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The iPhone: A Double-edged Revolution for Retail

Posted by Nick Mayrand on July 16, 2017

The iPhone has become so ingrained in daily life that most people express genuine shock when they discover that the original iPhone debuted just ten years ago. Despite its relatively short lifespan, the iPhone and its competitors have transformed the way humans live and move in this world.  This has brought on strange and unintended consequences. For example, the chewing gum industry faces plummeting profits, presumably because people bury their eyes in their smart phones as they wait in lines at grocery stores. However silly this correlation may sound at first, the fate of chewing gum symbolizes the subtle but deep consequences of a smart phone revolution that retailers cannot afford to ignore.

A Real Challenge to Retail 

Other retailers have started to notice the effects of the smart phone revolution throughout the last decade. Most retailers understand the best ways to merchandise and their physical stores to encourage more profitable purchasing patterns. Many of these methods no longer apply the way they did before the smart phone. Customers pay less attention to their immediate surroundings as they focus on their phones while they navigate store aisles, linger outside of fitting rooms, and wait in lines.  They've also researched what they need ahead of time, lessening the importance of signage, packaging or a sales associate.

rack-of-jeans-store-merchandising.jpgMany retailers, unfortunately, face a far deeper issue than the decline of the impulse buy. Retailers may flinch at dropping gum sales, but they also recognize the simple but significant fact that fewer people are leaving their homes to do their shopping. Ecommerce and the traditional brick-and-mortar model are not necessarily locked in a zero-sum game, but the stunning explosion of mobile shopping applications and services like Amazon Prime inevitably challenge retail strategies that depend on people walking through physical stores.

Retailers may succumb to the temptation to simply bemoan these changes and cling on for survival, but they can also develop ways to allow these trends to begin to work in their favor. These forward-thinking merchandising solutions take leading retailers beyond the necessary strategies of developing basic internet marketing campaigns and functional retail websites.

Novel Retailing Opportunities

For example, cutting-edge retailers seek to craft a customer experience that incorporates the customer's mobile phone rather than competing with it. Targeted in-store promotions can encourage customers to access the store's website from their phones before or even as they shop; this opens a new space for personalized advertising and provides the store with a new way to collect useful information on customer preferences.Frye-SF-maker-Wall.jpg

Innovative retailers are now learning how to take advantage of the many new technological advances that smart phone developers have made possible. Forward-thinking stores now deploy IOT-based technologies to make their brick-and-mortar locations more efficient and more appealing to younger generations who have a lower tolerance for easily avoidable inefficiencies. For example, smart shelves can help ensure that a physical retail store keeps up with demand; these shelves alert employees when a particular product is low so that sales opportunities are not missed.

Retailers also have a novel opportunity to lean in creatively to the hunger for information and transparency that mobile phones have helped create and feed. Consumers increasingly expect to understand the production process behind their favorite products and whether the companies that make them are trustworthy and socially conscious. Retailers that learn to tap into this new demand can position themselves and their products at the forefront of a transparency movement that is assuredly gaining steam.

Full Service Ecommerce Solutions - One Click Away

New technologies inevitably leave some retailers behind as others figure out ways to ride those new technologies to future success. Onestop works hard to ensure that its clients are ahead of exciting new technologies across design, performance marketing, customer service and fulfillment.  It is this uniquely comprehensive vertical integration that guides them to GMV growth that routinely doubles industry standards.

Topics: Mobile, Retail, shopping, smartphone, iPhone

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