I admit it. I’m not a great shopper and, frankly, I panic a little when a special occasion comes up for someone in my family. I want to find the perfect gift but I seem to have less and less time to devote to this important undertaking. Where do I start? What will make the celebration special? How do I make the most of a really tight shopping window?
Luckily, I can turn to technology for a much needed assist. Like many shoppers these days, I use my mobile device to get a comprehensive view of what’s available at my favorite stores. In fact, I was one of the millions of holiday shoppers that used a smartphone as a digital concierge to help find the best deals, even when I was standing in the store.
Our ability to use smartphones and tablets in cool, new ways is the primary reason we saw mobile traffic grow by 40 percent over last year’s peak holiday rush. As more consumers go mobile to enhance and extend the in-store shopping experience, we’re excited to showcase a new retail technology at this year’s National Retail Federation convention.
Developed in our research labs, IBM Presence Zones use an intelligent location-based technology to engage shoppers with personalized offers and promotions as they move through a physical store. Just as my smartphone can get me out of a traffic jam in an unfamiliar city, it can now help me discover a one-day jewelry sale, or snap up the last next gen gaming console from a sister store 20 miles away.
Say I’m about to walk out of my favorite retailer empty handed because I found a better deal online. Assuming I’ve already opted to participate in the service – a mandatory first step that protects my privacy – IBM Presence Zones use smart sensors that understand where I am in the store and the types of items I’ve been browsing based on my physical location. It also knows that I’m a platinum loyalty member and offers me a 20 percent discount on the spot, delivered directly to my smartphone, beating the competitor’s deal.
In this scenario, IBM Presence Zones accomplished a few important goals during my shopping expedition. First and most importantly, it gave me the option to participate. Had I declined, no personal information would have been exchanged and I would have left the store to continue my search elsewhere. Second, it rewarded my brand loyalty and participation in the service with an outstanding shopping experience, along with point-in-time savings.
Finally, it gave the retailer a better understanding of in-store traffic patterns and which item I had likely comparison shopped so it could extend a personalized offer. This same information can help the retailer direct sales associates for better in-person service, adjust floor layouts based on time spent browsing, and position new physical promotions in the most compelling areas of the store.
As mobile devices become our new shopping companion of choice, emerging technologies like IBM Presence Zones are helping enhance the in-store experience for customers and retailers. It’s also helping millions of panicked husbands and fathers find just the right gift for that special occasion.
Interested? Check out our new demo video now available on IBM’s Smarter Commerce channel.