By Nassar Hussain, Managing Director for Europe and South Africa at SOTI.
Over the last decade we've seen a significant increase in mobile technology and it is now becoming the heart of customer experience; forcing retailers to figure out how the digital and physical relationships can work together.
Retailers must now decide whether to equip their personnel with mobile devices, introduce more self-service kiosks or expand mobile technology even further; all in the aid of delivering a personalised approach and improving the in-store experience for shoppers. So how has mobility become so important and where it will need to go to meet the expectations of consumers?
Rise in mobility
It is considered by the end of 2016 more consumers will be browsing on mobile devices than on traditional computers for the very first time. This trend has greatly increased since smartphones first appeared ten years ago and has encouraged consumers to expect the same level of engagement from their retailers.
Some retailers have taken this on board, resulting in a rise of instore mobility, but most haven't. Leaving customers wanting more; a recent study found 93 per cent of consumers would like to see more stores using instore mobile technology, highlighting its lack of uptake so far.
Impact on customer experience
So far the rise of mobility has seen a significant impact on customer experience. 73 per cent of consumers feel retailers which offer instore mobile technology provide superior customer service, with a further 64 per cent more likely to shop at a retailer which provided instore mobile technology.
This highlights how increasing mobility in store is having a positive impact on customer experience; which will soon result in increased satisfaction for shoppers, eventually driving sales.
What the future holds
As highlighted, one element of the future which is guaranteed is that shoppers expect to see more retailers using instore mobile technology. However retailers must understand the type of technology to implement and consider what requirements shoppers of the future will have.
65 per cent of consumers are keen to see instore mobile technology that can order online if a product is not available. This is an interesting reverse to what most consider as the normal omnichannel approach of ordering online and collecting instore. 63 per cent of consumers have also stated they prefer mobile point of sale (PoS) compared to a traditional cashier checkout, with a further 72 per cent preferring mobile PoS as it offers faster checkout times or no queues.
When considering these shopper expectations it is clear to see mobility has made a strong impact on customer experience and will be at its heart going forward. Retailers must now take these facts on board and plan a future mobility strategy to meet the expectations of the next generation of customer.
 SOTI Retail Mobility study: the changing face of the shopping experience in 2016 - Europe