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Looking Back: "Retailers that Mattered" in 2015 leveraged mobile innovations

I was reading today's RIS (Retail Info Systems News) article entitled "The Five Retailers that Matter" in which they dethroned Amazon, Apple, Macy's, Target and Walmart and replaced them with Best Buy, GameStop, Kroger, Nordstrom, and Walgreen's. I am probably not alone in tipping my hat to RIS for expanding their view of relevancy beyond the usual suspects. Relevant innovation (especially in mobile) and customer-driven insights are at the center of these newly tagged retailers. (It is worth noting that Wall Street may not completely agree with RIS's list, but that is a topic worth saving for another post.)

GameStop's beacon program is one worth a closer look as it effectively combines mobile technology with customer data capture and has been buzzed about for some time now. While on the forefront of using beacon technology at scale, GameStop is not the only retailer leveraging the technology (Macy's, Lord & Taylor, Target are a few using it today in select stores). However, RIS noted that GS's approach genuinely puts the customer in charge of the experience and added customer value in the process. The bluetooth technology and related app lets the customer recieve more info on a product by simply touching their iphone or android to the beacon on the shelf. A bonus benefit is that it allows GS to remove static product information clutter at POS.

One beacon debate is around the delicate balance of shopper marketing being helpful vs annoying vs effective. If the intent is to convert showrooming visitors into paying customers then the retailer has to be transparent with the information provided (especially pricing) and ideally would offer unique information or promotions not otherwise available. But what about pop-ups? Social content? And partner messages? All of this is in play across these retailers and the impact on sales is being measured as retailers try to figure this space out.

2016 will undoubtedly be a year of more mobile innovation and adoption as retailers and brands continue to try to capitalize on customer behaviors and offer an optimized omnichannel experience. Time to place your bets on who makes the "Top 5" list next year.


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