Checking In Before Checking Out – Innovation

by Dean DeBiase

Checking In Before Checking Out - InnovationFor those who like to forecast the future, the undeniable reality is that the future – or at least the elements that will form it – is here now.  The trick is in identifying those elements and understanding how they will shape innovation ahead.

If crystal ball gazing into the future of retail pricing and merchandising strategy is your thing, here’s a couple of “elements” that you may want to consider.

According to research conducted by JiWire, 3 out of 4 consumers are likely to be motivated to action by a location specific ad, while 1 in 5 use mobile devices to search for coupons in-store. Additionally, the leading mobile activity in the retail environment is comparison price shopping.

Considering that the number of mobile devices expected to exist in 2012 will outstrip the world’s population, these are not insignificant developments for retailers. Assuming that these trends hold true, they suggest a very interesting future for brick and mortar outlets.

First off, consider the significant effect on price these activities could have as retailers sensitive to consumers checking on competitor offerings at point of purchase scramble to undercut them.  It’s a scenario that certainly favors discounters. Also, consumers could become very accustomed to receiving in-store ads and coupons and not buy unless they are being offered.

These trends also open the door to some potentially exciting innovations.

For example, as plugged in patrons are making themselves very easy to reach and engage with in-store, they are training themselves to interact with messages at point of sale. Retailers, then, will have an effective and reliable platform for dialogue. Also, opportunities to delight the customer could grow significantly.  Retailers could use location based ad technology to provide special notifications of events and also offer unique mobile device/in-store connected activities to transform what the shopping experience is all about.

As we have seen with digital cameras, gaming systems, laptops and so many other categories, mobile devices are completely changing how we conduct our lives – and now they are transforming the retail experience and how retailers do business.  To envision a future filled with success, retailers need to recognize these elements and innovate now to ensure that customers will continue to check in and check out their stores– and not just check them off.


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Dean DeBiaseA serial CEO and innovation speaker, Dean DeBiase is the Chairman and CEO of, co-founder of and Innovation Excellence, and a co-author of The Big Moo.

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