My colleague Spencer Jackson, Pointsmith’s Director of Sales, is always in the know about all things Google. When I asked him about the new Google glass project, it lead to a pretty interesting conversation about innovation so I asked him to share some of the highlights here.
Innovation has always been a part of evolving marketing strategies from the printing press to television, and radio. But with new communication methods available, staying on top of the latest technology will be an intense challenge for the retail marketing community. Just trying to keep pace can lead to huge investments in time and money, without knowing if the new technology is simply a passing fad. Is Google Plus and QR codes the next best marketing tool or will they fade away? How will retail embrace mobile payment and RFID technology? How will virtual wardrobes and apps like Shopkick change the way we shop?
The Google Glass project is the latest technology buzz. Videos of how this will change the way we live our daily routine are flying around social media. In my opinion, this technology is going to change the way we shop and how brands are able to engage consumers. With this technology, we will be able to truly interact with the brand through the store experience. Google glasses will give shoppers the latest information on products, prices and inventory. It will be able to virtually show them wearing or using the products. But this also means Google glasses will give shoppers the ability to see all of this from a competitor’s store without leaving the store they’re in. The brand marketer will have to be more innovative and creative to keep the shopper engaged while they are in the store.
Shopkick was founded in 2009. This is an app that tracks and identifies when a shopper walks in a retail store taking loyalty to the next level. Just for browsing national retailers like American Eagle and Target, the shopper is awarded “kick” points to redeem for prices. American Eagle has effectively communicated the program at the store. While 3 million shoppers have downloaded the app to cash in on these incentives, the program is still not considered mainstream yet. Kudos go out to the marketing departments of the retail companies that embraced this technology, and test it to see if it helps enhance the consumer experience. I for one, appreciate being rewarded for spending time in the store, even if I am not ready to buy. I welcome the experience of buying on my terms while getting a reward for keeping informed of my favorite retail brand’s latest offerings.
Most consumers have used RFID technology already, but have not given it a second thought. We have all driven the toll roads of major cities without stopping to pay and simply receive a debit on our credit card. Retailers currently use this technology in the back of the house. Merchandise will arrive, and the inventory is added real-time to keep track of new arrivals. As the RFID chips become more cost effective, it won’t be long before the same chip is recording the movement of merchandise in the front of the stores. I predict a day when I will be able to put my groceries in the cart, or my apparel at my favorite haberdashery in my basket, and walk out the front door while the scanner charges my credit card. Just think how this will change the shopping experience and the marketing message and communication at the store. The analytics will be more accessible and the purchasing patterns of consumers will be well defined.
The technology I described here is only scratching the surface of what is currently available and what is to come. Are you marketing professionals ready? How do you keep up with the ever change technological advances? Do you rely on industry visionaries to keep you informed?