Will Apple and Google Rule Customer Loyalty in Mobile?
Smartphones have changed forever the information consumption habits of consumers. While those changes are most obvious in areas such as social networks, the news media and search engines, they have been perhaps most impactful in the retail industry.
Retailers Need More Than Fun When It Comes to Gamification
Consumers have been exposed to games when they shop for decades. As far back as 1896, grocers distributed Green Stamps that were collected to earn shopping rewards.Read more...
Is This the Death of Black Friday?
Black Friday is a week away, and the news is full of stories anticipating retailing’s version of New Year’s Eve. But this year will be different – a lot different, I think – so much so that I wonder if Black Friday as we know it is dying.Read more...
Augmented Reality: Beyond the Gimmick
Mikael Karlsson, mobile marketing manager for Volvo, shocked the audience at the 2012 Apps World conference when he described augmented reality as an overhyped marketing gimmick. Read more...
What Are Smart Retailers Really Selling?
Retail was founded on a very simple principle: to acquire and make available for people that which they could not easily or affordably obtain on their own. Thus, buying wholesale and selling retail was – and is today – a service to the community. Read more...

In the Future, Payments Will Take Many Forms

One in ten Americans has used a cell phone to make a charitable contribution by text message. More than a third of smartphone owners have used their phones to do online banking. And nearly 40 percent of owners have used their smartphones to make a purchase. Clearly, consumers have grown increasingly comfortable using their phones to perform any number of financial transactions.

Financial services and technology firms have responded with mobile payment solutions of various types. Some allow merchants and businesses to accept “on the go” credit card payments using a special card reader. Others facilitate transfers by physically touching phones or exchanging phone numbers or email addresses.

Mobile wallets go a step further, turning smartphones into all-in-one payment devices. Simple and convenient, mobile wallets can track users’ shopping and purchasing behavior in real time. They can carry offers based on someone’s location and past purchasing history. Critics have expressed concerns about hacking, market fragmentation, and loss of privacy.

Predictions run the gamut

The Pew Internet & American Life Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center sought predictions on the future of mobile payments, and found that a majority of respondents support the scenario that by 2020 most people will have embraced and adopted the use of smart-device swiping for purchases. However they disagreed on how quickly this level of adoption will come. Continue reading…

Showrooming Is About More Than Price

Retailers continue to discuss showrooming as if it were a wildfire to be stamped out instead of a reality that affords them some new opportunities to connect with consumers.

This spring I was in London speaking at the Rutberg Summit and half the audience questions were about showrooming, when a consumer sees a product at a brick-and-mortar retailer and then purchases it online. At Rutberg, some of the suggestions for meeting this challenge included offering products not found online, disconnecting WiFi, blocking cell signals, even banning the use of cameras. All that seems more than extreme to me.

Let’s look back at the study that came out earlier this year from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which said that more than half of the adult cell phone users surveyed used their phones while in a store during the most recent holiday shopping season.

But for what did they use their phones? Some 38 percent called a friend for advice about a purchase. Another 24 percent looked up reviews; and 25 percent looked up pricing information online. Continue reading…