By Jon Worley, Director of Customer Interaction at The Logic Group
2012 has been a tough year for the high street, with retailers struggling to drive sales and many high street stores shutting their doors permanently. By contrast, the online high street saw resilient growth. In fact, the latest figures of the annual IMRG e-Retail Sales Index have revealed that online sales in November are up 18 per cent from last year as the festive rush has encouraged consumers to reach into their digital pockets. So 2012 was a year of “Bricks vs. Clicks” but what will drive retail in 2013?
Here are some thought starters or perhaps predictions for 2013 by The Logic Group:
The choice of payment methods that retailers can offer to consumers seems to be constantly evolving and it’s often ‘make or break’ in a purchase decision. As devices and network speeds improve and more brands take on a mobile-first approach, m-commerce will continue to accelerate and build momentum in 2013.
Alongside the growth of mobile transactions, NFC and contactless payment methods could dramatically change how people pay for products. Services like PayPal and Apple’s iTunes have already begun to centralise payments on mobile, but the next step will be services such as iZettle and Square that offer sellers the ability to receive card payments with their existing smartphone and a simple plug-in device. Being able to accept payments either online or in-store will be invaluable for merchants of all sizes in the coming years.
The digital or mobile wallet will offer more than just another payment option. Focusing on the mobile wallet from a pure payments perspective massively undervalues the impact mobiles can have. It could be said that tapping a phone is as useful as tapping a card, and as such, there’s no real benefit to the customer. Thus, in 2013 payments will finally merge with loyalty and rewards. These three separate businesses will converge to make it easy for consumers and merchants to automatically leverage appropriate coupons and offers.
Loyalty schemes and purchasing habits are two sides of the same coin when looked at from a data perspective. If approached correctly, this data can be incredibly valuable for brands in 2013, not just to build relationships with consumers but to drive sales.
Loyalty schemes such as Tesco Clubcard, Nectar and Superdrug Beautycard are heading towards the point where they can connect up their huge data repositories with smartphones, in-store WiFi, geo-location data, mobile coupons and purchase technology.
This kind of inter-connected data, and the pre-requisite opt-in from consumers, brands can target shoppers with personalised offers based on their own purchase behaviour. 2013 will see this sort of data turn consumers into fans and to drive sales.
Multichannel – in reverse
Online only retailers such as Asos, Amazon and eBay are still very much the darlings of the e-retail world, and have in the past cast doubts on the future of the high street. Most high street retailers would do anything for the kind of growth reported by the likes of Asos, but the shift to multichannel by the high street means that online only retailers are now missing a key element, a high street presence.
2013 will see multichannel in reverse where online only retailers will bring pop up shops and digital windows to the high street that will use tools such as augmented reality, QR codes and mobile apps to bring in customers. eBay has already put this into practice by testing out pop up shops earlier this year.
On the whole, 2012 has been a tough year for the world of retail. In 2013, we will see some significant disruptions in the retail sector, and here at The Logic Group we are looking forward to playing an integral role by solving real problems for merchants, retailers, marketers and consumers.
About the author
Jon Worley is Director of Customer Interaction at The Logic Group and is responsible for leading the Customer Loyalty Management consulting practice. Jon has over 20 years experience managing complex technology and business change projects, and has provided consultancy to over 25 customer loyalty programmes in the UK and Europe. Jon’s experience has been gained in multiple sectors including retail, financial services, and hospitality & leisure. His previous roles include senior project management positions both in the UK and the US. This broad business experience coupled with in-depth knowledge of customer loyalty solutions and strategy enables Jon to ensure that our client’s projects are successful in engaging their customers and achieving the desired business outcome.
About The Logic Group (www.the-logic-group.com)
The Logic Group partners with leading organisations across Europe to enhance the effectiveness, security and profitability of their customer interactions. The Company specialises in the secure management of information and transactions through the delivery of trusted payment and loyalty solutions that enable increased revenue, improved profit, and reduced operating costs and risk.
We combine our skills, experience and innovation into client solutions that drive improved customer experience, enhanced customer insight and stronger customer relationships. We believe that we have an unmatched passion and track record for building effective customer interaction. That is why the Company is behind many of the best known names in Europe for whom maximising the value of their customer interaction matters most.