The challenges that today’s retailers face for building revenue and profitability are widely and vigorously discussed; however, the solutions have remained elusive in recent years.
- E-commerce continues to leech sales from traditional retail stores.
- Growing numbers of retailers have downsized or disappeared entirely.
- Reliance on free standing inserts and paper coupons remains, but today’s shoppers view them as increasingly impractical.
In contrast, when shoppers buy online, retailers know who they are and provide highly personalized offers. Shoppers have easy access to ratings and reviews about products that interest them, and can instantly determine whether the product they hope to buy is in stock and available.
It’s clear that a bold response is needed by physical retailers. The following chart asks the question, which of these would you miss the most?
The responses highlight the fundamental challenge and – if you look closely – the most viable solution for physical retail.
Over the next 10 years, the predominant segment of shoppers (today ages 16-44) will use smartphones or go online and, secondarily, watch television for product and shopping information. They won’t much miss newspapers and magazines or the radio.
Smart beacons make store aisles digitally interactive.
To weave mobile and brick-and-mortar together, a new technology strives to make the retail shelf more interactive and engaging – smart beacons, such as Apple’s iBeacon. Smart beacons at the retail shelf that communicate with smartphones are ready for prime time based on their ability to deliver relevant information and opportunities to shoppers, including: