Retail mobile technology will transform shopper/retailer relationship

Shoppers want speed and personalization. Retail mobile technology helps to achieve both


We sat down with Gil Roth, Executive Vice President at NCR, to discuss how mobile is altering the entire retail landscape. Mr. Roth offers critical insights on the current state of mobility and how retail mobile technology will continue to transform the relationship between shoppers and retailers.


Q:Mobile is everywhere, and in everyone’s hands. What can retailers continue to do to stay ahead of the mobility curve?

 Mobile is everywhere, that is true and retailers need to ensure they are engaged with shoppers through their mobile devices, wherever the shopper is. This can include mobile shopping lists that can be made at home or in the office, personalized offers delivered to shoppers over their smartphones or tablets as they walk the aisles of a store or mobile coupons that can be scanned at checkout. The conversation must be targeted, immediate and convenient with consumers quickly and easily taking action. This will allow retailers to stay connected to this mobile-connected, empowered consumer.


Q: How do retailers balance a mobile shopper’s need for convenience and speed with greater engagement with the shopper during the store visit?

 That’s a key dilemma that many of today’s retailers have to face. On one hand, today’s consumers want to expedite their shopping visit, moving quickly and efficiently through the store and then having a very easy, speedy time during checkout. On the other hand, many consumers want a personalized experience that makes them feel special. They expect store associates to provide inventory or sizing assistance, help them find items and even guide them to specials and promotional items. So a contradiction exists between the need for speed and the desire to be catered to individually. And that’s where retailers can leverage mobile technology – enterprise and consumer – to help achieve the proper customer experience balance.


Q:What do you recommend to achieve this balance?

: I think if you wait to engage your customers when they near the end of their shopping visit or at checkout, you have already lost the opportunity to truly tap into the available revenue potential. You must reach them before they even step in the store or visit your Web site.  This comes by exploiting analytics and delivering personalized mobile offers, coupons and promotions based on buying patterns, socioeconomic data, loyalty program histories, and so forth. Use all the data available to you to create targeted programs that entice and encourage, and make sure those tactics are easily and quickly actionable. A recent omnichannel study we did with North American consumers showed that almost 75 percent would welcome personalized offers delivered electronically. Therein lies the answer.


Q: How do retailers deploy mobile applications based on current resources and budget allocations?


A: That is a great question because we know retailers have a broad range of initiatives and business imperatives that are tying up IT resources and budgets. At NCR, we have a Cloud-based ecosystem of digital partners who have mobile tools and applications that can be quickly and cost-effectively integrated into current IT strategies. For example, one of our partners has a codeless software as a service solution that reduces mobile application development while providing seamless data integration. Retailers benefit because the solution helps increase impulse shopping and product sales. Another digital partner offers indoor location tracking solution that helps retailers deliver personalized, context-relevant promotions and communications as shoppers navigate the store. The key point is that there are a wide range of mobile retail solutions available from NCR, our partners or other vendors in the market that can accelerate time to market and help retailers construct a mobile first retail experience.


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