Why Brick and Mortar Stores Can't Die in an Interconnected World
A look into shopping and how it has evolved into something interconnected. The boundaries of -"off-line" and on-line" are as blurry as never before. The extension of an idea...
Imagine going into a high street store, walking in, being served what you want, taking it and walking right out of the store. Shocking behaviour because you are a thief! The police will go after you and you land in jail. Well, in just a few months this scenario might play out a little different. When you leave your favourite shopping destination, you would have already paid – in fact your face has with FacePay. Facial recognition technology has been dripping into the world of payments. MasterCard’s ‘SelfiePay’ is a prime example. For now, plans are solely to use it for on-line purchases but the next step really is to integrate facial recognition for in-store payments. The actual payment would be taken via your phone or watch act your portable Behavioural Analysis Driven User Profile (BADUP) creating device and payment feature as described in one of my earlier blog posts.
Now, let’s do a little thought experiment, which takes place on a chilly day in April 2017. What we now work off is a little presumptuous but fun! So stay with me…You have bought a woolly hat that day as the sudden chill took you by surprise. Silly you! As you are at the forefront of technology you paid with your pretty little face. Your favourite store John Lewis now knows that you have bought this item. But based on your location profile, it is also known that you are very unlikely to go back to the shop as it is quite a way from your home and you were just passing by – an impulse purchase basically.
The moment you leave the store, your BADUP is taking shape. On the train home, you share the recent ‘win’ with your friends on Snapchat and maybe Instagram if it is still around. Once you have returned home, the information collected about yourself already includes your age, your preferences, the street you live in and much more. This enables companies to target you and makes you a valuable asset for advertising – but advertising that doesn't disrupt you but compliments your life. So the hat you bought from John Lewis…The weather doesn't really hold up this April, it seems to be getting colder and colder. You may also need a scarf and a pair of gloves. The algorithm that is now ‘you’, can target you on social, mobile, in App, via Push and programmatic advertising with specific content that provides the latest weather report and a connection to John Lewis’ latest offer on a set of scarf and gloves – in their on-line store. Naturally you receive a discount on shipping. You are over the moon and also have become a true brand ambassador, something that accounts for more than John Lewis’ margin on a set of gloves and scarf.
The main reason for this little, not so far off, experiment is to highlight the ‘traditional’ retailer must not be written off. It acts as a natural amplifier of your needs and provides one thing that an on-line store can never offer – pleasure. The interaction with "Things" is more important than just an ‘Internet of Things’. Retailers need traditional stores and will continue to run them to make sure the connection to their customer base is not lost. To be able to make this work, retailers require a new thinking in connecting their customers with them using profiling and creating more touch points that do not disrupt people’s lives but compliment it. Tapping into unconscious desires and emotions is the holy grail of anyone that wants to sell anything, one that we can find, eventually.
The article worked off a few personal beliefs and also assumptions that the reader has some knowledge about personas, user profiles, programmatic and social advertising.