Retail of the future has arrived, courtesy of Amazon. The e-commerce superpower has released plans for Amazon Go, a physical grocery/convenience store leveraging the power of mobile to allow for lightning fast “grab-and-go” checkout. Customers scan a QR code when entering the store, add items to their bags as they please, and simply walk out of the store when finished shopping, with the charge hitting their existing Amazon account. This next generation of retail will come to life early next year, with the first location slotted for Seattle.
The biggest takeaway, other than really wanting to give this a try, is the visible shift retail is making towards mobile technologies. Mobile has already had a place in stores, with 90% of 12,000 surveyed smartphone users attesting to using their smartphones in stores across various functions while shopping. Facilitating the complete checkout process seamlessly without employee interaction is the next step, and if executed correctly could leave traditional retailers scrambling for comparable solutions.
With a lengthy R&D time, costly implementation, and numerous glitches that would need to be worked out, seamless mobile checkout isn’t a switch that can just be flipped overnight. In the meantime, here are three ways retailers can quickly make innovative mobile solutions part of their recipe for success as soon as possible:
Make the mobile experience truly omnichannel
Omnichannel shouldn’t just be offering commerce options across mobile, web, and retail; it needs to be about understanding each customer’s complete journey across platforms and reacting accordingly. Observe customers’ browsing behaviors and favorite purchases when they are shopping on site or mobile and let them know about coupons and product locations corresponding to what they were looking at via a push notification when they arrive at a retail location. Craft an innovative mobile retail journey for each customer by obtaining a single view of the person inside and outside of the store.
Be a virtual shopping assistant
As the shift to mobile rises among all retailers, there will be increasingly less interaction between customers and store employees. Many stores pride themselves on the customer service they provide and the associated financial impact with cross-sell and upsell opportunities. Utilize personalization to create a similar impact via mobile device. Understanding each customer, greet them via mobile app when they arrive, and when they react, present product recommendations, offers, and reviews that are the most relevant on a 1-to-1 level. With the advantage of customer data, mobile has the potential to become a powerful and trusted advisor for each retail customer.
Make each shopping trip fun and rewarding
There is no doubt it will take each shopper a couple of trips to really reap the convenience benefits of Amazon Go. Before this, many early adopters and first time shoppers will be drawn to the fun novelty aspect of facilitating the whole retail process on their own.
Retail loyalty programs can take advantage of this same desire to have an enjoyable time while shopping. Rather than the traditional cards shown at the register, incorporate rewards into mobile, offering points and status upgrades for interactive experiences such as checking in at different locations, trying out select new products, or sharing an offer with friends on social networks. Most customers have their phone in hand anyway, so why not give them a reason to use it while in-store?
In the mobile generation, customers are looking for a combination of convenient, entertaining, and engaging shopping experiences. While Amazon Go is creating a lot of buzz pertaining to both, there are many other opportunities for retailers to do the same with their mobile experiences. Appeal to a customer's individual needs with innovative approaches to personalization and engagement, and customer loyalty will be the result.