Part 1: Profitability & Technology now go Hand-in-Hand
Retailers this year face a challenge and an opportunity to grab more than their fair share of what the National Retail Federation predicts will be a $602 billion peak season. Companies always compete on things like style, price, delivery, and loyalty. This year, however, stores will compete like never before to implement technology to help them understand customers, motivate them to buy, and maximize customer loyalty and lifetime value.
In this blog series, Cradlepoint will discuss a number of issues that will help retailers get the most out of the 2015 peak selling season. We will look at the increasing role of technology at the retail level, the growth of omnichannel marketing, “faster retailing,” and the emerging role of WWAN (Wireless Wide Area Networking). We’ll also explore how all these things work at the intersection of brick and mortar, online, pop-up retailing, and instant networks.
Beacon Use Set to Take Off
Remember the days when businesses used to argue the pros and cons of brick and mortar versus online? That distinction seems almost quaint these days as the line between the two is becoming faint as retail organizations implement technology that bridge the gap between online and offline. One driver of this emerging technology trend is the growing use of beacons, iBeacons, and other near-field communications (NFC). Apple describes its iBeacons as "a new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters that can notify nearby iOS 7 or 8 devices of their presence." As shoppers stroll through a store, their iPhones interact with the iBeacons, which display on the phones nearby items that are on sale. The beacons even enable payments at the Point-of-Sale (POS) where customers don’t need to remove their wallets or cards to make payments.
According to eConsultancy, iBeacons are have been installed in hundreds of grocery chains including Safeway and Giant Eagle. Retailers that have installed the iBeacons are reporting a dramatic increase in the sale of products that are advertised on this new personalized and location-sensitive technology.
Advantages of Omnichannel Marketing
The interior of many retail stores have become a tightly knit web of beacons, WWAN, smartphones, digital signage, video displays, and hand-held cash registers. Together, these technologies enable “omnichannel marketing.”
Omnichannel marketing has improved the customer experience by making it easier for them to find good deals and to checkout without waiting in line; but it does much more than that. Omnichannel tactics have to do with collecting data from shoppers from all the marketing channels. This data can be used by marketing departments to create controlled, cultivated, and personalized experiences for customers. Inventory managers can use the data to implement more efficient supply chain systems that reduce the amount of unsold products can use it and the C-suite can use it to create stronger, more personalized brands that improve customer experience, increase customer loyalty, and maximize the bottom line.
Implementing Reliable, Secure Broadband Connectivity
Omnichannel represents the opportunity retailers have for growing sales in the coming peak season. The challenge retailers face is to quickly get all the parts working together.
Enterprise retailers are in a race to see who can deliver the best in-store experience for both staff and guests. Those who can implement the right technologies can maximize their peak-selling season.
Next: Part 2: Retail Connectivity: Asking The Right Questions
In Part 2 of this series, we will provide some important questions enterprises need to ask to make sure they get the retail connectivity they need in time for Black Friday.