Sunday, May 6, 2012

Omni-channel: Bringing the Big Retail Picture Together.

Vivek Venugopalan of Wipro writes that the connected customer is reshaping retail. Today’s digital and mobile technology presents consumers with new ways to shop. With a combination of brick-and-mortar outlets, catalogs, mail and phone orders, TV shopping, kiosks, e-tailing, devices, platforms and apps, the choices to keep the consumer engaged, satisfied and loyal have grown.

Retailers now have to relearn their customers’ buying process and habits. When a customer sees an ad in a magazine with a QR Code they scan the QR code on their mobile and are immediately taken to a mobile based solution. The customer looks up the retailer’s website using semantic search, which brings up results based on content, context and meaning. The customer finds a few products that they want and add them to their wish list on the cloud. This is a universal wish list, which is accessible to retailers on demand. The customer then checks in at a local mall. The retailer’s check-in app identifies the customer, accesses their wish list and sends them a personalized offer on their social network with an invitation to visit the store. When the customer visits the store, the facial recognition app identifies the customer and greets them. The store makes personalized recommendations based on the customer’s wish list, shopping history and browsing patterns. The customer picks up the products and the store assistant rings up the charge on their tablet app. The customer cans the code on the tablet and confirms the payment with a tap on their mobile. The NFC application on the mobile completes the payment. 

If this sounds a little too far out in the future then it is important to know that for all of this technology is already around us. And that in a few years it will become so pervasive that retailers who don’t keep pace may be eclipsed from the market. Read more of Vivek's views here.

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