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From Hijack Alerts To Augmented Reality: The Reinvention Of Retail

September 25, 2014 by Judith Magyar 0

Attracting buyer attention in front of shelves stacked with goods that are hard to tell apart has always been challenging.

Retailers have resorted to a number of tactics over the years like discounts, promotions and loyalty programs, but to succeed in today’s mobile driven consumer world, they’ll have to be a lot more resourceful than that!

Some companies are already leading the way. Using technology that didn’t exist a year or two ago, enterprises large and small are disrupting the way we buy, sell and market consumer goods.

Movers and shakers

Meat Pack, a trendy shoe store in Guatemala known for its edgy style and special discounts on brands like Adidas, Nike, and  Supra, used a Hijack alert to promote a new discount. An enhancement to the store’s official app for messaging customers, Hijack uses GPS tracking technology to recognize sneakerheads entering the official store of one of the brands sold at Meat Pack and sends them a special notice about their own promotion. In just one day, over 600 customers were hijacked from competitors, and every time a discount was redeemed, the buyer’s Facebook status was automaticaly updated, generating a viral competitive attitude.

Lowe’s, the home improvement company, is attracting busines with the Holoroom, an augmented reality experience inspired by  sciene fiction, that helps customers visualize how their remodeled bathroom will look after it’s done. Some supermarkets are offering a new experience with Google Glass. Just say “OK,Glass, start shopping,” and as you walk through the store, you’ll get recipe suggestions and nutritional information as you keep tabs on your bill or call your family from a display so they can help make a selection.

Loblaw, Canada’s hugely successful grocery chain, has attracted over 16 million loyalty users, or half the population of the entire country, using technology that analyzes massive volumes of customer data enabling the company to send fully individualized promotion offers.  Peter Danforth, Director of Customer Analytics and a self proclaimed data science geek, describes the company’s model as the next generation loyalty program that’s helping Canadians live life well.

Others are being resourceful in ways that have deeper social impact. Solidarium, a Brazilian online marketplace, connects low income artisans to large retailers and distributors, helping them increase sales and escape poverty.

Like it or not!

Modern retail depends more and more on a combination of push/pull techniques that may not please all customers. Just recently U2 — the rock band long associated with Apple — showed up at the grand unveiling of the iPhone 6 with a big announcement that was also a lesson in marketing. With one push of a button, Apple boss Tim Cook released U2’s new, surprise album to the entire iTunes user database.  This technique pushes out the product for a ‘free trial period’ after which the consumer has the choice to keep it or pay for it, but no choice as far as receiving it.

Transforming retail with mobile and data analytics

The striking thing about all these examples is the innovative way these companies are leveraging mobile devices and data analytics to drive business.  The mobile market changes frequently, and changes can be high impact, so retailers are advised to think carefully about their mobile strategies. Rick Costanzo, EVP & GM SAP Global Mobility Solutions believes mobility moves the world. “Enterprises should be aware that device fragmentation and fast paced, repetitive cycles of technology innovation make it imperative to manage content and apps rather than the device itself,” says Costanzo.

Steve Lucas, SAP President of Platform Solutions, told customers at a recent retail event in São Paulo, that besides investing in mobility, it is necessary to have a single view of the customer, a 365-degree view of the consumer, that integrates information and experiences from both the online and offline universes. “Omni-channel, coupled with Big Data, is one of the fastest growing areas in Brazil,” said Lucas. Because enterprises need to analyze data in real time, the IT landscape must be streamlined and simplified to enable agility, which according to Lucas, is one of the key challenges facing retailers around the world regardless of company size or type of goods.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.
Photo: Shutterstock

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