Mobile Check-In shows a path for established retail businesses to transition into unified commerce, a business model that blends e-commerce with physical stores, tearing down the silos. It is seen by many as the necessary evolution for continued growth for retail businesses.
A mobile check-in to a venue or area is the detection and identification of a smartphone user. Signals are exchanged between locating devices, a smartphone app and cloud services, which in turn sets up a local and personal communication channel with the user.
The check-in capability is predicated on the existence of an app, however, users access on average only nine apps a day. Since a retailer’s app may never be used, is it worth the trouble?
Well, the trend is clear: mobile apps are becoming the predominant channel for e-commerce, as was seen in the USA, when in Q4-2017 - for the first time - mobile apps substantially surpassed all other online platforms.
One way to increase the use of an app and bring a return on the app investment is to make it available and convenient the moment a customer enters a physical store, extending its scope to local offers, advice and assistance.
Despite an industry slowdown worldwide, still today, nine out of ten dollars are spent in-store. Most significantly, digital interactions influence 56 cents of every dollar spent in physical outlets.
The opportunity to bring more customers online is enticing for traditional retailer, however, customers are now more demanding. Retailers have to be more exciting, offer more rewards, simplify the checkout process and boost customer service.
Moreover, integrating an online business with a brick-and-mortar one is a massive undertaking. And yet, a recent survey of 205 USA retailers between 2017 and 2018 showed as follows:
The full integration of retail, wholesale and distribution creates unified commerce, the main elements of a which, as seen by the customer, are:
Mobile check-in can serve as a pathway to unified commerce, and can be carried out in four main ways:
Indoor positioning technology in retail stores are reference point systems with media from WiFi to radio waves to smartphone sensors, and some combining multiples thereof.
To find the right system, there are three main levels of mobile check-in to consider, from simple and basic to complex and sophisticated:
As an example, Parousya’s Automatic Check-In System (ACIS), a single-technology reference point system, detects and records foot-traffic, user’s entries and exits of signal regions. Mesh networks are ideally suited for application such as tracking by area.
The retailer’s app is becoming the primary medium for communication and commerce, by extending its online scope to include location-aware assistance the moment a customer enters a store. Further, respecting users’ privacy selections and not monetizing their data will be necessary to foster a climate of trust with the brand.
Mobile check-in technology is the fundamental first step to achieving the unified commerce vision that brings a physical store effectively online. This vision promises to offer customers an always available but never intrusive service with valuable shopping suggestions. It can make finding, trying and buying a simple, fun and efficient experience.
Several large retailers such as Walmart, Target USA, Nike, Sydney Airport, American Eagle and Amazon Go have already implemented mobile check-in in various ways, and proven its value.
A retail app incorporating the Parousya’s Automatic Check-In System (ACIS) SDK and cloud services is a simple and low cost solution designed to provide this value.
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Parousya was created to provide technology that automatically connects a customer to a business in a physical space in order to unify the online with the offline and open up a world of opportunities