RL: How are grocers able to create a personalized experience for consumers through mobile devices?
Raman: The answer to this is twofold. There are all of the options stated above; ads and coupons arranged according to relevance, updates on favorite items, personalized product suggestions, etc. The other side of this is the data made available through user engagement. When users interact with the retailer’s app and identify themselves through a loyalty program, the retailer can then begin to collect data on price sensitivity, average basket size, product preferences, brand loyalty, etc. Additionally, when retailers offer greater personalization in exchange for user-supplied information like dietary restrictions, health goals, age, etc., the retailer can continue to tweak and adjust their personalization efforts on a one-to-one basis. It’s like a snowball, the better the app, the more the user uses it. The more the user uses the app, the better the data. The better the data, the better the app is for the user, and so on and so on.
RL: Do you think these current economic headwinds have consumers using mobile devices more in store? If so, why?
Raman: Economic headwinds absolutely have a part to play in the increase in mobile usage. Consumers are challenged with stretching their income to meet their needs among rising grocery costs. Mobile devices have forever changed the game when it comes to price comparing and bargain hunting. Who hasn’t found an item in-store only to Google to see if they can find it for less elsewhere or head straight to Amazon?
The economy has also left shoppers with less time. Working longer hours, both parents working and limited affordable childcare options all create a greater need for quick, efficient and seamless shopping experiences. Mobile apps are key to making this happen through product locations, mobile checkout or push notifications on nearby items on sale.
RL: How are mobile devices currently using artificial intelligence (A)I-enable technology to help with in-store experience? How do you expect AI-enable tech on mobile devices to continue to evolve?
Raman: AI-enabled technology on mobile devices is currently improving the in-store experience through personalized recommendations, virtual assistants, visual search and augmented reality. In the future, we can expect even more advanced personalization, smarter visual search, improved AR experiences and enhanced customer service through AI-powered chatbots.
RL: Where do you expect the use of mobile devices in the retail experience to evolve the most?
Raman: In the retail experience, I expect the use of mobile devices to evolve the most in the following areas:
- Mobile payments — Mobile devices will continue to play a significant role in transforming the payment process.
- Omnichannel integration — Mobile devices will further bridge the gap between online and offline retail channels. Retailers will increasingly focus on creating seamless omnichannel experiences, where customers can browse, purchase, and receive support through their mobile devices regardless of whether they are in-store or online.
- Location-based services — Mobile devices will increasingly leverage location-based technologies to provide in-store navigation and send targeted promotions and personalized offers to customers when they are near or inside a store.
- Enhanced customer service — Mobile devices will continue to play a crucial role in delivering personalized and responsive customer service. AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants will become more advanced in understanding customer needs, providing real-time assistance and resolving issues.