Eagle Eye CEO makes top predictions for retail and hospitality sectors in 2013

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Steve Rothwell, CEO of digital coupon provider, Eagle Eye, tells Retail Times what lies in store for the retail and hospitality industries over the next 12 months

Retail predictions:

1. Mobile will become the lynchpin of loyalty

Many brands and service providers, including the likes of Apple, Google, and PayPal, are making their first foray into the mobile wallet. As a result, UK users are becoming increasingly familiar with using mobile as part of their in-store retail experience, for both payment and loyalty. Retailers are adapting their point of sale (POS) in order to accept these digitally savvy customers, and gather a wealth of data on actual behaviour in order to personalise offers and close the digital loop. With customers responding positively to the immediacy and convenience mobile devices bring, this type of retailer offer is going to grow rapidly in 2013.

2. POS will become truly mobile

New entrants into the payment market, such as Square, iZettle and mPowa, are giving retailers a whole new way to accept payment transactions via mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones. This is just as applicable to the large multinational retailers as it is to the local UK tradesmen. There will be less scrambling around for cash to pay the window cleaner in 2013, as mobile becomes an even more integral part of a transactional process for the digital and physical world. The launch of 4G will only accelerate this.

3. The retailer mindset will shift – enough of the omnichannel already

Phrases such as multi-channel and omni-channel have become a central part of retailer jargon. In actual fact, there are just two channels, digital and physical. So the likes of s-commerce, m-commerce, e-commerce, and t-commerce will be replaced with one universal term – d-commerce. For retailers, d-commerce will be essential for embracing customer engagement on any platform, across the digital and physical world to drive sales. In fact, in-store d-commerce will usher in a new era for payment, promotional marketing and loyalty as much as it will do for sales.

4. Showrooming will make its mark

Research in the US, by EKN, predicts 80% of retailers will be affected by showrooming during the festive period this year alone. Furthermore, research from IBM also claims mobile is a bigger purchase influencer than ever before. As the lines between the digital and physical worlds continue to blur it is true retailers will find themselves competing not only with their neighbour on the high street, but with the growing number of online retailers too. However, this needn’t be cause to panic and shut up shop. There’s an opportunity in the year to come for retailers to step up and provide the knowledge and service in-store that will translate into sales. From the basics of customer service, to the latest tech including interactive barcodes, mobile vouchers and coupons there’s an array of tools available to bolster retailers’ arsenal in 2013.

Hospitality predictions:

1. Hospitality will show its social prowess

With over 60% of 18-34 year olds now using social media to decide where to stay and eat, businesses in the hospitality industry must increase their presence across all available channels in 2013, from online, and social to mobile and physical. An approach that covers all digital and physical platforms will allow them to directly engage with consumers on their platforms of choice, instigating and maintaining more meaningful interactions that positively impact their bottom line.

2. The customer will still be king in 2013

Fears of an “Empty 2013” mean businesses in the hospitality sector will need to improve their customer service, experience and value if they are going to get their customers to return again and again in the year to come. Market conditions remain tough, so making sure that the first impression given is the right one and the one most likely to incentivise a purchase will be key for the future success of anyone competing in the hospitality sector. 

3. Social and mobile will join forces

Social media and mobile are going to become inherently intertwined, and the growth of smart phones and connected devices will continue to soar throughout 2013. Indeed, Ericsson estimates there will be over 50 billion connected devices in circulation by 2020, including laptops, tablets and smart phones. As a result, smart hotel and restaurant marketers will need to keep their eye out for authentic ways to make use of emerging social and mobile applications in 2013 in order to set themselves apart from the competition.