“In a couple of years, retail will be a smartphone-only business. Seems like a radical statement, but look at the facts. The majority of online shopping is already done on mobile devices, and 79% of smartphone owners have specifically used apps to help with shopping. From progressive web to native apps, clienteling to fulfillment, it’s not easy to deliver an end-to-end shopping experience for consumers. Retail is in desperate need of a makeover. One of the key areas is data – it’s one of the biggest question marks in retail. What should I do with customer data? How can I use data collected to help consumers? How can I make data-driven decisions to engage with them in real-time? The stakes are high for brands looking to truly deliver omnichannel, but there is a path forward which is outlined it in my new book, Makeover: How Mobile Flipped the Shopping Cart.”
When you walk into a store today, big computers are talking to small computers and the exchange of data is happening even as you check out the displays and browse through the racks. The computers are talking about you, and your store experience is the better for it.
This is an important way mobile is transforming the data relationship in the retail world. It isn’t happening in some server farm or in a research department at company headquarters. Mobile is transforming data by making the data collectable and usable in the store environment.
Mobile Has Flipped Data
Data has long been vital to the retail industry, but it has often been cast as a player best suited to strategic planning. Data is the tool kit retailers turn to in order to predict and understand trends, make smart capital investments, and make sense of the industry at large. Data, especially as it came to be called Big Data, was very much a big-picture process.
Use of data became more granular in the internet age as connected computers gave retailers the opportunity to track individuals and technology created ways to craft targeted offers. While consumers bristled a bit at the thought of being virtually followed online, they also responded positively to receiving relevant ads.
Now, mobile has come to data and transformed the amount of information that can be collected and the way it can be used by retailers. This is both the promise and the challenge — retailers are wrestling with both sides of the mobile data transformation. The key is to understand what they need in order to make data-driven decisions.
Mobile Can Follow Feet
Retailers can use mobile-enabled foot traffic technology to and out where consumers go when they enter a store. Certainly, store associates can see where shoppers go as they browse, but mobile technology can offer data and analysis, not just anecdotal evidence, that results in more than just store associate observations but in actual actionable insights.
Some mobile-enabled foot trackers offer A/B testing to review variations. The Cellular Connection conducted a series of A/B tests to refine the sale of high-margin accessories such as chargers and headsets. The tests revealed these items sold in much greater numbers when moved from the back of the store to the front and a change in layout was implemented. Another retailer in New York City used A/B testing to determine which offerings — discount coupons, free coffee, etc. — would encourage shoppers to climb to its upper floors instead of simply remaining on the main level.
How else can mobile transform the use of data?