As smartphone technology is increasing, growing evidence suggests retailers need to become mobile friendly to engage customers.
According to a recent Deloitte study, the influence of mobile on in-store sales has increased by more than 45 per cent over the past year. The research shows that people using mobile devices are more likely to purchase, and that the value of a transaction can also increase.
TapMe, a brand developed and owned in partnership with shopper activation agency Energi, will work with businesses to take advantage of this by engaging customers via their smartphones.
Customers will be able to tap or scan TapMe tags in stores for instant information about a product or deals without the need to access an app or a website - in other words, reverse showrooming.
The tags work using near field communication (NFC) chips, which is the same technology used with mobile wallets Semble and Apple Pay.
The information broadcast can be changed in real time by retailers, allowing them to test out differs offers with customers and hone in on what works well.
“As smartphones continue to lead in terms of mobile device penetration in New Zealand, businesses are looking for ways to engage existing customers and extend their reach without having to encourage the download of an app or push people to a website,” says Energi CEO Ben Hickey.
"I believe kiwis will also be quick to embrace the TapMe. If you think about how many apps you have on your smartphone, how many do you actually use? And when you get handed a card with a link to a website, do you actually ever visit that site or does the card just hang out in the bottom of your bag before it eventually makes its way to the bin?"
The technology is controlled by the consumer who ‘pulls’ the information they want rather than the business or retailers pushing information, some of which may be unwanted, not relevant or simply ignored.
Nick Harrow, managing director of TapMe and technology campaign manager at Energi, says it won’t take consumers long to get used to the benefits of a tap.
“It may be that they visit their local coffee shop and can tap for instant access to special deals, promotions and loyalty schemes. Or it may be that a ‘tap’ takes you directly to information about a product you are purchasing.”
He says it's a quick route to big data, which in turn means better customer insights for companies.
The technology is currently being piloted with several companies and will be rolled out further in 2016. Like Semble, TapMe is also keen to launch into loyalty offers later down the track.
TapMe isn’t the only one adjusting to consumers' growing reliance on smartphone technology.
Earlier this year, Facebook announced revamped its business page capabilities to beome more mobile friendly. This followed Google research into New Zealand shoppers that found over a third of smartphone users use their smartphone to find product information just as much as they would a computer.
In a post about the update, Facebook said, “the new features for pages reflect our belief that no matter if you’re a plumbing company, a flower shop, a non-profit or a brand, your page should house the information people are looking for, help you communicate with your customers and support your unique goals”.
Other retail technology innovations:
- Virtual changing rooms are allowing shoppers to try on clothes without actually putting them on.
- 24/7 store fronts are turning window shoppers into buyers, allowing them to shop online at any time.
- The Semble mobile wallet lets shoppers pay for items through their android phone, eliminating the need for physical credit or debit cards.