Future of Mobility in Retail

Today most retailers have embraced on the mobility journey and have presence in some form or other on mobile channel. Some of the basic functionalists like ability to look up products or store location is a given in today’s scenario. There are few who have take it a step ahead and also allow customers to make purchased via the mobile channel itself.


In the next couple of years the key thing to look out for would be how to you bring online, mobile experience in the store and vice-verse.  Today customers expect to have the same brand experience irrespective of the channel it is interacting. And this is where retailers would have to look at their omni-channel strategy and how it becomes a competitive advantage for them instead of a bad customer experience


The other key thing would be personalization and access to information. Knowing the customer buying patterns, his mobile behaviors, his store experience how can you share most personalized messages or offers is going to be the key . In the same regards access to personalized information would be key. For e.g. In a grocery retailer scenario If you know your customers buying pattern on a weekly pattern , retailer can per-populate a buying list for customer and allow them to make edits instead of having gem to create the same from scratch. Once the list is created online or on mobile and when the customer is in the store it should show him the aisles and directions to pick up the products based on the shopping list. Today technology is capable of providing this experience. At the same time there should be personalized messages and offers for the customer while he is shopping in specific aisle. There has  to be a fine line as to how many messages or offers to share so that it’s not annoying but at the same time useful for the customer to make that impulse purchase.


There are quite a few other things ton the store operations side where mobility will make a big impact and make operations more effective. Would put my thoughts on a separate blog for the same.


Call Center Transformation

Today most organizations have invested into social media as part of their customer service initiative. Most of them have a twitter account which is used as an alternate channel to initiate a request. For organizations to take maximum benefit from social media is too look at a more holistic perspective and instead of just using it as channels look at it more from an enterprise way.

Few steps that organizations can look to take so as to get much higher benefits from social conversations are as follows

1) Twitter as a alternate channel – This is done by most companies. What is important though is to integrate the data so as to be able to create a social profile of customer. Firstly this ensures that organizations are able to connect the conversations via twitter to the call center application which provides unified view to the agents which in turn ensures effective service across channels irrespective of the channel from which the customer calls.  Secondly by creating the social profile organizations can mine the social data for various business use cases ( more of this later in another blog ). Twitter as customer service channels helps

  • Transferring the call initiation from high cost channel ( phone/email ) to low cost channel
  • From longer wait/hold time for customer and listening to frustrating music to sending a tweet and waiting for organization to respond
  • If effectively used and manged it can help organizations clearly differentiate them from their competitors and establish them as customer friendly organizations

2) Customer support community – Some organizations have successfully implemented customer support communities but this also as Twitter channel needs to be integrated with the enterprise CC application to provide unified view across channels. But the most important aspect of communities is to crowd source solutions from members which help in reducing the overall calls more effectively and efficiently.  This can very well be achieved by managing the community program to identify the contributors and solution providers. Also its important to reward the community so that it motivates them to continuously participate and contribute. This can very well be achieved by using some of game mechanics techniques of gamification.

3) Social Analytics – this is another big area where organizations need to look at all UGC and find out the reasons of why are customer complaining, what are the gaps in the product/service portfolio and based on this insights organizations can proactively improve the problem areas . This could be in the process or in the service layer or in the core product itself.  Even if the time to improvement takes longer its important that once they are able to find it they communicate to their customers that they are working on it . This would help them reduce a lot of calls and overheads since they were able to proactively take action and design a solution for the problem


P.S this had been in my draft for more than 2 months finally got it published.

Real time marketing -Super Bowl – XVLII

No doubt Super bowl 47 was one hell of a match which saw a very close fight. Before the power went out it was Ravens all the way but after that it seems they lost a bit and 49ers just took over. At the very end it felt that 49ers are going to win this but Ravens were able to manage it and take home the sweet victory. This really was the super bowl , game which saw first 109 yard TD and a record power outage and a record run by a QB for a TD.

As always this one too lots of hype and interest about brands and TV commercials With TV spots selling in millions of dollars it was worth to see which once were able to score and which were not.  But what very unique and different around this time was the real time marketing some of the brands were able to do.  Some used the old techniques of UGC to have viewers participate to decide how they think the TV commercial would end while most of them used the #tags as part of their commercials.

As soon as the power went everyone shifted to the second screen (or should I say 1st screen) and watched the twitter streams and connected with the community.  This opportunity to get mind share and get maximum reach without spending millions was very well capitalized by Oreo.  Their creative print advertisement talking about “you can still dunk in the dark” was a total hit. It not only got more than thousands of RTs and mentions but surprisingly on Facebook as well it got 21K likes and around 7K shares.  The good part of this advertisement was that it was not trying to sell anything but still talking about sports and well connected to the super bowl issues of power outage. Kudos to the team which was able to turn creatively around such a short span of time.

There were few other brands (Wallgreens, Tide, and Audi) which also had similar tactics to engage with customers in real time and use the opportunity window of power outage.  This clearly shows that today the social media teams need to be agile and keeping a track in real time since you never know when you have the opportunity window to engage in such a big way.

Would like to hear from you which brands strategy did you think was most successful and why.