The influence of mobile technology on retail shopping has come a long way, but there’s plenty of change on the horizon. From in-store mobile touchpoints to mobile’s role in a larger omnichannel ecosystem, retailers are still learning how to best integrate new technology into their existing store experience.
The only certainty is that mobile’s retail presence will continue to grow over the coming year — for some brands, that growth will come by leaps and bounds. It’s an exciting time, but these sweeping changes also require retailers to stay on their toes. Here are four of the top retail trends those companies should follow in 2016.
The Borders of Mobile Will Continue to Blur
Brick-and-mortar stores are having mobile transform their environment. But this isn’t a takeover: Mobile is merely integrating into an existing ecosystem. That’s not only happing in the physical space, either. Online-to-offline selling is is connecting mobile devices with online retail inventories, helping coordinate a selling and shipping system that processes online transactions and delivers products to physical stores.
All in all, mobile is just one piece of technology making up an omnichannel retail experience. It’s a vital component of that system, to be sure. But as the year wears on, it will get harder and harder to isolate mobile as its own entity. Its web is expanding, and the borders aren’t so clear anymore.
Mobile Web Will Trump Mobile Apps
The average consumer spends a vast amount of his mobile time on mobile apps — about 85 percent, according to Retail Touchpoints. But for all that time commitment, only 20 to 30 percent of retail sales take place through apps. The other 70 to 80 percent is happening through mobile web browsers.
In other words, retailers need to build strong mobile shopping experiences available through the mobile web. But brands shouldn’t dismiss the value of mobile apps — while selling takes place in browsers, experiences are often powered through apps. That’s especially true in a physical retail environment, where mobile touchpoints can connect to consumers through their apps. Apps and browsers remain essential, but retailers should understand that each presents different values.
CoT Will Bring Greater Context To Selling
The integration of mobile tech into in-store commerce objects is quickly building a ‘Commerce of Things’ that will come to power both shopping experiences and retail sales. Increasing mobile touchpoints in stores is driving this evolution: As physical objects are able to communicate with one another and build a synergistic mobile environment, CoT will become a valuable means of leveraging context to increase personalization.
Personalization Will Be Redefined
The way we currently think about personalized content and experiences is quickly growing outdated. Shoppers are savvy enough to pick out simplistic strategies for personalization — the [INSERT NAME] method of quickly engineering a customized experience is having less success making an impression on shoppers.
Instead, personalization will come to be defined by its ability to wield context and behavioral data — particularly mobile data — to make next-level personal engagements. This could include product recommendations, location and time-triggered content distributions, and other custom touches that provide value-added personalization. As this transition occurs, the divide between the haves and have-nots will be as stark as ever.
Whether or not retailers are taking action in response to these trends, brands should keep a close eye on mobile advancements and consider where their resources would be best applied.
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