Meeting consumer expectations in today’s omnichannel retail environment is a daunting prospect. Consumers expect you to know who they are and what their favorite products are, and want to move seamlessly between online and in-store browsing, through to reservation, frictionless payment, and convenient collection or delivery. Gone are the days when a customer would simply blindly walk into a shop to find and buy the things they were looking for.
What's more, in a retail scene that gets more confounded by the week, how can local retailers ensure they are understanding their customers? How essential is having mobile-equipped sales associates to brick-and-mortar stores’ digital transformation? What are the challenges that retailers face in rolling this out?
The future for retail mobility looks very exciting.
Today, mobility in retail has not only become a vital channel for branding and advertising but has also been an enabler that can have an exponential impact on the overall operations of a retail organization.
In short, mobility is creating new conceivable outcomes for retailers to manage their stores and make shopping easy and pleasurable. From helping their consumer locate their nearest stores to browsing catalogs on-the-go to read reviews of products and compare prices—with the right postpaid plans coupled with data and the right mobile apps, for example—retailers have the power to integrate various components of the buying cycle into a seamless and fun exercise to build customer relationships and maintain business momentum.
Entrepreneurs can now handle every aspect of their business even from remote areas if their smart device or tablet is stacked with the correct software or apps. Everything from connecting with customers—whether you are surveying uncharted territory or monitoring operations in a disaster-prone area, you can keep your communication lines open with satellite system innovation—to cross-selling and upselling, increasing customer loyalty, selling more goods, and increasing profits through back-end processes like shipping and invoicing at the click of a button.
Smartphone users in PH continue to rise.
The Statistics Portal says the number of smartphone users in the Philippines (PH) is estimated to reach 33.3 million this year and are expected to more than double, hitting 90 million by 2021.
Another research by Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study in 2015 found that e-commerce will continue to thrive in the Philippines and purchases via mobile apps are increasing at 43% among Gen X, higher than the 23% among Gen Y, given their higher purchasing capacity. The Visa study also cited that interest in using "wearables" for payments or high-tech devices tapped at point-of-sale terminals were heightening at 80% among Gen X and 87% among Gen Y wanting to try it.
Beat the hurdles.
Enterprise mobility can appear like a minefield sometimes, with many often conflicting goals presenting themselves all at once. In any case, winning retailers will proactively shape products and experiences for and with consumers by bringing them directly into key merchandising decisions. Making the hurdles work for them, not against them.
Indeed, it is evident that the business opportunities offered by mobility present challenges potentially around information security, device management, return on investment, and IT integration. But at the same time, you cannot afford to ignore the growing preference of customers and employees towards mobility. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy to effectively embrace mobility. In all cases, by formulating a clear roadmap and taking a strategic approach to mobile management—looking at the whole picture, seeing clearly the road ahead—retailers will enable them to leverage the full potential of mobility.
The quick progress of technology is not going to slow any time soon, and the retail environment is as dynamic today as it has ever been. Competition is intensifying and shifting to new arenas, and consumers are rapidly evolving their approach to purchase decisions. More and more businesses that fail to adapt are going to find themselves left behind, while the savvy ones who learn to keep up will reap the rewards. The key is to understand how technology affects your business (for better or worse) and how to apply advancements to play them to your advantage.