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Mobile technology redefines retail dynamics

09-August-2013
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Mobile technology redefines retail dynamics

The retail story in the country is witnessing a new twist. A major catalyst of this has been the arrival of mobile technology that dominates consumers’ lifestyle – right from receiving knowledge about a brand to the convenience of purchasing it.

Mobile technology in its current phase has created a convenient and interactive shopping experience that dominates the retail space. Concepts such as in-shop interaction, m-commerce and m-payments are seen re-shaping the Indian retail story.

“Retailers use the mobile space to stay connected with consumers. Mobile technology has also changed the way retail operates,” says Sandipan Ghosh, Assistant Vice President – Marketing, Consumer Brands Division, RSIL

The mobile – retail saga
The arrival of mobile technology has brought in a new process of buying. Right from shopping lists saved in draft messages to scanning QR codes, mobile technology now plays a big role in the purchasing decision.

Harshil Karia, Co-Founder and Online Strategist, FoxyMoron explained that mobile introduces a fresh level of interactivity in shopping. The mobile revolution affects the retail space from the grassroot level. It impacts the basic retail advertising up to the shopping experience, till the consumers leave the mall. It has also given rise to couch commerce, a self-explanatory term that attracts consumers in metros.

Retail advertising
Integrating mobile in the marketing mix is not a new trend anymore. To promote its new Curve ID jeans series, Levi’s resorted to mobile display advertising to targeted group of women. These ads were flashed on web and in-apps to attract the right TG.

In-store interaction
Not utilising the device that is always with consumers for better engagement is simply not an option anymore. To enhance purchase experience, a number of stores have adopted QR codes to integrate products for consumers to research and decide. Marketers have also started engaging customers with the convenience proposition, thus bringing in services such an m-payment and m-check out.

“Introduction of recommendation messages and missed calls is a new trend seen in this space. The service will give the users an opportunity to recommend the product they like to their friends,” added Karia.

To take in-shop interaction to a different level, supermarkets have been creating applications that offer the map of the arena to the consumer who can plan the entire shopping trip according the priority on their list.
 
Out-of-store interaction
It basically means to reach out to the consumer beyond the shopping experience. Supermarkets have thus been seen adopting QR codes outside the malls in areas such as parking lots or near the elevators to attract consumers, who are given an opportunity to check out the products without entering the store.

The way forward
Budget and lack of human resource might limit small retailers from turning to mobile to increase engagement. However, at some point, marketers will need to adapt to the device that accompanies the consumer everywhere.

“Marketers need to integrate content so as to create engagement. They should be keen to know how technology can be enabler of engagement,” added Ghosh.

Having said this, technology should be used to create engagement and not mere offers for consumers. Countries like Korea now have supermarkets with virtual walls that display all products. While India might take a while to reach this kind of technological abundance, it surely is on the right path.

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