Your phone: The ultimate shopping assistant & expert advisor

Nowadays that the fad for Personal Shoppers Assistants has gone the way of the economy, down and out. Technology has become a perfect substitute. Mobile devices are so ubiquitous, we no longer need anyone to do our shopping, has enabled us to do it ourselves throughout the day while hardly disrupting the rest of our obligations. Google research found that 75% of smart phone shoppers plan to use their phones also in-store during this holiday season. Before Customers went to the store looking help and advice from sales associates on the products they had a rough idea they wanted. Each play more and more shoppers arrive into the store with a clearer idea of what they want and they bring along their own independent expert advisors, their phones. One out of three shoppers use their smart phone to research for by themselves and dodge store employees for that info and everything else but pay (most stores have not implemented self payment). But in the few stores where it’s allowed they are happy to willingly dodge the lines and the clerk.

Google found that when retailer come to terms and truly understand mobile behavior on their premises, they can act proactively and met shoppers online even before the even enter the real store and offer services and helpful information tailored to them. The fact is that 46% of shoppers who use their phone within a store will end up making the purchase on-site, an 11 point increase from 2011. Consumers, now, come into store with a defined purpose, more informed more than before, and savvy retailers are and can turning this into new an opportunity.

A real live case study how a retailer is mastering this convergence. It  is how Apple Inc. integrates its retail locations, with its Web and its mobile Apps in and out the store.

They have embraced this tendency earlier than any other retailer and have developed it further than anyone else.

They already give its customers with user oriented, intuitive and friendly tools to:

  • Gather all kind of information on the products being sold and their optional upgrades or alternative configurations.
  • Check actual stock on the stores around you and if not out of stock, if there are substitutes, and when would it be available in any of the stores they chose (including the on-line) and have the App notify them when available.
  • Order a custom configuration back to Shanghai that they can pick up at the store.
  • Receive notifications about when they can pass-by to pickup the purchases made over  Web or App so they don’t have to wait a second for logistics.
  • On-premises self-service checkout using the mobile camera to introduce the products by their bar codes and then settle their balance on the App using either Apple Pay or their iTunes Account.
  • Making a reservation for support and getting notified X minutes before their turn comes up, so the can wander in the store or go for an errand (what do you think most do during the wait?)
  • Making reservations for free training sessions

When you let aside your needs and those of your company’s and concentrate in thinking smartly about your customers needs (which doesn’t mean exactly what they want or demand,  some times they may not even know they have these needs or don’t know how to express them), and excel at executing the strategy to address them; you are actually doing the best for your company.

Source: GoogleThink Article

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