Mobile Data: the Missing Centerpiece for Omnichannel Success

Heading into the holidays I’ve been thinking quite a lot about shopping. By last count, I have 21 people to buy gifts for this Christmas. It certainly seems daunting. Fortunately, as a consumer things have gotten considerably easier, especially as many retailers invest in omnichannel experiences. With phone and laptop in hand, I can get the bulk of my shopping done in an afternoon. If need be, I can surgically decide which stores to visit and head out, lasers set on a very specific list.

While things have gotten easier for consumers, they’ve become harder for retailers.

Instead of maintaining one sales channel, a retailer has to maintain several, likely with different technologies, databases and customer IDs. Moreover, having an app and/or a website to complement a physical storefront is just one piece of the puzzle. Arguably, the easier piece.

The harder part is providing a seamless experience across properties that takes the customer’s latest context into account. If I wish list an item on my phone, I expect it to be there on the website and vice versa.

The issue is that in many cases, data systems, while great at collecting data, aren’t great at sharing data, particularly in a timely fashion — like right now. Because remember … I’m getting all of this done in one afternoon.

Urban Airship Connect is setting out to change that with a real-time stream of mobile user data that can be connected to any system in your business for instant action. Mobile is a good place to start because it is increasingly the first place consumers turn for product research and consideration. The latest Black Friday results suggest this is the first year that digital eclipsed physical stores in terms of real dollars spent.

So where to start?

Connect allows a retailer to sync the stream of user-level data collected through the Urban Airship SDK and integrate it in minutes with a reporting and/or action system. This could be one of the many Connect partners. Or it could be a custom connection you create. This means that any of the user signals coming in through your mobile app like “opened Black Friday flash sale notification” could be a vital piece of information to have for the customer’s next visit, whether that’s on the website or in-store.

With numerous user signals that Urban Airship Connect is constantly streaming, the potential is virtually limitless.

Personally, I’ve become intrigued with a scenario that I’d like to see brick and mortar retailers consider: providing “VIP” line buster service in times of peak traffic. After all, waiting in line seems so 2010.

Picture your next big sales event: It’s December 24th — the day before Christmas. Last-minute shoppers are sweating to get that great gift for their loved one. The stores are packed. They are running out of time and shipping is obviously not an option. What if you gave your high-value shoppers the option to buy through the app, pick it up in store and get “white-glove” treatment to skip the crowds?

When they get within 50m of the store a sales associate is notified. When the customer comes to the counter, the item is wrapped, receipt firmly tucked in the bag. Your customer walks up to the counter grabs their items and walks out in two minutes flat.

That would be a great experience. Your customer would feel like they were in the driver’s seat and you helped make it happen. They would feel like you were in their corner making their life easier. And you would be able to compete on a whole new level.
That’s what connected mobile data could do for your business. I hope I see it next holiday season. If you want to learn more about Urban Airship Connect, and how it can help you create amazing experiences for your customers, check out the product webinar.