Small Business News

Smartphones Are Changing Retail

As smartphones become more ubiquitous in established markets, traditional business models have begun to quickly shift and adapt. Perhaps more than any other, the retail industry will have to change significantly to combat the phenomenon of “showrooming” – when customers use retail stores as a showroom for products they intend to order online.

Market research firm ABI Research today released a report predicting some of the coming changes to the retail industry. The firm believes that technologies related to NFC, RFID, apps, analytics and even signage will turn the retail space into something that might not have been recognizable over a decade ago.

Smartphones create a platform on which to unite the variety of different technologies deployed in-store,” said Dominique Bonte, practice director at ABI. “This creates huge potential to significantly improve the customer experience as well as streamline existing pain points such as staff efficiency, product discovery, queue management, coupon redemption, linked loyalty programs, and closing the redemption loop on offers/advertising.”

In addition to consumer-facing applications, smartphones could end up significantly changing the point-of-sale systems that businesses use. Already some retailers are using associates with smartphones to help relieve POS lines and check customers out while on-the-move.

Another coming change could be the tacit adoption of showrooming as an alternative to retail sales. ABI believes there is much opportunity for retailers to take on lucrative advertising contracts for their in-store displays.

“Smartphones will completely revolutionize the existing analytics, CRM, digital signage, loyalty and POS markets, not to mention opening up a whole new medium for retailers to sell advertising to brands,” said Patrick Connolly, senior analyst at ABI. “Major grocery stores generate as much as 20% of total revenue from standard in-store branded advertising today. Imagine the potential of personalized in-aisle advertising.”

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