SXSW Interactive 2015 has come and gone, but the retail tech buzz has not subsided. From wearables to IoT to AI to mobile, panels across the city attempted to pinpoint retail’s finest technology today, and where it’s going over the next few years. One panel of mobile beauty, fashion and retail companies highlighted how disruptive mobile technology can impact user experience and the bottom line in the next-generation retail market.
Heidi Zak, Co-founder of bra-sizing app ThirdLove, said that while personalization is a major buzzword in the retail industry, it’s for a reason. Consumers are looking for products and services that meet a need or convenience to their daily routines, and that do so in a way that speaks just clearly enough to their particular preferences. In ThirdLove’s case, they took the arduous and typically tiresome process of getting fitted for a bra and turned it into a convenient and fun activity that women can do in the privacy of their own homes. Mobile technology is so widely used and relied on that retailers need to pinpoint their fresh new role and value proposition in that landscape that will meet the needs of the consumer of the future.
Amy Errett, CEO and Founder of self-service hair coloring app Madison Reed and former venture capitalist, emphasized that “mundane” data does not exist. While transaction and traffic data have obvious insights, all data holds a unique significance. Retailers digging into mobile technology need to tap into and harness the massive amounts of valuable information spilling out of every interaction and touch point between consumer and enterprise, and those that ignore any part of information created along the customer’s path to purchase are fated to fail.
Facebook recently announced that mobile sales accounted for a whopping 69% of its advertising business, and that’s not slated to slow down anytime soon – retailers can expect to see fewer and fewer browser search ads over the next 24 months. Mobile is growing at three times the rate of overall ecommerce, and mobile spending is anticipated to reach $290 billion in 2016. Keeping on that trajectory, mobile will sooner rather than later become the first stop portal for shoppers worldwide. While web shopping won’t disappear completely, retailers need to be prepared to shift resources and tech infrastructure from online to mobile commerce in a big way, and sooner than they may have anticipated.