Magazine Article | February 14, 2012

Mobility In Retail: A Glimpse Into The Future

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

March 2012 Integrated Solutions For Retailers

By Matt Pillar, Editor In Chief

I have no idea where my first-grader learned about QR codes.

In the musical intro for Disney’s new television show “Austin & Ally,” Austin’s pal Dez (played by Calum Worthy) dances around in a bright yellow shirt with a huge QR code emblazoned across his chest. A few days ago, my son asked me what it meant. I thought for a minute about how to explain the concept and functionality of a QR code to a seven-year-old, but before I could orchestrate my response, he asked me to take a picture of it with my phone to find out what the code meant.

If I questioned for even a second the transformative impact mobile devices are having not just in retail, but on our entire culture, I don’t anymore.

The deep integration of mobile technologies in our daily lives is setting the standard for the technologies we use in our professional lives. This is a departure from the historical norm — when those technologies we were introduced to at the office eventually found their way into our homes — and it has profound implications on the previously accepted rate at which the retail industry adopts technology. Consumers are setting the pace now, and it’s a bit more brisk than what we’re used to.

Interestingly, the new consumer, though empowered by a mobile connection to petabytes of data, doesn’t necessarily want to use that power. Just as I would rather spend a little more money for the meal and a tip in a restaurant where a waiter serves me than serve myself at a Golden Corral, consumers seeking an experience with your brand expect you to wield the power. That means your access to information, from the far reaches of your supply chain to the front of your stores, must match or exceed theirs, and it must support a consistent brand interaction at every touch point.

That’s the theme of this month’s issue of Integrated Solutions For Retailers, beginning with our feature story that starts on page 8. We’re taking a close look at how mobile technologies are enabling retailers to migrate from a channelcentric approach to a consumer-centric one, and why that’s so important. From there, you’ll find articles offering advice and insight on mobile device decisions, the impact of mobile consumer activity on sourcing operations, how to leverage mobile technology to get to know your consumer, and much more.

We hope you enjoy the issue, and if you can provide any insight into that QR code on Dez’ shirt, shoot me a note. My kids would surely appreciate it.