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Two of Osmii’s team members: Simon Gregory (Principal Consultant) and Grace Coleman (Marketing Manager) recently visited the Internet Retailing Expo in Birmingham to learn more about the future of Retail.

The Internet Retailing Expo (IRX) @etailexpo provided us with the opportunity to hear and learn from the most influential leaders within the industry, identify new opportunities for retail business, and connect with expert industry suppliers. One talk that particularly stood out to us was the very first talk of the day: the opening keynote presentation by Sarah Stagg, Director of Digital Product, House of Fraser. Sarah spoke at length on the topic of ‘What retailers can’t afford not to know about how mobile is transforming customer behaviour’. With incredible technology advances, new innovative tech, constant shifts in customer demands and increasing competition, working for or within the retail sector is becoming increasingly difficult to stay ahead of the game! Following this talk we decided to investigate and learn more about how harnessing mobile will help retailers come out on top!

Mobile technology is currently instigating every step of the purchasing process for consumers. From spotting a must-have item on social media, to then price-checking this item while physically in-store, through to managing deliveries or returns, the mobile-enabled customer is pushing retailers into new, unfamiliar territory. Today, retailers are increasingly offering more advanced capabilities to help stay connected with their clientele.

Tablets

A wide variety of retailers, including House of Fraser, are giving tablets and other mobile devices to their sales associates to improve their sales productivity. A number of retailers are deploying around 45 percent of all tablets shipped to their stores for point-of-sale use. Online shoppers are predominantly found using mobile or tablets at home and are likely to use an app or tablet version of a company’s website, and not a mobile site. It has been shown that sales people on a shop floor who use a tablet with customers are able to establish a greater trust between salesman and customer, as the associate is able to show the customer products that are available and draws the customer into a potential sale.

Social experience 

Retailers continue to use social media sites to connect and learn more about their customer. Some networks are about brand building, while others may turn into retail opportunities. As more people continue to access social networks through their mobile devices, retailers can use those networks to reach more potential customers and retain loyal ones. With social media apps like Whatsapp and WeChat (a Chinese social media app),  people now share their opinions about stores, brands and products by word of mouth, sending links and photos across. There is more ability for the modern shopper to rely on their friends’ opinions before they purchase a product.

Customer engagement 

Today, the modern shopper is no longer looking to just purchase a product. They are looking to be part of an experience. The highly-informed consumers are looking for more information and a customized experience during their shopping journey. With the introduction of apps like Blippar, retailers/brands are now able to connect with highly targeted consumers. Blippar uses augmented reality and machine learning to bring the physical products to life, through smartphones and wearable. Once you have downloaded the Blippar app, a consumer can blipp (“scan”) objects/products they are curious about and unlock content. Brands such as Condé Nast, Coca Cola, Jaguar and Time inc are just a few of the long list of brand who have adopted the app.

Mobile and new technologies break down the boundaries between brands and consumers, giving forward-thinking retailers the opportunity to build strong bonds of loyalty and trust with their customers.

Here at Osmii, our principal consultant Simon Gregory focuses on the Retail Technology Space, helping pre-IPO VC-backed vendors across APAC and EMEA with their technical and senior hires. To learn more about what we do please contact Simon via simon.gregory@osmii.com and visit our wesbite: www.osmii.com