[Video Interview] Why a Seismic Change in Consumer Behavior is Linked to Loyalty Technology

Jul 15, 2013

In 2007, Apple released a mobile device that put the power of the Internet in consumers’ hands and pockets. It sparked a revolutionary change not only in how customers consume media and information in general, but also how they make purchasing decisions.

The smartphone craze that began with the first iPhone has driven many older devices that lack today’s large touch screens and powerful processors into virtual obsolescence.

And, according to Don Hughes, Kobie’s Chief Information Officer, while it’s clear eventual wider release of wearable “smart” technology like Google Glass and Apple’s rumored iWatch are a natural “evolution” of the “smartphone revolution,” there’s several variables that will affect how this fits into the overall loyalty landscape.

So how are game-changing technologies like smartphones and Google Glass affecting consumer behavior?

Don recently spoke with Roger Williams of LoadFactor about the “real-time data stream” most consumers are now constantly plugged into and how access to that information – e.g., product reviews, pricing and competing products – is changing the retail customer experience.

Some of the key points Don makes include:

  • The way that wearable technologies like Google Glass fit into the retail loyalty ecosystem depends on whether consumers adopt them in large enough numbers, which in turn rests on how well those devices balance form and function – their use must be physically effortless as well as intuitive.
  • The choice to shop either in-store or online has allowed consumers to examine products at a brick-and-mortar location while comparing prices on their smartphones, which is often followed by a lower-price online purchase. This “showrooming” trend is hurting sales for volume-dependent retailers such as Best Buy and Radio Shack because consumers are willing to forgo the instant gratification of an in-store purchase to pay less online.
  • Apple is an excellent model of how to combat showrooming: it has standardized all prices across product lines and outlets – they cost the same on or offline. It’s also turned its retail stores into “adult playgrounds” where shoppers are powerfully engaged by being able to really “experience” products. And that engagement helps keep them coming back.

You can watch the entire video with Don here. What are your views on tech-driven loyalty? Share your thoughts with the Kobie community in the comments section below.