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Who Really Owns the Buying Experience?

When the Golden Globes awards ceremony was held in January 2017, upscale retailer Barneys made sure its customers got up close and personal with stars like Drew Barrymore through their native mobile app. Barneys was doing something that it has been doing well for a long time – turning retail into an experience that goes beyond the mere purchase of an item.

Experiences are the new common currency of shopping. Consumers are demanding something more than just a sales transaction. They expect retailers to take the convenience and fulfillment capabilities of Amazon, the omnichannel approach of Apple, the me-to-me world of Uber, the visual social interaction of Instagram, and blend them into a consistently pleasing experience. 

A few retailers are getting this message and are delivering it back to their customers successfully. 

  • Rebecca Minkoff is trying out instant pay self-checkouts in place of traditional cash register terminals. The app from LUSH allows customers to specify what mood they are in, and receive the attention that matches it.
  • Starbucks is now capable of sending out 400,000 variations of its promotional email, essentially guaranteeing a message that fits the particular individual to whom it is sent.
  • True Religion has equipped its sales associates with Apple Watches to allow them to read up on the customer entering the store, and deliver a tailored sales experience to match each shopper’s style and taste. 

These types of activities are the new beating heart of mobile retailing. It is not the technology per se, it is what the technology enables that counts. 

Mobile Retail Research Results

Highlighting the trend of "search and share," in which customers use their mobile devices to look for items to buy, and share the buying experience with the people in their circle. The experience of shopping, buying, and owning has become a real-time social event. 

Clearly, the retail business has changed, as illustrated in the Mobile Retail Report, few retailers have stepped up to take full advantage. 

  • 62% of the retailers still do not offer publicly accessible Wi-Fi
  • 78% of brands did not have a shoppable app
  • Most retailers operated within a siloed management system, with the digital web office not connected to retail operations

Lost Opportunities? 

Store Associates are largely dissuaded by their employers from using personal mobile technology to access vital data about shoppers. If leveraged properly, this data would allow for a much more personalized and fruitful conversation and a longer, more productive relationship.

These are new days for retailers. They have many chances to connect with shoppers through new technologies and across the plane of time, interacting with them long before and after the occurrence of the purchase itself. 

The ultimate question is this. In this new era of technology-enabled mobile commerce, who really owns and ultimately controls the buying experience?

The clear answer is – the customer does.

To access the full Mobile Retail Report and see which retailers made the grade, download here>>

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Editor, The Mobile Retail Blog

Editor-in-Chief of The Mobile Retail Blog with NewStore.

Topics: buying experience

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