Retailers are enhancing their store experience with consumer mobile interaction while shopping in brick and mortar stores that are based on both location awareness and in store promotions and service activities.  These activities take advantage of mobile and wireless technology capabilities in an attempt to enhance the customer’s experience.  Retailers are now releasing mobile apps that use the location available from the consumer mobile phone to push notifications and provide self help capabilities for consumer during their in store shopping activities. These retailer breakthroughs take advantage of the technology already supported by third party technologies that allow and encourage the consumer to utilize their phone more while shopping. 

 

This is a great development for the major retailers and provides a platform for the retailers to extend collaborative activities including micro surveys and also consumer interaction on product selection and information.  The retailer app that I have used initially (Macy's) provides a means to perform product price look-ups and also promotes in store sales and  price reductions.  This app also encourages the consumer to utilize the store network for improved capabilities and elimination of dead spots while the consumer is shopping.  This apps integration with the retailer store systems also allows for price reductions to be taken by the consumer from any purchase outlet, store or online.  The mobile app is user based so the retailer can actually track the consumer in their store visits and purchasing based on discounts because of a combination of location and access to the store’s network.

 

One of the key benefits the retailer can gain from this improved app is through product prices checks which provides a means to track consumer shopping activities in the store.  Then through a combination of loyalty program and product electronic discounts the sale closure on products can be tracked.  This is where the consumer collaboration activities can really expand to improve the experience.  These activities should include inventory availability for all related product sizes and colors based on price checks, suggestions to ship the purchase directly to the consumer, and most importantly providing consumer reviews and feedback regarding products.  All of these activities highlight an increased consumer interaction and option for collaboration that enhances the consumer shopping experience by providing an personalized service opportunity for consumers. 

 

My shopping experience was enhanced through the improvements to the mobile app and this is just the beginning of the potential.  These activities should focus on improving the retail shopping and purchasing business process model to improve the consumer experience.  Macy’s has made the leap to these integrations and focus on the consumer shopping and purchasing experience because this is what consumers demand.  Now the next step for retailers is to create a two way relationship with consumers by increasing interaction through every touch point. 

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?