Every retailer was well aware of EMV and the liability shift, but a funny thing happened on the way to Oct 2015, Apple Pay caused a sensation pumping life into the NFC market and Google Wallet and SoftCard. It also caused retailers of all size to become open to jumping the technology rail and pay attention to what I think will be the most important development for retail in 2015. Adopting various tech to create highly curated engagements with consumers.
EMV will drive investment and new tech solution adoptions – Retailers know about EMV and the have accepted the inevitability of having to invest 6.75 trillion dollars to upgrade 15 million plus devices according to Javelin, now thanks to Apple Pay they are looking to have this investment not just meet the EMV requirement but also to meet future trends in payment and retail.
Payments, mobile & engagement will become focal on the sales floor – Retailers have seen that clienteling and payments on the floor work, and will continue to move towards that trend. Providing sales clerks with customer data and analytics as well as allowing them to service and close out transactions will continue to grow. It is likely that we will see in store self checkout experiences directly from consumer mobile devices.
Loyalty moves from points to experience optimization – Points have become so passe, no longer are they seen as perks but something that is expected; to build loyalty retailers will start moving to providing curated experiences to reward their customers. Here again we will see retailers become more willing to adopt technology to allow consumers to engage with retailer and their inventory at a SKU level directly from mobile device; within the store and outside it.
With data becoming more readily available to SMB retailers, Beacons will make further inroads to facilitate a more relevant engagement between retailer and customer.
As we see most of this will be used to elevate customer experiences by allowing customers to engage retailers in a highly relevant way in whatever platform they select be it digital or in person. In some respects we will be going Back to the Future where retail sales were all about personal marketing and sales associates knowing the customer. As Gen Z’ers begin to supplant Millennials and Baby Boomers in the marketplace, retailers must make sure that their engagement initiatives can impact and build brand loyalty with this new group that places a premium on highly curated experiences