The shopping experience has remained fairly stagnant for the last 50 years. Ever since Walmart Pioneered the super store, traditional retail has struggled to discover any true innovation in regards to format or experience. But when the pace of change is so extreme and consumers are looking for easier, convenient and engaging ways to shop. This is resulting in a shift from even the most traditional retail channels to deliver a variety of tools, services and interfaces to better engage and cater to an increasingly discerning and connected consumer.
There have been a number of interesting campaigns lately that try and tie the shopping experience closer to technology and provide consumers with unique, connected and predictive experiences. From helping people to shop without having to come in-store and at high footfall areas (Tesco Interactive Shopping, Airport), socially connecting the shopping experience (C&A’s Facebook Connected Hangers) or giving consumers inspiration about how they can best use the contents of their shopping cart (Hellmann’s Recipe Receipt).
it seems both brands and retailers alike are starting to sit-up and try and better understand the sort of information and utility that shoppers want from a 21st century grocery and retail experience.
The three latest executions trying to tie technology closer into the traditional shopping experience that we have seen are:
- Hellmmann’s connected shopping cart: A cart that senses where in a supermarket you are and the products in your proximity. Then projects onto an LCD screen attached to the shopping cart, recipes that use that particular grocery item and Hellmann’s mayonnaise. By a consumer adding a particular recipe to their list of favorites, they are then subsequently alerted to where in the supermarket the remaining ingredients are located in the store. Hellmann’s claim that this activity has caused a 68% uplift in sales. On the downside, you would expect that this would be cost prohibitive to roll out on a large scale. Furthermore, I am not sure how a supermarket’s other suppliers would feel about providing one product and brand such a monopoly on in-store exposure.
- E-Mart, Korea, the business behind the Sun Activated QR code, which helped to increase store traffic during the slowest period of day for the supermarket. Have now launched a new innovation that helps consumers connect to their store infrastructure. By plugging your smartphone into a specially built peripheral on your shopping cart. They have a found a way to use the lighting around the store, to allow the specially built system to feedback information on your smartphone about where certain sales are and also helping you to navigate yourself to the appropriate places within a store based on your shopping list. We feel this execution seems a little clunky though. But definitely something that might be useful for busy shoppers in a rush. Alternatively a cross sell opportunity, perhaps alerting someone close to the store to a price discount on a high frequency purchase of theirs. Then once in-store taking them on a specific route through the supermarket, exposing them to other deals and products that they have been inclined to purchase in the past. Increasing frequency, loyalty and basket size per visit. It is also handy that it uses the consumers hardware, rather than having like the former Hellmann’s example, to install expensive systems across your retail footprint: E-Mart Connected Cart
- Target and Facebook have just gotten serious about couponing by creating a proprietary social referral redemption and referral platform called Cartwheel. In a huge push by the social network and retailer to substantiate social investment by attributing that they can encourage consumer interaction and conversion through the social web. In essence what they have done is joined forces to create Cartwheel, Cartwheel allows shoppers to get coupons for “deals” on the retailer’s website, share them with their friends on Facebook, and redeem them in Target stores using their smartphones. The kicker being that once consumers purchase cartwheel deals, the purchased items will be shared to their friends via Facebook. In the instance that more than one item is purchased in a trip, the platform will intelligently aggregate the collective items into a single post. It will be interesting to see whether this pans out for both parties, or alternatively ends up being an annoyance for both consumers and their peers. We think it will actually be the former and really connect people to their social networks via true buying behavior. Click here for an overview of the functionality of Cartwheel from Business Insider Australia