Clearly, I wanted to get your attention, but I am going to reveal the answer shortly, but one thing is undeniable, the smartphone has fundamentally changed the game. Big time. With the ability to “Buy Now” anytime, anyplace and anywhere (there is data service) bingo, we have touchdown. It raises a myriad of opportunities and some serious stress, especially if you are the person who left your smartphone at home. Personally, I get fed up to the back teeth with
myself if I have loaded my loyalty cards into my Stocard app incorrectly and then can’t claim my rewards (as was the case when I put in my AA Smartfuel rewards card but the Countdown onecard number is a different number on the back!)
retailers who don’t have payWave. Like seriously cut-me a break – increase the price of your goods across the store to cover the fees for seamless technology in your store. Yes I do walk out if you don’t have it like last weekend when I went next door for a coffee and then didn’t buy my pharmacy products – you see sometimes I only carry my phone…. and
businesses who get convinced (or have convinced themselves) they need an app for their ecommerce capabilities where they haven’t even bothered simply to make their website mobile optimised. 81% of New Zealanders have a smartphone, according to latest data which is significantly larger than the global average of 71%. While a smidge more people have computers (84%), this indicates that Kiwis use smartphones to go online at least as often as computers and tablets. When you consider that New Zealanders spent $4.2 billion online last year - an increase of 16%, up from $3.6b recorded a year earlier uptake in online shopping now accounts for 8.9% of all retail spending in this country*. I had a conversation with a very intelligent and successful CEO who operates in a different sector but sits on Boards with other retail Board directors. He seemed to have been told bricks and mortar retail is close to the edge of no longer existing. Wasn’t I concerned? But as we now know the successful combination of commerce anywhere, anytime goes hand in hand with a physicality of retail.
It's still early days for online shopping. There are still a lot of growth opportunities to come in the future - it only accounts for 9 per cent of retail - far behind countries like China and the UK.
The iPhone isn’t just sexy. It’s sex itself Well that’s according to New York University marketing professor Scott Galloway, who I am a full-fledged groupie of. (Check out his podcast PIVOT with Cara Swisher – awesome). The Freudian analysis here, he says, is that iPhones are useful for luring the opposite sex, just like Porsches and Prada shoes. The sleek gadget is a status symbol that says, “If you mate with me, your kids are more likely to survive than if you carry an Android phone,” according to Galloway. What I think we can all agree is that the smartphone has become an extension of ourselves and also lets us shop as we never had before. Need food now? Uber Eats. Want a coffee on the run? BPMe. Book a flight? AirNZ. Seen an item on the side of a bus shelter? Look it up and buy while riding the bus. Want to book a restaurant for lunch on Friday? Reserve on Google. Do you need an app? There are growing pressures in organisations; often well intentioned but misunderstood that “we need an app”. For many retailers the challenge is your website is simply not mobile optimised and that would solve a world of pain for many shoppers (and your CEO). Whilst getting an average cost in NZ is difficult to make an app (we get told constantly you get what you pay for) we know clients who have paid the top end $500k plus to get an awesome app that adds value to their shoppers life. The actual cost can vary widely and depends on a lot of factors from which operating system you need to be on, the functionality you need, and the design elements. And, it’s not just building an application – which on average takes more than seven months – but you need to maintain it to make sure it works as the operating systems evolve. Internationally, we have some incredible inspiration such as the Starbucks app. Whilst Starbucks is a dirty coffee word in the antipodeans, their Mobile Order and Pay lets customers place their order before they get to the store. You simply pick-up and walk away. And while some stores have pick-up only counters, the new Starbucks Now stores are focused purely on pick-up and delivery.
According to Starbucks management, “This new retail format and design approach provides us with a platform to offer customers a fast and convenient retail experience to suit their on-the-go lifestyle.”
Closer to home the likes of BPme and my local Cigana means you load your favourite coffee in and simply order to pick-up when you want. With Cigana I order once I leave my driveway and it’s there when I arrive. What I love is Cigana feels a bit like “Cheers” where everyone knows my name (some readers might need to google that reference).
Empowering of the instore experience
Retailers in categories ranging from luxury, apparel, homewares, fashion, beauty and technology are using HERO to digitise stores worldwide by mobilising sales associates on the shop floor with the power to reach directly with those online.
At the tap of a button digital shoppers are chatting and livestreaming with an associate in store to help them with their purchase. They might want to see a product up closer or want to see it in a different colour or simply get help with a look.
