Shopping isn’t what it used to be. Today’s generation of shoppers demand more: we want personalized experiences and the ability to shop anytime, anywhere. Today, 80 per cent of us look at our devices while in store, giving retailers the opportunity to connect with us in relevant and innovative ways. Here are five shopping trends to watch for.
You might not realize it, but we’re becoming digitally-minded shoppers. We now expect companies to communicate with us outside of the store via e-mail, social media, mobile apps and e-commerce. In fact, nearly 60 per cent of Canadians want promotions sent to their phones from nearby stores. In response to these demands, retailers will soon send opt-in messages to our mobile devices while we shop using beacon technology. For instance, while walking by Harvey’s at noon, you might receive a coupon for a lunch special. Or while wine shopping at LCBO, you might receive a message offering you 20 per cent off Australian wines. Instead of receiving mass-printed, irrelevant coupons in the mail, you’ll receive promotions when and where you’ll appreciate them most.
We have the power to choose which retailers we get personal with. When we sign up for loyalty programs, we’re enabling the brands we love to provide us with personalized product recommendations and offers. As these programs advance and are augmented with mobile technology, things will get really interesting. Today, retailers like Lululemon send us information on promotions and community events via email. In the future, we’ll only receive information that is relevant to our personal interests in real-time on our smartphones. For example, a Lululemon-loving, avid runner in Vancouver might receive a spot in the highly coveted Sea Wheeze half marathon, an offer to sample new running gear, or an exclusive promotion on an overstocked running pant. Whether you’re in store or hitting the trails, your phone could light up with a personal, relevant message from your favourite retailer. The future is about you.
As the lines between digital and traditional shopping continue to blur, retailers are focusing more on bridging the gap between the online and offline world to provide customers with a more convenient, engaging, and entertaining shopping experience. For example, Chipotle’s customers can place their order online and complete their purchase when they arrive in store. Another company doing this well is Sport Chek, where personal recommendations on shoe size and type are sent to your phone as you walk on treadmills equipped with specialized monitors. One of the quirkiest examples we’ve found is from Meat Pack, a shoe store in Guatemala. This company blended mobile, beacon and social technologies to create a unique ‘gamified’ in-store experience for their customers. Shopping has never been more exciting!
While cash isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, the cashless check-out will grow substantially in 2015. Ninety per cent of current payments in Canada are non-cash, and the opportunity to improve our payment experience is here. Payment technologies like the tap and pay terminal allows us to make purchases with a quick tap of our debit card, credit card or mobile device. Another solution is the mobile point of sale terminal. Companies like Sephora and WestJet already give you the option to pay for items wherever you are in the store or plane and can even send you receipts via email. It won’t be long before others follow suit as 80 per cent of Canadians expect retailers to use mobile technology on the sales floor within two years. Say goodbye to long lines at the till; the future of checking-out is all about convenience.It’s hard to believe that the original purpose of our mobile phone was to make calls. In the near future, our smartphones will be the centre of the entire shopping experience – even helping us before and after we make purchases. For instance, today we book many appointments online and through mobile apps, including massage therapists and other wellness professionals through LEAGUE. Some of these tools even send us reminders via text message or email. As the mobile wallet takes off, we’ll see more pre and post-purchase management applications, such as appointment reminders, receipt management and warranty tracking. If you thought you were glued to your phone now, you’ll be hard pressed to leave home without it in the future!