The UK high street has seen sales rise once again, but with the country teetering on the edge of deflation and prices falling for eight consecutive months, retailers must stop competing through aggressive discounting and focus on understanding their customers or risk seeing their profit margins vanish. And key to this is mobile as it gives an unprecedented level of data.
The latest ONS figures revealed sales quantities up by 5.7% year-on-year, with spending up 2.2%. However, prices continued to fall, dropping 3.6% compared to last year, topping last month’s 3.1% fall to stand as the largest decrease since consistent records began in 1997. The plummeting prices come as the UK economy reached zero inflation for the first time in 50 years, sparking fears of widespread deflation.
Dan Wagner, veteran eCommerce expert and CEO and Founder of Powa Technologies says: “Successful retail strategy is built around understanding your customers and meeting their needs, but the sector continues to be dominated by a focus on outdoing rivals on cutting prices. Retailers are still struggling to move beyond this and actually understand their customers on an individual level, and this can only be delivered by capturing and understanding data. Online retailers have an advantage in gaining customer data through sales forms, but the bricks-and-mortar stores continue to struggle, relying on limited data captured through loyalty cards.
“Almost every customer on the high street today will have their smartphone close at hand, providing an incredible opportunity to actively connect with them. Retailers that provide opportunities for mobile engagement in-store will both recapture the attention of digital consumers and gain a valuable insight into their habits for the first time.”
Powa Technologies’ PowaTag gives shoppers the power to complete transactions in seconds anytime and anywhere, utilising triggers including scanning print material, Bluetooth beacons, audio tags and social media.
Creating more sales opportunities is just the first step however, and PowaTag also provides retailers with a wealth of in-depth customer information with every transaction, including age, gender and location of purchase, providing real-time geo-located insight into consumer behaviour.
Captured data automatically updates a dashboard, allowing retailers to capture data about consumers the instant a product is purchased. This data can be used to create detailed customer profiles, enabling timely cross selling and upselling opportunities or location based promotions and rewards on an individual basis.
Alongside this, PowaTag’s unique ability to enable transactions on any form of media means that retailers and brands have access to unprecedented insight into acquisition and conversion rates, with visibility of exactly how many sales result in each specific marketing campaign.
Dan continues: “Retailers can no longer afford to be blind to who their existing customers are and their individual needs, either on their shop floor or online. PowaTag will enable them to gain the data they need to both engage on an individual basis and power their wider strategy.
At present, retailers have significant blind spots about the effectiveness of their multi-million pound marketing campaigns, with no real data on the number of sales generated by a specific billboard or newspaper advertisement or which segment of the market it appealed to the most. Brands lacking the ability to identify and engage on this level will struggle to compete and are in danger of falling by the wayside along with many of their competitors.”