In 2020, you’re going to want to use your phone to pay for everything. Credit cards? They’re so a decade ago. Why bother with a wallet, really, when you can just take your phone everywhere and do everything with it?
You’ll use your phone to pay for that Vanilla Coke you found so tempting in the work vending machine. On Saturday, you’ll be able to use your phone — and that’s just your phone — to pay for your artisanal pumpkin bread at the local farmer’s market. And on Sunday, when you’re fancy dress shopping, you’ll take your phone to Nordstrom and use it there too.
The limit (to the situations in which you’ll be able to pay with your phone) does not exist.
Mobile retail can work for literally every industry. From groceries to high-end fashion, it’s possible. We’re already starting to see the options. Shoppers in Japanese subways can use the subway walls and their phones to order groceries that will then be delivered to their homes. Sandwich-lovers in New York can use Subway’s mobile app to order their food ahead of time. Lest you worry that only sandwiches can be ordered this way, Chipotle, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and many others are all paving the way here too.
Bottom line? Mobile retail can be done by anyone anywhere — not just people in a clothing store.
— Water Street Design (@WaterStDesign) March 27, 2014
— Fco. Javier Garcia (@JGLupion) February 6, 2012
— Retail Careers (@Retail_Careers) September 29, 2014
Mobile retail is also flexible and easy when done properly. You can order ahead, you can navigate an app in the store. You can even connect your app to that of a retail clerk and check out without ever standing in line.
Make sure your mobile retail system can keep up. We’ve all heard of SkyMall’s demise by now, and it’s a telling one. They had the potential to do a lot (when you’re up in a plane, there are only a limited number of things you can do) but they stuck exclusively with their magazine. That plan didn’t work out so well, which means SkyMall is filing for bankruptcy. And we can no longer buy portraits of our pets as 17th century nobility in-flight.
Lesson to be learned? Keep up. If everyone is trying something new, make sure to check it out. You’re trying to make a mobile store that’ll be outstanding in 2020 — that means keeping up and even leading the curve in the years to come.
If it doesn’t make sense, people won’t use it. This is almost a no-brainer, but it’s worth reiterating. If your mobile retail system isn’t easy to understand, people won’t use it. Tesco could get subway commuters to shop on the subway because their app made sense. Yes, the idea was great, but if the app had been confusing, the number of home grocery deliveries would have been smaller.
The (Kind of) Ugly
Think about it for a second. Do people really want a phone cluttered with apps they only use once a month (or less)? Most of us don’t eat at the same place every day, or shop at the same store every time we’re shopping.
If the mobile retail world is going to work out in everyone’s favor, we’ll need more than dedicated apps for each business. Apple Pay and Google Wallet are heading in that direction, but those options don’t account for the potential personalization of any one visit to any one store. You don’t want the same information when you’re eating at Chipotle and when you’re shopping at Macy’s. It would be nice to have some options in between: daily fresh ingredient updates, the option to see what other sizes that purple golf shirt comes in, a way to find out if an item is in stock at another store. These things aren’t possible if you’re only using Apple Pay.
What We Came Up With
We took all of this into consideration when planning our 2020 mobile retail system. Taking a leaf out of our own book, it looks like a store of the future is an open one. It has options for each customer, and it’s easy and effective to use.
It’s hard to imagine a mobile retail experience that doesn’t make use of an app right now, but if we are using an app, there are a number of possibilities:
- The app opens automatically when you enter a store. You don’t have to worry about finding it, because it’s right there, ready and waiting.
- If one associate doesn’t know where to go, they’ll be able to use their own app to transfer you to another associate.
- The app will keep track of your previous store visits, so if there’s something you liked, you’ll still be able to find it.
- You could connect the app to your social media platforms, to find out what your friends or people you follow like in the same store. You could even find store associates and look up their recommendations.
- The app will keep track of your rewards points and other discounts — no more hunting for a piece of paper, or a long-forgotten email.
- If you see something and love (or hate) it, you’ll be able to review it and share that review with people store-wide. You could even talk to other people in the store and compare notes on what’s working out and what isn’t.
If you’re interested in learning more about BlueFletch’s own mobile POS app, check it out here.