Posts by Simon

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Shopcinity app launches today, but is there a need for another shopping app?

December 14th, 2016 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Software is eating the world and shoppers are embracing technology at a rate like no other in history. All these tools and shopping apps are making us the most powerful set of customers to have ever graced the high street and surfed the web.

So is there a need for another shopping app?

The simple answer to that is a big resounding YES from the perspective of high street in-store shopping.

Why do we say this?

We’ve spoken to hundreds of customers and they all seem to agree with us saying, shopping online is great, but it can never surpass the gratification of touching, feeling, and trying items whilst in the store before they buy.

The in-store experience helps them identify and confirm things they like, and due to the fact that not all purchases can be made immediately in-store, it’s not always easy to turn these items of interest into purchases later on without the added hassle and time constraints. Customers will either mentally save these items or take picture or write down product numbers in the hope of using this information to find and buy the items later.

So in reality how well does this work?

Not great really, the most likely answer, if they have the time, is to arm themselves with the perfect mental memory, scribbled product numbers, or use pictures of items and religiously troll through website after website, or take chances and head to the store with the hope of finding availability in the store they decide to go to, but we all know in most cases this can be a tedious task so they just stop and either find something else or delay it further.

For the retailer this is and can be a truly lost opportunity, not only a sales opportunity but an opportunity to communicate with the customer.

Talking to customers it became clear to me, and my team, that there is a need to simplify the shopping experience for customers to help them capture this interest whilst in store or out and about, and make it easily accessible when ready to purchase.

For these reasons we’ve built the Shopcinity App and I’m very pleased to announce the Launch of our public beta version of the app on the apple app store.

The core focus of Shopcinity is to let you:

  1. Capture items that catch the eye by taking a quick photo or entering a URL of a product you like and want to save.
  2. Watch the items you love, we’ll let you add the exact item or something similar to your watch list. Shopcinity will then notifying you with constant updates if and when items change price, come back in stock or we discover other similar items that might be right for you.
  3. For items you want, you have the freedom and time to decide to Bag at the right price all in one single place.

The app is now available for download on the Itunes store, We’d love you to download, give it a try and let us hear your feedback.

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We are also looking for forward looking retailers to partner with, so if interested in finding new ways how to engage with your in store customers please do get in touch at info@shopcinity.com or check us out www.shopcinity.com

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Can retailers adapt to the empowered consumer? 

July 14th, 2015 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

I have been working on my company Shopcinity.com for over 8 months now. The main emphasis of Shopcinity has always been to provide information to help the consumer shop better. The key part in this statement is “Information” specifically stock and availability information.

As I have worked and developed the idea further, I have come to realise how much power consumers want, and how this thirst for information is changing the very nature of the way brands and retailers engage with the consumer. This of course is creating a challenge for the retailers as they need to keep up, understand and feed this thirst for information. A challenge where if not taken and solved can mean more store closures and those dreaded closing down sales.

We are in the age of “consumer empowerment”, where, rather than sitting passively and having advertisings come at them, consumers are now actively, with the introduction of new technologies, seeking, researching, discovering and reviewing what, how and where to buy from, long before setting foot in a store or clicking on the buy now button. This means the retailer has to provide the necessary information in the users hands at the right time in order drive them to their store, without this, the customer will simply head to the competition that is just a few clicks away.

This change has put allot of retailers on the back foot, for example, you can now expect that in some scenario’s by the time the customer gets to the store, they know more about the product they want to purchase than the sales associate. Annoyingly for the retailers, as this has damaging effects to the brand. For the consumer, there is nothing more annoying than a sales associate who is not up to speed with the product they are trying to sell to you.

The once Golden Age

Of course this has not always been the case, there was once a time when consumers had limited information and choice, this resulted in dominance by corporates, where, the customer only had a selected few choices. If you where one of the lucky business to be in this “limited” choice, the customer was always guaranteed to knock on your doors before purchasing a product you sold. However, as illustrated by the diagram below, courtesy of kelloggs School of Management , this has changed from the once golden age to the new digital age.

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The image is self explanatory, however, it’s a clear indication as to the current landscape.

As political climate has changed in the favour of business along with technological advances, the consumer has been bombarded with more choice than ever before both locally and globally. This puts enormous amount of information in the consumer’s hands, and it’s only right that to decipher through all this choice, one does need to have the ability to filter through all the choice and information before coming to an informed decision – enter the smartphone. This has resulted in the customer having access to more information than what can be obtained from entering one single store. This has created phenomenas such as Showrooming and Webrooming!

Webrooming and Showrooming

For those wondering what these rooming words mean. Show rooming means customers who go into physical stores and with their mobile phones complete the purchase online; thus using the store as a “showroom” before making a purchase online.

Webrooming is the inverse of Showrooming, where the customer will find and research products online but complete the purchase in store.

For either of these trends it’s important that retailers embrace these trends rather than fight them. For example a retailer in Australia famously charged customers $5.00 for walking around the store and not buying. I think I would be safe not to bet on my house to see if this had a positive effect on sales.

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The trends of Webrooming or Showrooming are simply a by product to the advances in business and technology, in order for customers to make sense of all the information and choice, we need to decipher all this information.

Let the customer decide where and how to shop.

Embracing the trend

Retailers that have embraced this empowered customer have seen sales increase, and leap ahead of the competition. For example retailers such as House of Fraser, John Lewis, and Topshop are leading this trend, for example, they all provide wifi to customers to allow further research whilst in store, but also arming sales staff with iPads and Mobile apps to tip the balance in the sales staff’s favour with more information than what the customer has access too.

I for one welcome such trends from these retailers, but of course one cannot underestimate the complexity in providing solutions that meet the customers demands, but the more retailers that follow this trend the better shopping experience for the consumer which in-turn can mean more sales for the retailers.