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10 ways mobility is changing how modern retailers sell

(Business Marketing) As mobile device technologies become widely adopted, retailers must adjust to address this new mobility if they want to maximize their profits.

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Retail is changing thanks to technology

When was the last time that you used your mobile device to shop competitors while in a store, search for coupons, or do on-the-spot research? If you’re alive and over 18, it’s probably been recently.

By Swaroop Rao, VP and Global Head, Mobility Practice at Happiest Minds Technologies points out that three in every four people in the world have access to a mobile device, which has changed how retailers connect with customers.

“Retailers can now connect with current and potential customers — and vice versa — regardless of location or time of day,” Rao notes. “With this increased connectivity comes significant opportunities for retailers to get uniquely attuned to the individuality and personalities of their customers, which in turn allows them to nimbly adapt retail business practices — including distribution, operations, merchandising, marketing, and customer service — for maximum revenue impact.”

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So how exactly can retailers use mobility to their advantage? In his own words, Rao offers the following 10 ways:

1. Embrace Me-Commerce

Technology has allowed unlimited choices in lifestyles, work styles, and the ways consumers choose to shop. Along with this comes the expectation on the part of the consumer that their retail experience be highly personalized to their tastes. The evolution of this Me-Commerce concept will only continue, and retailers wishing to maximize their impact with current and future generations of shoppers must use mobility as a primary tool to do so.

2. Include mobile in an Omni-Channel approach

Retailers must ensure that customers have the same brand experience at all points of contact, across all channels and devices. Whether they are window-shopping, purchasing, or paying, an Omni-Channel approach to multi-channel retailing can be maximized as more and more consumers choose to perform some or all of these activities via their mobile devices.

3. Maximize mobility both externally and internally

Mobility means far more to savvy retailers than simply an app that facilitates consumer shopping. Studies have shown that companies are unable to prevent employees from bringing their own devices to work. Smart retailers can take advantage of that situation and maximize productivity in their employees by allowing them to use those devices for inventory check-points, sales assistance, pre-sales, and more.

4. Strategize for “showrooming”

 
Increasingly, consumers are using brick-and-mortar stores to examine merchandise, then buy those same products online with their mobile devices. Smart retailers will develop a strategy for showrooming which allows in-store employees to be empowered through mobile to provide enough product data and personalized assistance to close the sale.

5. Maximize hyper-targeting

Customers are constantly on the go, and hyper-targeting allows retailers to go right with them, with the right message, at the right time, and the right place. Smart retailers will maximize mobile to promote personalization and individualization as customers move about in-store, using tools like Wi-Fi, LTE, iBeacon, and even augmented reality (AR) techniques.

6. Apply smart science with Big Data

In today’s age of Big Data, the proliferation of technologies has exponentially grown the amount of data that’s created and consumed. Retailers can optimize the volume of data at their disposal by applying Big Data science to the art of retail. Never before could retailers so acutely understand, comprehend and target their customers to create a highly individualized shopping experience.

7. Reinvent Loyalty Programs

Mobility allows for a highly personal experience with retail customers, and today’s retailers can take advantage through Loyalty programs that uniquely resonate with customer habits and preferences. No longer just a “tick mark activity” for retailers, reinvented Loyalty Programs have the potential — through mobile applications — to be one of the best ways to stay connected to customers in the long run.

8. Allow social media to drive inventory

Social media allows retailers to have an informative dialog with customers, more than ever before. Feedback through tools like Pinterest, Instagram, Quora, Craig’s List, etc. is invaluable in starting to drive inventory per customer preferences and trends.

9. Digitize stores for mobile use:

Connect with your customers in-store with digital displays, ePubs, multi-media presentations, etc. Then, connect the in-store digital experience with your customers’ mobile device to close the sale. Promotions, products, incentives and information presented through the interplay of in-store digital and hand-held mobile can create a customer “wow” moment that your lagging competitors can’t match.

10. Utilize APIs for enhanced customer services

Retailers today can employ the use of APIs and service providers to offer customers enhancements in the brand experience and its services like never before. Possibilities can include things like catalog as a service, wish list as a service, registry as a service, real-time pricing, stock notifications, etc. The list is limited only by the retailers’ imagination in how they interact in a highly personalized way with their customers.

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. James Easterling

    October 9, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    I enjoyed this article. I especially liked #8.

    This article captured and offered solid suggestions and opportunities to capitalize on engaging current and potential customers into a retailer’s sales funnel in the mobile marketing space.

    I would like to add to your list. Another lucrative option is using text messaging. According to Pew Research 2013, 34% of Americans are still using feature phones which would eliminate them from participating in these marketing suggestions.

    What do you see trending for Me-Commerce in 2015?

  2. Robert May

    October 11, 2015 at 12:33 am

    This trend has just got stronger. I am in the real estate industry and for us mobile is everything now.

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Business Marketing

Amazon attracts advertisers from Facebook after Apple privacy alterations

(MARKETING) After Apple’s privacy features unveil, Amazon adapts by taking a unique approach to targeting, disrupting revenue for the ad giant Facebook.

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Two African American women work at their desks, one viewing Amazon's advertising landing page.

As a de facto search engine of its own persuasion, Amazon has been poaching ad revenue from Google for some time. However, disrupting the revenue stream from their most recent victim – Facebook – is going to turn some heads.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s recent privacy additions to products such as iPhones are largely responsible for the shift in ad spending. While platforms like Facebook and Instagram were originally goldmines for advertisers, these privacy features prevent tracking for targeting – a crucial aspect in any marketing campaign.

