The surge of smartphone owners in the US makes it seem inevitable that conventional checkout processes will yield to new payment methods and learning opportunities for large swaths of American shoppers. Could this be an innovative opportunity for retail dietitians to have an opportunity to educate and increase basket size.
Here’s some background: Some 65% of TV-owning households in the US have at least one smartphone in 2014, up from 44% in 2011, reports Nielsen. With tablets also in 29% of U.S. homes, up from 5% in 2011, retailers feel mounting pressure to develop mobile strategies to enable consumers to easily research, shop and pay for purchases.
The race is on to provide mobile payments – forecast by Juniper Research to reach $110 billion globally in 2017. Forrester says the US figure could reach $90 billion in 2017 – that’s a 48% compound annual growth rate over the $12.8 billion of 2012.
Imagine the next personalization step for food stores to connect to customers. How about enabling mobile-paying customers to see an in-store dietitian’s picture, prepared food recommendations, center store healthy picks, seasonal produce suggestions, recipes based on scanned items, and more on their screen?
Keep in mind that most retailers are not yet able to accept mobile payments, but they would gain in several key ways: First, they may sidestep much of today’s 2% swipe fees for credit-card transactions. Second, they could increase personalization (dietitians could play a huge role here) and derive other relationship benefits from mobile-toting shoppers. Third, they’ll appeal more to the nation’s fast-growing numbers of smartphone owners, many of whom will eventually trust processes enough to pay by mobile.
According to Nielsen, 2014 marks the first time “a majority of US mobile subscribers of all age groups own smartphones. In fact, 51% of mobile owners over the age of 55 now own smartphones, up 10% from Q1 2013, driving the growth in smartphone penetration to 70% of Americans overall.” And we know health doesn’t discriminate, every age group could use healthy suggestions. In fact demographic data could help target wellness messaging.
The technology is in the works and the two-year-old Merchant Customer Exchange (MCE) is developing a mobile commerce platform to compete with others such as Google. Among MCE’s participating merchants: Walmart, Sam’s Club, Meijer, Publix, 7-Eleven, Hy-Vee, Price-Rite, ShopRite and Target.
Staying abreast to the advancements in technology and knowing what the future could look like in your store will help you better prepare for what’s next.