With Christmas round the corner, some retail advertisers are raising fears about the effects the rise in ad-blocking could have on their digital operations. But where the focus was once solely on desk and laptop computing, experts are now asking what steps need to be taken to prevent mobile consumption suffering the same fate.
Earlier this month, my colleague Matt looked at the public appetite – or lack of it – for viewing ads online and suggested some of the creative ways publishers are attempting to combat that antipathy.
The coming of the New Year brings with it an annual rush of predictions on the trends and technologies that will dominate the next twelve months for those businesses keen to use digital channels to expand and improve the way the talk to – and do business with – their customers.
In the latest of these predictions, Tech Radar said last month the key trend for retail technology in the next 12-months would be the rise of ‘hyper-personalisation’. Instead of looking at portfolios of individuals, customer management would instead be looking at customer persona as a way to drive innovation and keep shoppers engaged.
“Only by serving the changing needs, preferences and behaviour of the customer,” it said, ‘will retailers and brands be able to meet today’s hyper-connected consumers on their terms, across all channels of interaction.”
Tesco Labs, the supermarket’s digital innovation wing, is running a 48-hour ‘hackathon’ next month to spur the development of health-themed technologies for its customers.
The supermarket has made an open invitation to computer coders, designers, and those working in tech marketing and business development to attend the weekend event in London, starting on September 12.
The aim of the hackathon is to develop retail media ideas that can help Tesco’s customers make healthier food choices in store and online.
In addition, Tesco is keen to explore how it can share data to help customers understand their own behaviour, compare their food choices with others, share tips and advice, and track and find out more about what they’re buying and eating.
What does Tesco do?
It’s just a supermarket, right?
According to Angela Maurer, it’s Head of Innovation, Tesco is also a technology company set on developing the future of retail – and that includes experimenting with grocery shopping via a Google Glass concept app.
Remember the days when making a purchase meant having to drive to the shop and buying whichever version it stocked of the item you wanted? It almost seems like another age.
Now, with Amazon and others, we research, review, compare deals and shop for alternatives at the touch of a button. Control has swung to the consumer like never before, and in the next 12 months that trend is set to increase as brands invest in technology to enable even greater levels of personalisation.
Late last year, Marketing Week predicted the rise of ‘Me-tail’ would be the biggest marketing trend in 2014.
Put simply, the ‘Me-tail’ concept will see brands move from one-size-fits-all messaging to a position where they can feed specific campaigns and offers to consumers in the hope that they can build relationships that are increasingly relevant to the needs of individual customers.
It is too easy to say that a lack of a coherent digital startegy is what killed HMV, Comet and Jessops. Too easy, but at least partly true. As this article by Philip Beeching on Guardian.co.uk shows, the senior management at HMV refused to understand the inevitable, even when it was presented to them in 2002. He claims that, at an advertising pitch he made:
The relevant chart went up and I said: “The three greatest threats to HMV are, online retailers, downloadable music and supermarkets discounting loss leader product.”
Suddenly I realised the MD had stopped the meeting and was visibly angry. “I have never heard such rubbish”, he said, “I accept that supermarkets are a thorn in our side but not for the serious music, games or film buyer and as for the other two, I don’t ever see them being a real threat, downloadable music is just a fad and people will always want the atmosphere and experience of a music store rather than online shopping.”
As the number of empty shops on UK High Streets increases, retailers are resorting to more innovative ways to attract time-pushed shoppers, or those looking for more unique shopping experiences. The adoption of new technologies such as augmented reality and virtual changing rooms in-store is on the rise.
At this month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, technology company Bodymetrics showcased the latest version of their body mapping technology, which creates a 3D model of a shopper’s body that mirrors their every move, allowing them to virtually ‘try on’ outfits. The camera’s sensors can detect tightly or loosely fitting garments to help find the right size. Spanish company AITech.es have developed a similar technology that also has a system capable of determining the availability of certain items in real time and can promote related clothes according to the historical choices of the user.
At the moment, I think the true value of augmented reality technologies such as Bodymetrics lies in reducing return rates on clothing that doesn’t fit. If you run out of time to join the queue for the changing room to see if that much-coveted LBD that you absolutely need for tonight actually fits, simply try it on virtually and you could skip the queue. However, pair this with the ability to then tweet images of yourself wearing the dress to your friends to get their thoughts (Nadap’s Tweet Mirror for example) and the retailers could really be onto something…
Clothing company Zappar takes augmented reality clothing to a whole new level. This year, the company created interactive t-shirts that work with a free app – customers download the app and then view the t-shirts through their device screen. The t-shirt then ‘comes alive’ as the customer touches part of the t-shirt on the screen (see video). What’s really clever about the Zappar t-shirt is that it merges shopping and games in a move to generate interest and push sales. The t-shirts went on sale in the autumn in Macy’s and JCPenney stores in the U.S.
U.S. retailer Moosejaw created an X-Ray App last year that uses