Having been in the supermarket-CPG business for more years than I care to admit, it is rare that I hyper-ventilate about much these days. After all, selling groceries through the years has remained essentially the same, (aisles and checkouts) for as long as I have been alive. But I dare say there is something different in the air these days. (All puns intended). Mobile phones are not just at “critical mass” levels, they have become an appendage for many. A third hand, if you will, with 50% or more having smartphone phones with applications that can not only aide the shopping experience but can be a repository for coupons, and even a payment device.
So now the onus is on the retailer. First to better understand this new and emerging breed of mobile-assisted shopper. Secondly and most importantly, be able to offer meaningful experiential upgrades at their stores for mobile users. Near Field Communications, Quick Response Codes, combined with locational applications can finally reach the shopper at the Moment of Truth…in the shopping process, at the shelf when many decisions are made or changed. Some retailers will make that connection this year. Others will remain on the sidelines.
2012 could indeed be a watershed year for growing and differentiating the business….or it could be just another year of sitting back and letting others lead ….waiting to see if the Mayan calendar , which predicts the end of the world as we know it in 2012…is right. For those retailers that wait, I think the Mayans just might have your number!