VMSD - June 2013 - (Page 16)

NS NEX T STORE By Jim Crawford Tech Overload Casting a gimlet eye on contactless payment, video walls and big data IN MY LAST COLUMN, I offered a candid look at the technology landscape of 2013, identified the key trends retailers need to pay attention to and promised to provide a similarly frank look at what retailers can safely ignore this year. Surprisingly, this list was a bit harder to put together. There were some obvious sources of overhype, but in other cases the hype was almost too persuasive. Still, if you peel away the rhetoric, you’ll see that what’s being pushed on retailers is really an aged pig with several new layers of lipstick on it. 1. Tap and pay Despite the hype, contactless payment has been around in retail for some time. Mobil debuted Speed Pass in 1994, and Stop & Shop and McDonald’s hopped on the bandwagon briefly in 2004 before abandoning their pilots. More recently, mobile phone manufacturers and Google have been lauding contactless payment via phone as the next great thing for shoppers. The problem is the benefits for shoppers just aren’t there. Let’s put this in perspective: Google touted hitting the milestone of 150,000 users for its Google Wallet tap and pay solution. That’s less than one-tenth of one percent of shoppers in the U.S. Hardly massive adoption. 16 JUNE 2013 | vmsd.com 2. There’s an app for that The proliferation of mobile apps continues in 2013 as retailers scramble for more and more slots on shoppers’ home screens. Of course, this has been aided and abetted by the tech industry, which is actively telling retailers that apps are the way to go. Recently, I’ve been deluged with ads for services that convert a company’s Facebook page into an app, to which I have one simple question: Why? The type of information shoppers would want from a retailer’s app (e.g. store locations, product information, stock availability, shopping tools) is very different from that which they would want from a retailer’s Facebook page (e.g. upcoming events, social engagement, promotions, interactive elements). What Not To Do: Don’t fragment your apps. A quick search for “Sears” on Apple’s app store yields 11 apps that all appear to be authentic apps from Sears. Which do I need to download to my phone: Sears2go, Shop Your Way, Sears Marketplace, Sears Outlet? (It’s even worse on Google’s Play app store, where looser publishing restrictions mean many unofficial apps have the same icons as the official Sears apps). Simply put, more apps don’t necessarily mean a better mobile strategy. Focus on quality over quantity, and make sure the mobile features you deploy are focused on helping your shoppers shop with their phones, something far too few retailers do. 3. Digital video walls If 2013 marked the “return of retail math,” retailers lusting after those beautiful HD video walls gracing flagship stores along Times Square and in Tokyo’s KA REN BOY HE N, CI NCI N NAT I What Not To Do: Don’t focus on payment – for now. If contactless payment takes off in the U.S., there will be ample warning for retailers, but right now, it does little except add to p-o-s replacement hardware costs. A few retailers will be able to take advantage of “tap and ID” capabilities, where shoppers who do use near field communication can unlock a personalized experience throughout the shopping process, but this is likely not a 2013 project for most retailers. http://www.vmsd.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - June 2013

VMSD - June 2013
Table of Contents
From the Editor
VMSD Editorial Advisory Board
The Goods
Next Store
Great Minds Think Alike
Urban Oasis
The Doctor Is In
Natural Highlights
Best Supporting Performance
Showroom
Ad Index
Checking Out

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