Innovative Retail Technologies

MAR 2013

Innovative Retail Technologies (formerly Integrated Solutions For Retailers) is the premier source for innovative yet pragmatic technology solutions in the retail industry.

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Special Report example of how big-box retailers can push clienteling beyond its traditional Neiman Marcus/Nordstrom stomping ground. Saving shopper purchase data enables the Lowes clienteling application to recall specifics such as the exact paint a consumer used in her living room or the warranty information for the dishwasher she purchased last year. Consumers can also use tools within the application to save shopping lists, plan projects, and save room dimensions. In addition to empowering consumers with Web and mobile-based access to the app, iTouch devices have been deployed to Lowes store associates in an effort to meet the objective that Kilcourse and Rowen call for — giving associates access to information the consumer doesn't have. The new consumer expectation of applications like this is that they provide value, but that provision of value works both ways. By giving the consumer something useful or valuable in return, retailers create an opportunity to gather more data that can be accessed via the mobile device to consummate the sale later. In a similar example, a national car care chain is using mobile clienteling to create upsell opportunities by reminding consumers when their windshield wipers need to be replaced or their oil needs to be changed. "There are tremendous opportunities to leverage mobile technologies to achieve 1:1 marketing, especially when the CRM data is centralized in the cloud making it real time and easily accessible across the enterprise," says Wakefield. "It used to be something you associ- ated with commissioned salespeople in high-end retail, but the applications and advantages are available to virtually any retailer now. Call it CRM, call it clienteling; I call it good business." Workforce Management: An Untapped And Unplanned Opportunity According to the aforementioned research from RSR, the "store operations" function (management) fares almost as well as "business-to-consumer" and "marketing" in terms of mobile application deployment. But, "businessto-employee" and "workforce management" applications were not rated nearly as highly, languishing in the 25th percentile of interest. This is ironic because, as the research states, when asked to rate the level they agree with various statements about mobility's role in the retail experience, retailers' top-rated response was that mobile's primary ability is to enhance the overall value of the brand. See Figure 3 below. Say report authors Kilcourse and Rowen, "Unto itself, this is hardly a problem. In fact, enhancing the overall brand is precisely how retailers should be viewing the tremendous value that new mobile technologies afford. What is problematic, however, is that much of what retailers share in the report — their actions — does not line up with this purpose. Instead, many of the findings of this research are in closer alignment to the second-most popular choice in the figure on this page: that Figure 3: The Purpose Of Our Mobile Strategy Is To ... Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree 47% Enhance our overall brand Serve as an extension of the existing e-commerce offering Empower our employees 38% 21% Give a critical "face" to our brand Give consumers the ability to match our products/prices to competitors' 13% ● March 2013July 2009 13% 4% 2% 11% 3% 20% 11% 3% 41% 20% 32% 37% 28% 4% 1% 20% 42% 23% Provide rich content and community input 18% 48% 27% Provide a way to launch new products and/or brand 14% 4% 2% 42% 33% 1% 9% 2% 3% 40% 33% Drive sales to the store 12% 40% 39% Keep up with competitors 39% 45% Provide a new selling channel for our existing brand 58 16 Strongly Disagree 29% 26% 22% 4% 1% 11% 2% 10% Source: RSR Research, December 2012

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