Internet privacy has been featured heavily in tech conversations for the last several years, and with Chrome phasing out third-party cookies, along with Safari and Firefox introducing roughly analogous policies, social media advertising is bound to become less useful as tracking strategies struggle to keep up with the aforementioned changes.

However, Amazon’s wide user base and separate categorization from social media companies makes it a clear alternative to the Facebook family, which is perhaps why Facebook advertisers are starting to jump ship in an effort to preserve their profits.

This is the premise behind the decision to reduce the Facebook ad spending of Vanity Planet by 22%, a home spa vendor, while facilitating a transition to Amazon. “We have inventory…and the biggest place we are growing is Amazon,” says Alex Dastmalchi, the entrepreneur who runs Vanity Planet.

That gap will only widen with Apple’s new privacy features. Bloomberg reports that when asked in June if they would consent to having their internet activity tracked, only one in four iPhone users did so; this makes it substantially harder for the ad campaigns unique to Facebook to target prospective buyers.

It also means that Amazon, having demonstrated a profound effectiveness in targeting individuals both pre- and post-purchase, stands to gain more than its fair share of sellers flocking to promote their products.

Jens Nicolaysen, co-founder of Shinesty (an eccentric underwear company), affirms the value that Amazon holds for sellers while acknowledging that it isn’t a perfect substitute for social media. While Nicolaysen laments the loss of the somewhat random introduction charm inherent on Instagram, he also believes in the power of brand loyalty, especially on a platform as high-profile as Amazon. “The bigger you are, the more you lose by not having any presence on Amazon,” he explains.

As privacy restrictions continue to ramp up in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how social media advertising evolves to keep up with this trend; it seems naive to assume that Amazon will replace Facebook’s ads entirely, tracking or no tracking.

Apple's privacy landing page showing iPhone users ability to shut off location services and a desktop image of a user's ability to control how their data is managed.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.

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Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

This story was first published in January 2020.

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Business Marketing

Jack of all trades vs. specialized expert – which are you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It may feel tough to decide if you want to be a jack of all trades or have an area of expertise at work. There are reasons to decide either route.

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When mulling over your career trajectory, you might ask yourself if you should be a jack of all trades or a specific expert. Well, it’s important to think about where you started. When you were eight years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Teacher? Doctor? Lawyer? Video Game Developer? Those are common answers when you are eight years old as they are based on professionals that you probably interact with regularly (ok, maybe not lawyers but you may have watched LA Law, Law & Order or Suits and maybe played some video games – nod to Atari, Nintendo and Sega).

We eventually chose what areas of work to gain skills in and/or what major to pursue in college. To shed some light on what has changed in the last couple of decades:

Business, Engineering, Healthcare and Technology job titles have grown immensely in the last 20 years. For example, here are 9 job titles that didn’t exist 20 years ago in Business:

  1. Online Community Manager
  2. Virtual Assistant
  3. Digital Marketing Expert
  4. SEO Specialist
  5. App Developer
  6. Web Analyst
  7. Blogger
  8. Social Media Manager
  9. UX Designer

We know that job opportunities have grown to include new technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, consumer-generated content, instant gratification, gig economy and freelance, as well as many super-secret products and services that may be focused on the B2B market, government and/or military that we average consumers may not know about.

According to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics after doing a survey of baby boomers, the average number of jobs in a lifetime is 12. That number is likely on the rise with generations after the Baby Boomers. Many people are moving away from hometowns and cousins they have grown up with.

The Balance Careers suggests that our careers and number of jobs we hold also vary throughout our lifetimes and our race is even a factor. “A worker’s age impacted the number of jobs that they held in any period. Workers held an average of 5.7 jobs during the six-year period when they were 18 to 24 years old. However, the number of jobs held declined with age. Workers had an average of 4.5 jobs when they were 25 to 34 years old, and 2.9 jobs when they were 35 to 44 years old. During the most established phase of many workers’ careers, ages 45 to 52, they held only an average of 1.9 jobs.”

In order to decide what you want to be, may we suggest asking yourself these questions:

  • Should you work to be an expert or a jack of all trades?
  • Where are you are at in your career and how have your skills progressed?
  • Are you happy focusing in on one area or do you find yourself bored easily?
  • What are your largest priorities today (Work? Family? Health? Caring for an aging parent or young children?)

If you take the Gallup CliftonStrengths test and are able to read the details about your top five strengths, Gallup suggests that it’s better to double down and grown your strengths versus trying to overcompensate on your weaknesses.

The thing is, usually if you work at a startup, small business or new division, you are often wearing many hats and it can force you to be a jack of all trades. If you are at a larger organization which equals more resources, there may be clearer lines of your job roles and responsibilities versus “the other departments”. This is where it seems there are skills that none of us can avoid. According to LinkedIn Learning, the top five soft skills in demand from 2020 are:

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Emotional Intelligence

The top 10 hard skills are:

  1. Blockchain
  2. Cloud Computing
  3. Analytical Reasoning
  4. Artificial Intelligence
  5. UX Design
  6. Business Analysis
  7. Affiliate Marketing
  8. Sales
  9. Scientific Computing
  10. Video Production

There will be some folks that dive deep into certain areas that are super fascinating to them and they want to know everything about – as well as the excitement of becoming an “expert”. There are some folks that like to constantly evolve and try new things but not dig too deep and have a brief awareness of more areas. It looks safe to say that we all need to be flexible and adaptable.

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