Now everyday across the world, stores and associates are no longer standing idle, but proactively assisting online shoppers - transforming the role of the store and creating a significant advantage against pure-play online retailers.
But that also takes a lot of trust with your store associates and currently in NZ and Australia there are few retailers ready to make the jump to allowing them to use their smartphones at work. God forbid they go on Insta or Snap.
Nike is possibly one of the best in class in the utilisation of the smartphone and building their brand and business around it. Just on the weekend, while I was in the Adidas store my son designed me a pair of Metcons on Nike which were brilliant (but not so my colours).
From the moment I enter a store in the US the app welcomes me and allows me to interact with my environment and their product.
In the NYC House of Innovation Flagship store the app gets me everything I need. For example, I can scan a product and get the product bought to me in my size by a sales assistant to scan, paying and leaving the store without even speaking to anyone.
Where the Nike app adds incredible value is in the application of the data on its shoppers. Visit the bottom floor of the NYC Nike store and you will find a local edit of the top items picked based on the behaviours, fashion style and purchasing habits of NYC Nike shoppers.
The same goes for Nike Melrose where the app can be used for all the same functions but also to redeem rewards in store to ordering kerbside pick-up and never leaving the car.
Letting me take control Nike is quite the master in recognising the smartphone technology is only going to get better. Mid this year, the company launched Nike Fit, a smartphone-based foot scanning solution that lets customers check their shoe size before they buy.
According to industry research, over 60 percent of people wear the wrong size shoes, so Nike Fit aims to solve that problem. The experience itself is fairly simple: You open up the Nike app, go to a product page and, next to where there's usually a menu that lets you pick the size of your shoes, you'll see a new option to measure your feet. From there, the camera will pop up and you'll be asked to stand next to a wall and point your smartphone at your feet, which will prompt a view that uses two AR circles to level your phone. Once the feature recognizes your feet and your physical environment, it starts scanning your feet and then tells you your ideal shoe size for Nike footwear. The entire process takes less than a minute.
When one of the biggest challenges (especially in online shopping) are returns, empowering the shopper with fit technology solves many problems.
But what about if all that data about you, where you go and what you do when you are there can be transformed into product perfect for you?
Online fashion company Ivyrevel has delivered a product “the Data Dress”, which uses the buyer’s smartphone to create a custom design based on their lifestyle. Customers start by downloading the Coded Couture app, choosing whether they want a business, party or gala dress, and selecting a style.
Once enabled the app tracks their activities over the next seven days to inform the design. For example, if you live in a hot climate, if you run or do yoga, if you go to sushi or a fancy pants restaurant. The resulting dress is a map of your life that week (let’s hope you didn’t stay home bingeing on Netflix).
Customers can check in on the progress of the dress throughout the week and edit details of the final. There also is no obligation to buy the finished piece (similar to Shoes of Prey concept).
Buy now, Pay later epidemic I’m hooked. Are you? AfterPay, Laybuy, Oxipay, Genoapay, I'm sure another one has popped up overnight. Many other shoppers are.
Companies offering consumers buy now, pay later services are growing and the services allows consumers to purchase and obtain goods and services in-store or online immediately, but pay for the purchase over time. And while there are no interest charges, there are penalty fees for late payments.
I love it. I am a finance free-loader but the bonus is the seamlessness of these products on your smartphone. While I favour Laybuy and Afterpay, the Afterpay service is the most seamless enabling a couple of taps and you are walking out of the store with your new shoes (thank you Karen Walker).
There are many pros to this service and the smartphone has made it seamless.
Get what I want now before it’s sold out – and enjoy it now without having to save or put it on my credit card where I incur interest sooner.
Not so price conscious as I want what’s on trend (or what I need now).
A customers' average ticket is higher as they can spend more than they might have without the service.
Access to brands and products that in the past I may not have considered – so new customers.
Shopping more, more often (that could just be me). The smartphone has made it easier to access some finance options vs others. A reference is if you have ever tried to buy something on 60 months interest-free from Harvey Norman. It’s not their fault you need to find the cord blood of your first child, the tears of a unicorn and Gandalf’s hair but it’s not seamless. And therein lies the beauty. Undeniably, how we use our smartphones has not only impacted the way we buy but the products and our retailers of preference. What they have also taught us that there is currency beyond price and the way the technology enhances our lives means we aren’t swayed so much by price. And with that I am off to buy Uber Eats and feel guilty that the retailer is bearing a 30% cut in their revenue to UberEats while I actually would be willing to pay more as it is bucketing down rain outside and would do anything not to hop in my car. Or cook.