Perhaps the biggest consumer blockbuster of the past year has been voice-controlled smart speakers, which allow owners to summon streaming audio, check the weather and request other information, control additional smart home gadgets and, increasingly, transact with third parties and retailers. Recent surveys suggest one or more of the various competing speaker models are owned by nearly a third of U.S. homes, making the category one of the most rapidly adopted consumer electronics ever. And, crucially for retailers, more than half of consumers who own a smart speaker say they already use voice for shopping. To put it mildly, that’s huge.
For the 2018 Holiday shopping season, mobile transactions (smartphone and tablets) accounted for about 40 percent of all e-commerce revenue — more than $30 billion.1
Mobile is the portal to omnichannel.
Customers forget their wallets, but go everywhere with their phones. During the 2018 holiday season, 66 percent of shoppers relied on their phone for purchases, and among 18- to 24-year-olds, 88 percent did.2 This growth will continue.
Shoppers flock to mobile in large part due to oﬀers. A recent study says 67 percent of shoppers have downloaded at least one retail app and about half did so to access coupons and make purchases.3
Utilize predictive analysis to create compelling oﬀers.
Mikhailov notes that AI now lets companies create infinite opportunities for personalization, honed precisely to each customer, rather than wide segments. “AI enables you to be much more predictive. Post facto data analysis is reactive and you can only be so reactive as a business — it’s not scalable,” she says.
A recent study found that 57 percent of respondents were comfortable receiving geolocated notifications in their connected cars from nearby stores.4
Reach customers wherever they are.
Mobile devices are now a proxy for consumers' wants and actions in the real-world. The promise of relevant, proximity driven engagement will be driven by our devices and smart real-time actionable data. When executed correctly — that means creating value for the customer — retailers will increase sales while earning shopper praise and trust. “There is a sweet spot between retailers and consumers where both are realizing a benefit,” Mikhailov says. For example, letting a customer know that a product in their wish list or cart is actually in-stock as they pass a store. Or perhaps that their shopping loyalty has unlocked an in-store experience or offer.
4. Source: Synchrony AskSuzy Survey, 2018
A recent study found 91 percent of consumers say they’re more likely to choose brands that provide personalized offers and recommendations.5
Make every customer a BFF.
AI allows highly granular, personalized relationships between a brand and a customer, but at scale, to infinite numbers of customers. “With the future, it's almost like going back in time, to that one-to-one level between a small shop owner and a local customer,” Mikhailov says.
While 75 percent of large U.S. retailers have implemented or accept mobile wallet technology, only about half of smaller retailers have.6
Embrace mobile pay and mobile wallets.
With the number of viable and proven options available, there’s no reason SMBs can’t adopt mobile pay and mobile wallets. Notably, 60 percent of shoppers surveyed think they’ll use only a phone to transact by 2025.6
A 2018 Synchrony survey found that 53 percent of respondents had card servicing features in a retailer app they used — and 77 percent of them rated that feature extremely valuable.7
Extend less-risky credit, faster.
Businesses don’t need data scientists to assess creditworthiness in real time, as AI tools are available as a service now. Importantly, customers expect the flexibility AI can provide, and will be loyal to businesses that make it easy for them to purchase.
Like most anything, mobile can be vulnerable to fraud. In 2018, every dollar of fraud cost merchants nearly $3.8
Turbocharge fraud detection.
Machine learning tools are helping bolster retailers’ defenses, reducing both fraud and false positives, which sap revenue. Services that oﬀer real-time analysis of both public and proprietary data — from purchase history to social media posts — and emerging tech like biometrics will be powerful tools to fight back.
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Smart speaker adoption has more than doubled since 2017.9 Today, about 20 percent of all U.S. consumers say they own at least one voice-controlled speaker.9
Hear your customers’ voices.
“Businesses are increasingly going to move to biometrics, including face, voice and even gait. It’s not going to be about remembering an arbitrary password on a device anymore,” says Mikhailov. “People are moving toward just authenticating as themselves.” Make your business available to voice-based transactions — and prepare for emerging AI-powered human-computer interactions, where the computers recognize customers’ voices.
IN 2019 we’ll see further evolution in the relationship between retailers and their customers, largely thanks to mobile powered by AI. And as the technology develops, more retailers will have access to these powerful tools and the ability to improve the customer experience.
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