StorefrontBacktalk

Mobile Is Changing So Many Enterprise Decisions—Even In A Store's Dressing Room

Written by Evan Schuman
November 26th, 2013
The penetration of mobile into so many unexpected parts of business is forcing quite a few new ways of IT thinking. Consider the retailer's dressing/changing room. Under the guise of theft-prevention, many are now scanning every piece of clothing that a shopper brings into the room, along with the identification being beamed from that customer's mobile device. Instant CRM, with details of every purchase being considered by that mobile tied in with them by name, automatically captured.

That mobile device will typically be a customer's smartphone. But the next step is where where an interesting debate is emerging. When the shopper leaves that dressing room and chooses to purchase only one—or perhaps even none—of the garments/accessories, at least one chain is now experimenting using a different mobile device (tablet) to try and get an answer to "Why?" In marketing circles, understanding why a customer opted to not purchase six items can be even more valuable than knowing why they purchased the seventh.

Getting that customer to slow down and provide that information is going to mean the chain must bribe someone. But who? Do they incentive the shopper to open a tablet app and answer some questions, perhaps for a $35 store credit? Or they do they bribe the associate, offering them a $35 bonus for each set of answers they capture and put into the system?

Neither wants to do this. The shopper just wants to move on. And the associate, although on the payroll, is commissioned to make sales right now. This kind of information will help the chain make more sales globally. To get the sales associate to not move onto the next customer and to pry information out of the last one, that's going to take some cash.

As someone working with one major chain that is experimenting with these approaches was detailing the debate this week, it struck me how intimately mobile is changing so many business decisions. How many of your decisions are radically different today because of mobile?