Tech-savvy shoppers are giving the retail sector an extreme marketing makeover. Constantly connected consumers now rely on technology to discover, research, compare and buy products.

Yet consumer technology is not really about the technology – it’s about the people. “Customers are the new Point of Sale,” declared Willy Kruh, Global Chair, Consumer Markets at KPMG.1Kruh, Willy. What’s Revolutionizing Retail Today. STORE2016 Conference. May 31, 2016. That means successful companies adopt technology to make the shopping experience smooth and fun to maximize engagement and sales.

The following shopper technology trends help retail and CPG companies deliver a successful customer experience.

1. Mobile Marketing

Today’s mobile revolution represents a massive market with a bright future, as there are 2.6 billion smartphone subscriptions globally; by 2020 the market will grow to 6.1 billion users.2Lunden, Ingrid. 6.1B Smartphone Users Globally By 2020, Overtaking Basic Fixed Phone Subscriptions. TechCrunch. June 2, 2015.

  • Mobile web: Last year, mobile website traffic surpassed desktop traffic in more than 10 countries, as shoppers use their mobile phones to research companies and products.3Zakrzewski, Cat. Mobile Searches Surpass Desktop Searches at Google for the First Time. TechCrunch. October 8, 2015. Two in five shoppers use mobile devices to compare prices while shopping and smartphones influence 28% of U.S. retail sales.4Shopology. 5 Elements to Entice Today’s Shopper. February 15, 2016.5Rudolph, Stacey. 10 Notable Omnichannel Trends and Statistics [Infographic]. Business 2 Community. April 22, 2016 Now responsive websites, which adapt to different devices’ screen sizes, are required to attract mobile shoppers.
  • Mobile wallet: The ubiquity of smartphones means consumers have the world’s biggest store in their pockets. Most (55%) consumers want to use mobile wallets for loyalty programs, coupons, discounts and special offers.6Urban Airship. Mobile Wallet Idea Book: Innovative Use Cases for Mobile Wallet Passes in a Digital World. May 2016. Nearly half (44%) of millennials would prefer to pay via mobile and mobile purchases will top $100 billion US this year, helped by convenient ‘Buy’ buttons.7Luxury Daily. Rapidly evolving mobile payments market is table stakes for retailers. March 2, 2016.8eMarketer. Mobile Ad Spend to Top $100 Billion Worldwide in 2016, 51% of Digital Market. April 2, 2015.
  • Mobile apps also drive mobile customer engagement and purchase decisions.9eMarketer. Mobile Ad Spend to Top $100 Billion Worldwide in 2016, 51% of Digital Market. April 2, 2015. Target’s Cartwheel app provides a directory of available offers that the customer can scan on their smartphone at the checkout.

To win mobile customers, optimize your mobile website, apps, search, payment and loyalty programs. “Thinking mobile first will transform everything,” allowing you to evolve from transactional relationships to emotional ones.10McDonald, Calvin. Embracing Digital Innovation – Our Time is Now. STORE2016 Conference. May 31, 2016.

2. Data for Personalized Marketing

“Consumer technology is not really about the technology – it’s about the people.”Personalized marketing proves your company understands your target’s needs. When consumers feel understood, they’re more willing to engage and buy.

Integrating and applying accurate, up-to-date consumer data helps you engage shoppers on a more intimate level by tailoring your marketing campaigns to individual preferences.

For instance, Amazon excels at using buyer insights to create astonishingly accurate product suggestions; its customized product recommendations boost sales by up to 30%.11Retail Week. Personalisation: The best examples of how retailers are customising shopper experiences. September 28, 2015. Kroger applies shopper data to send customized digital coupons to consumers who redeem them for incremental purchases.

Apply data insights to create value-add, personalized marketing to anticipate and meet shoppers’ needs.

3. Wearables

Wearable technologies – such as Apple Watches (the best-selling wearable), Google Glass and FitBit fitness tracker – are changing how consumers engage with and purchase from brands.

The adoption rate of wearable technology will increase by 28% this year. Their popularity is due to their convenience and efficient marketing features, including cashless payment, personalized ads and real-time text notifications.12Haselton, Todd. Apple Watch still best-selling smartwatch … by far. TechnoBuffalo. May 16, 2016.13PwC. The Wearable Life 2.0. May 2016.

Build wearable technology into your marketing plan to access richer consumer data, deepen consumer insights and deliver exactly what your target wants.

4. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

The retail sector continues to experiment with immersive technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), such as Oculus Rift. These technologies offer a “wow” factor by delivering immersive retail experiences that captivate consumers.

To help shoppers make decisions, AR technology superimposes clothes on customers as a virtual fitting room and virtual showrooms let customers try before they buy.14Creative Guerilla Marketing. 10 Examples of Augmented Reality in Retail. March 17, 2014. Tommy Hilfiger recently filmed its autumn fashion show in 3D to give Fifth Avenue shoppers a front row seat to the fashion show using a VR headset.15Tabucki, Hiroko. Tommy Hilfiger Introduces Virtual Reality Headsets for Shoppers. New York Times. October 20, 2015.

Entertain, surprise and delight customers by adding AR and VR into your marketing plan. Give shoppers an exciting story to share with their network on social media and word of mouth.

Win with Shopper Technology

The accelerated pace of consumer technology adoption means shopper behavior is moving faster than most companies, so strive for agility to adapt to these trends. Ensure your marketing strategy includes plans to engage shoppers with mobile marketing, data for personalization, wearables, AR and VR. (Stay tuned for more CPG and retailer technology trends.)

What other consumer technology trends impact your marketing strategy?

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One Comment

  1. Great piece! When it comes to VR/AR, we’d add that it’s not only for the consumer facing retail experience, but VR is also used to make faster, smarter decisions in B2B. Our VR platform helps manufacturers and retailers create, evaluate and activate new in-store concepts!

    -Gina Joseph
    Communication Manager, InContext Solutions

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