As consumers continue to cut back on their spending during what is a difficult time for the retail sector, there are calls for widespread adoption of innovative techniques to keep the tills ringing. But according to retail platform Shopow, all new features that are introduced should have the ultimate goal of helping shoppers to discover deals, enhance their experience, and most importantly, save money.
A new report from Verdict Research has predicted another tough year for retailers in 2012, with a growth rate predicted to be the third slowest for 40 years. As many consumers overspent at Christmas, the first few months of the year will be particularly difficult.
With 58.6 billion in consumer spending accounted for online in 2011; it is clear that 2012 will be a year where further developments will be made in Web 3.0 with many experts heralding the dawn of the "super digital consumer."
Many experts are suggesting that major digital and cultural consumer trends will converge in the coming year. The prevalence of mobile technology will be ever more obvious; it will be more intuitive and interactive than ever before and will operate as a shopping interface to everything beyond the virtual world. Retailers are clearly reacting to these consumer realities much more quickly; due both to the economic climate and the success that brand engagement has had online.
Ellen Flood, independent shopping expert from Shopow, said, "Pressures brought about by tight budgets are prompting retailers to consider new approaches to attracting shoppers. High street stores are now beginning to embrace interactive technology to create a more personal and involving shopping experience, in order to encourage the destination and experiential shopping that is currently somewhat lacklustre. The future for portable computing devices will be merely as a portal to other things, rather than as particularly desirable items in and of themselves. Either way, interactive technology will become even more all pervasive than it already is."
The advent of mobile technology has provided the shopper with far more product information and price information than ever before. M-commerce enables the high street shopper to compare prices on the go as they shop; through facilities like QR codes and in store price comparison apps. It's predicted that this idea, in the coming months, will facilitate the purchase of one item per second from mobile computing platforms resulting in a massive growth rate during the course of the year.
Moreover, we are gradually moving into a cashless world even though this has been claimed for the past 5 years Google, MasterCard and PayPal are rolling out contactless mobile technology to make payment far easier with the ordinary smart phone operating as a credit card.
Ellen, said, "Stores that are embracing a multi-channel approach across mobile, online and in-store will be best placed to benefit from the latest innovations that include the integration of social media. Smart phones are beginning to function as a platform to get detailed product information on the go, seek out the best deals, take recommendations and actually buy the product with contactless technology."