As I enter the final week of my Master’s program and prepare myself for a career in the entertainment industry, I must remark on some of the current trends and how they will continue in tandem with my future growth. The one trend I find most remarkable is the integration of mobile devices in everyday commerce.
There has been an increase is what is being referred to as “showrooming,” among retail shoppers. This is when a consumer uses an existing retail store to view merchandise, and then making price comparisons and purchases online. Instead of fighting this trend, businesses have chosen to innovate.
Just this past week, Forbes posted an article about Apple’s iBeacon. It is a device, using low-frequency Bluetooth technology, which transmits to receivers placed around their retail stores and enhances the customers’ ability to access the Internet on their mobile device.
Most brick and mortar stores have suffered a great deal in the wake of the success of web-based companies like Amazon.com. To capitalize on this change in buying patterns, companies have created applications that go beyond simple online shopping. This is centered on engaging the customers with a particular brand, by giving them the ability to share their preferences and experience with the digital public.
So what does this say for the future? For one thing, it says that our buyer experience is changing. That the future integration of mobile smart-technology in our everyday lives is going to increase. 80 percent of smartphone owners want more mobile-optimized product information. Soon our price comparison process will be the standard, with businesses incentivizing the online integration of our shopping experience.
These innovations could save the retail store. We are proving right now that even though the average consumer is more tech-savvy then our predecessors, the ability to physically see items before purchasing is still prevalent. I believe we will see the companies that don’t follow this trend continue to suffer. If online shopping models do end up putting brick and mortar retail out, then we can expect to see places like Amazon creating there own retail locations.
How would you like to see business reach out to you with there products? What level of mobile integration will get you back in the store?