2012 was a tough year for the high street, with retailers struggling and many high street stores shutting their doors permanently. By contrast, the online high street saw resilient growth. So, 2012 was a year of “Bricks vs. Clicks”, but what is driving retail in 2013?
It’s unimaginable to envisage a supermarket with no customers, no check outs – manned or unmanned, gondola ends with tons of offers, and even the smell of freshly baked bread. But actually, supermarkets do have them and walk-in customers aren’t welcome. They’re not on the high street or even on retail parks. That’s because they are ‘dark stores’. They exist to serve the ever-growing needs for online shopping.
Reflecting directly on the high street itself, technology can strengthen retention and sales. Firstly, being able to visualise and feel products is a big tick mark for the consumers. Retailers can capitalise on this and offer real-time discounts and incentives – increasing the likelihood of completing a purchase.
2013 will see multichannel in reverse where online only retailers will bring pop up shops and digital windows to the high street – using tools such as augmented reality, QR codes and mobile apps to bring in customers.
The choice of payment methods that retailers can offer to consumers seems to be constantly evolving and as more brands take on a mobile-first approach, m-commerce will continue to accelerate and build momentum in 2013.
The digital or mobile wallet will offer more than just another payment option. In 2013 payments will finally merge with loyalty and rewards and this convergence will make it easy for consumers and retailers to automatically leverage appropriate coupons and offers.
Loyalty schemes and purchasing habits are two sides of the same coin when looked at from a data perspective. Loyalty schemes are heading towards the point where they can connect up their huge data repositories with smartphones, in-store WiFi, geo-location data, mobile coupons and purchase technology. This kind of inter-connected data, and the pre-requisite opt-in from consumers, means brands can target shoppers with personalised offers based on their own purchase behaviour.
In summary, what we are seeing are some significant disruptions in the retail sector this year, and here at The Logic Group we are looking forward to playing an integral role by solving real problems for merchants, retailers, marketers and consumers.
The Logic Group