Friday, 4 October 2013

Latest Retail Technology is Pure Fantasy for Small Retailers

Information technology has long been the buzz for retail but the latest variation involves micro-location information that enables retailers to target specific customers and adjust their offer based on customer movement and even their past purchases.

A few weeks ago I googled POS software on my laptop and now I find that no matter what website I am visiting on my computer there are ads for POS software? It is no coincidence. Google ascertained that I was interested in POS software and now they put ads in front of me at every opportunity. That is not so difficult to do online. In physical stores it is a different story but technology is being developed to engage customers in a whole new way.

Largely this technology is based around mobile phones with retailers able to identify your proximity to their store and send you enticing offers direct to your phone. At present you need to opt-in for that sort of service but expect the future to involve a whole new way of engaging with customers. A recent ad campaign in Guatemala was aimed at customers of a shoe store chain. Whenever GPS coordinates showed that the customer was in a competitors store a special countdown was activated on their mobile giving a discount based on how quickly the customer could get back to the instigating shoe store. The campaign hijacked 600 customers in its first week.

There are privacy issues with this sort of customer engagement, but if the customer gets a better deal and location based services makes retailing more attractive, we can expect it to become commonplace.Just how small retailers like market traders become involved is not yet clear - watch this space.