So, what does it mean to future proof your brand? It means making sure that your company adapts to the ways consumers want to interact with your brand. The consequences of not future-proofing your brand can be dire—look at how once famous, once dominant brands like Borders, Blockbuster, FAO Schwarz, and WAMU (Washington Mutual Bank) have all collectively declined and ended up in the dead pool.
Throughout the Future Proof Your Brand series, we’ve examined trends and technologies that will dramatically transform the way that consumers interact with retail brands.
Here’s a recap of what we’ve discussed so far to keep your firm out of the dead pool with a mobile-first strategy.
- Size matters and clever retailers will recognize this and design content natively for the mobile channel.
- Mobile apps win versus mobile browsers, as they are designed from the ground up to take advantage of mobile features such as gestures (swiping, pinching, etc.) and location.
- Mobile is the everywhere channel and consumers continue to choose mobile when other channels—laptops, desktops—are just a few feet away.
- Mobile websites are slow becuase they use a DOM (document object model). It doesn’t make sense to deliver the most critical and stable elements of a customer interface over slow and intermittently unavailable mobile bandwidth.
- Mobile apps allow better interactivity and personalization. They can perform many of their functions while offline.
- Mobile apps have GPS capabilities and can send push notifications which can be leveraged, using beacon technology, to give an extraordinary cross channel experience.
- Retailers are already spending the money to upgrade their POS environments to be compliant with the new card association mandates to accept EMV (chip) cards. So, if you are going to spend the money anyway, look for a solution that is mobile payment friendly (Apple Pay, Android Pay) as well.
- Mobile payments are actually more secure than their traditional “card swipe” counterparts.
Product delivery is an integral part of the overall customer experience. Leverage shipping and get a competitive advantage.
- Incorporate shipping as a perk into loyalty programs and sales campaigns.
- Utilize excess capacity in non-retail delivery. Many drivers have excess capacity and could easily incorporate a few extra stops into their routes throughout the day.
- It may be a decade or more before the average citizen is chauffeured around in a driverless car, but this technology may be used for deliveries far sooner than that.
- Equip your sales staff with mobile card readers and have them intercept customers whenever there are more than two in line.
- Most businesses are upgrading their POS environments to support EMV (chip) cards. Naturally, they will also purchase equipment to support NFC technology – instantly accepting Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and every other NFC-powered payment mechanism.
- Consider installing a self-checkout aisle or allow customers to make in-store purchases using a native store app installed on their mobile device.
- Offer dynamic sales and couponing because the beacon can track a device’s location within a couple of feet, and the customer can be offered a discount or alerted to a sale right as they are passing an item.
- Seamlessly reward a customer for visiting a real life storefront or even for browsing a certain product.
- Empower your store associates. The communication that beacons facilitate doesn’t have to be device to device. Once a beacon has noticed a known customer, that information can be shared with sales associates so they can greet that customer by name.
- Combine real-time and historical data so your store associates can be made aware of the customer’s last few purchases, including items recently placed in an online/mobile shopping cart or any item that the customer virtually browsed.
Embrace these trends and technologies, create a strong mobile strategy with a dedicated app, and leverage all the new data from this mobile-first ecosystem to add value to your customers. The brave new world of retail is already here, and if your brand doesn’t adapt to these new shifts, the consequences can be dire.
Remember, in this digital age your competitor is only one tap, one mouse click away.
Download our previously recorded webinar and listen as Stephan Schambach, Founder & CEO of NewStore, explains the six ways to maximize the potential of mobile commerce.