I believe this intensely.
And, yet, I'm not so sure that everyone in retail - or in business for that matter - believes this.
A recent group discussion on LinkedIn suggested as much and had me thinking about the role customers play in the retail experience, the relationship between customers and retailers and the role digital devices play for customers and retailers.
Heavy stuff that started with a question John Simonson asked about the use of mobile devices at retail as part of the retail experience. Perhaps you remember Smartphone GPS Apps & The Customer Experience, my post about smartphones and the retail experience. Although the trend is just beginning, I believe that we will be seeing, hearing and reading a lot more about mobile devices being used at retail.
Here's a recent sampling of articles relevant to 'customers, digital devices and the retail experience':
- From MarketingProfs, Shoppers Using (and Loving) Mobile for In-store Buying.
- Mintel Predicts 2011 Consumer Trends [hat tip to Arthur Corbin] specifically refers to apps, smartphones, QR (Quick Response) codes and geolocation.
- For more about QR Codes and Best Buy, read Best Buy adds QR codes to product fact tags.
- 8 reasons why proximity marketing will matter for retailers in 2011
- FCW's Tuning into the consumer - Insights form a research guru, an interview with Colleen Fahey Rush from MTV Networks which highlights how the mobile phone is "morphing into a shopping device. Mobile apps enable consumers to better navigate through the bargains and better prepare and research."
Customers are changing. They are educating themselves intensely before shopping and thoroughly enjoying using digital tools and mobile devices to make the retail shopping experience more enjoyable and regain control. Interestingly, according to a Motorola Survey: Shoppers better connected to information than store associates.
At the same time, these tools offer opportunities to retailers to reinvent the retail experience. Did you know that Customer Defection Can be Stopped, and Loyalty Can be Restored thanks to digital tools? Can you offer your shoppers ways to share the experience and be more digitally social?
Here are more ideas: Marketing to Shoppers at Every Touchpoint details opportunities to connect with shoppers pre-shop, in-store and post-shop with digital devices.
As aggravating as customers may appear to you as they pull out their smartphone to research products in-store, consider the opportunities available to you to provide information, facilitate solutions and immediately address customer service issues.
Talk about creating a memorable retail experience worth returning to.
What do you think?