Mobile and omni-channel to remain key priorities for retail and hospitality

Using digital technology to enhance the customer experience will be top of the agenda for retail and hospitality companies next year, predicts Nikki Baird, managing partner at RSR Research

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 24 December 2015
Mobile and omni-channel to remain key priorities for retail and hospitality

What key retail and hospitality trends do you think will emerge in 2016?
Although mobile isn’t really an emerging trend, I expect that it will go big in both the retail and hospitality sectors in 2016. Retailers will use mobile to drive consumers into stores, enhance the shopping experience and to provide value-added services such as loyalty schemes and order management. Hospitality companies will focus on developing mobile loyalty initiatives and improving online ordering for pick-up in stores.

What will be the top three priorities for retail and hospitality businesses over the next 12 months?
Although the industry is tired of hearing it, developing an omni-channel customer experience is still the main focus for many organisations. For retailers, it will be all about making sure that every last scrap of inventory is available for sale to anyone who wants to buy it, whether this is in a store, or online. That has some big implications for how supply chains are organised. Traditionally, retailers have focused on simply getting inventory to stores, but now it’s all about pulling inventory from physical stores to meet customer demand in other places, such as online or physical stores in different locations. Meanwhile, hospitality organisations will be focused on finding a way to make mobile payments faster and easier.

Both sectors will also explore how they can provide more contextual information to customers using geofencing, beacons and other interactive mobile technologies.

What new technologies do you think will have the most impact over the next year and why?
While it’s still too early for beacons and some of the more interactive mobile technologies, retailers and hospitality organisations will develop richer mobile experiences to enhance the shopping journey, rather than replace it.

Companies will also adopt more of a ‘lifestyle’ approach to communicating with consumers in an effort to drive sales. They won’t necessarily succeed in integrating commerce and content in 2016 – we’ll see some epic fails – but we’ll certainly see relevant communication from companies that is more on-brand and less sales-focused.

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