With more than half of the U.S. now has a smartphone. With this new audience that clearly represents “critical mass”, new applications and businesses are sprouting up like dandelions on a Spring day. This is especially good news for many of the loyalty programs in the supermarket channel who have struggled to find a way to communicate with their card holders in an affordable, convenient way.
But that is only true if they the supermarkets, understand the medium and how it is different from other media they have traditionally used. There is a downside for retailers that comes with new mobile touch points, its called “consumer options” . Not necessarily good news for retailers who already see even the best shopper’s share of wallet dwindle each year. Now shoppers have the means to comparison shop at anytime during the store selection process. New mobile applications are putting new pressures on the retailer’s hold on the shopper.
Mobile applications have also made it much easier for shoppers to view deals and offerings from many different retailers, before making their choice. Point of decision for these shoppers is now a pre-shopping exercise, long before the walk through the doors of the brick and mortar store.
Retailers are at a critical fork in the road….embrace the new technology and its customer implications, and create a customer enterprise system and culture that enables a consistent view of and conversation with the shopper. To do this effectively a single, master customer database collects and assembles all shopper activity whether it be from the checkout in-store to the downloading coupons on-line, or even a social media interaction. Knowing the preferred method of interaction for each shopper will also enable the CRM program to communicate with the shopper on their terms and along the point of purchase path at just the right moment.
As I have said before in many meetings and at industry forums….”Somebody will figure this out. It might as well be you!”