2009.28 | More Mobile and Social Media

Retailers continue to delve deep into the murky waters of mobile apps. A Sears representative recently talked about their experiences and suggested success criteria for mobile retail with Sears2Go. Best Buy has also jumped in, with both a mobile website an iPhone app that will provide information on deals at your local Best Buy based on location – a sort of virtual local flyer.

Taking the social media trend to its logical next level, Whole Foods recently announced that individual stores will now have their own Twitter accounts. Expect departments and special interest by store to follow as those interested in certain subjects open themselves up for communication. As mentioned previously Sephora is encouraging its customers to post reviews of its products on its site.

Geeky as these items appear at first glance, the movement of mobile technologies and their applications to the maintream represent an amazing opportunity for retailers to go back to their roots.

Years ago, retailers operated in small communities, knew their customers on an individual basis and would market to them at that level. A sporting goods store owner knew that a new rod and reel would appeal to a very specific group of people in his community. That retailer could be in touch with those people he knew to let them know about the product. Much of that one to one relationship marketing was lost with the advent of big box stores and the migration of commerce from city centres and markets to suburban shopping malls.

With the ever widening number of mobile tools and the increasing number of tribes and communities out there, there is a real opportunity for retailers and consumer facing organizations of all kinds to go back to that sort of one on one relationship that can result in real benefit to both parties – consumers recieve products and services tailored to their specific needs, and retailers obtain an opportunity to gain real loyalty and value add for providing those tailored offers.

2009.05 | Interac Chip

Interac Chip – Chip continues to move forward in Canada. After trials in Kitchener-Waterloo in late 2008, and the increasing use of Visa chip cards, Interac is starting to make noise about getting chip cards into the real world. This means changes to pinpads at POS and card readers on ATM units in the coming months and years. Check out the details.

Vending and Media Convergence – With the increasingly lower cost of technology, retail channels are converging ever faster. Look at where vending machines are now, and where they are going. The line between digital signage, POS, vending machines and media in the store is increasingly blurring.

Ralph Lauren Mobile Store – I talk about moving to the “store in the pocket” quite a lot with friends and clients, and Ralph Lauren is trying to move that way with their new mobile site. I don’t know if this is the right type of store for mobile, but may be more likely to fit the demographic than the one Sears put in place. I like the way they have integrated the 2d barcode into the site, and their links to a reader. It’s important to have the consistent customer experience as well as the link between sites, and they are making that effort.

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