly to Walmart, without frustration. Navigational tools are especially crucial during the Holiday season when bricks-and-mortar stores must operate under maximum capacity, and sometimes chaos. Eliminating shopper stress can ensure longer-term loyalty.

Beacons – Beacons are small, easily disguisable device that retailers implant within their walls to communicate directly with shoppers via their mobile devices. Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), beacon technology enables the hardware to transmit signals to shoppers’ BLE devices within the radius (usually 70 meters). These signals enable retailers to send real-time push notifications for deals, brand promotions and new products. Brands including Macy’s and American Eagle have already seen success from integrated Beacons into their bricks-and-mortar strategy with   For more on beacons stay tuned for our upcoming post Beacons Beckon Early Brand Adopters.

Mobile Wallets – September 2014 was a watershed month for mobile wallets. While the trend has been a long time coming, Apple’s own venture into the world of mobile payments solidified a future free of physical cards…and cash. Apple Pay enables iPhone 6 users to store their credit cards within the operating system’s Passbook. Through the powerful combination of NFC technology and users’ own fingerprints (as the unique ID validator) users can simply hold their smartphones within the range of a contactless reader, select one of their stored credit cards and be on their way. However, not everyone has traded up for the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus yet, so this technology will likely make a bigger splash during Holiday 2015.

The synchronization of these new retail technologies allow consumers can easily and efficiently shop on the go with little interruption. Merchants will have enhanced access to data at their fingertips to not only more accurately map their customers’ journeys, but also pinpoint the steps in which their brand can more significantly assert itself and ultimately, execute a more influential role over their customers’ brand engagements and purchasing destinations.

 

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