Shoppers are more receptive to 'scan and go' than facial recognition
It’s no longer enough to personalize beauty products with a shopper’s name or favorite color. Today’s consumers are seeking out brands that allow them to customize everything about a product, down to its formulation.
To satisfy this, a crop of brands across the cosmetics, hair-care and skin-care categories have popped up in the last few years to offer bespoke products, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. A report last year from GlobalData found that a growing number of consumers, then at 61 percent, found the concept highly appealing.
“The push toward customization is linked closely to the beauty space’s desire to appeal to a diverse and global clientele,” said Maya Mikhailov, CMO and co-founder of retail app developer GPShopper. “Standards of beauty are shifting from traditional norms, and consumers are increasingly demanding beauty products that not only offer more choice, but also help them express their individuality.”
This week, Amazon finally opened the doors of its futuristic grocery store, Amazon Go, in Seattle. The cash-free store allows customers to simply walk out without paying at a cash register, with the proper money simply being charged to their Amazon account.
Amazon isn't the only company experimenting with cashless. The popular salad chain Sweetgreen announced it was going completely cash-free in late 2016, and Starbucks recently opened a cashless store in Seattle.
"Mobile payment in the U.S. has grown to over 30% of total tender," Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a call with investors on Thursday. "The ubiquity of mobile and credit card payment is enabling us to begin an exploration of cashless stores in the US."
Maya Mikhailov, the CMO of retail app developer GPShopper, told Business Insider that quick-service restaurants and other chains, such as Sweetgreen and Starbucks, are set to lead the way in the revolution against cash. Going cashless can speed up service, dissuade theft, and allow companies to gather more information on shoppers by linking them to digital loyalty programs.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a shoppable image on Instagram worth?
Announced at last week’s National Retail Federation conference, Salesforce Commerce Cloud revealed that retailers can now use their entire product catalog to create shoppable posts on Instagram. This includes product details like the price, name and a short description.
The new integration is seen by many industry insiders as vital to the growth of ecommerce in a mobile-first world. As users continue to shop through their phones, reducing the steps between discovery and purchase becomes necessary. And as Instagram continues to grow as an important tool for marketers, creating opportunities to make purchases on the platform makes sense for everyone: retailer, platform and user.
Facebook may be killing its virtual assistant, but not all brands have given up on the platform’s bots.
This week’s announcement that Facebook is dissolving its M platform — a virtual personal assistant for messenger, designed to complete tasks like booking appointments and ordering products — in many ways mirrors the difficulties afflicting the retailers that are testing bots. Ultimately the social platform found M was too complex to manage, plus it struggled to automate certain actions, a challenge retailers are also experiencing as a result of a lack of backend resources. Despite this, many brands continue to trial the technology in an attempt to not just tout their tech capabilities, but also drive consumers to their e-commerce sites and increase sales.
However, much like the demise of M, many retailers, in the rush to implement the technology, are failing to establish the appropriate resources needed to maintain them, said Maya Mikhailov, CMO and co-founder of mobile commerce platform GPShopper. It doesn’t help that messenger bots are also increasingly facing competition from other automated services, like voice-activated style programs from Amazon Alexa and Google Home. (Perry Ellis, for example, became one of the first retailers to test voice commerce in September, adding yet another channel for commerce.)
“It’s not as easy as just ‘insert chatbot here.’ Chatbots were initially positioned to retailers and brands as a magic bullet, where all you needed was a bot,” she said. “As retailers think about what they’re going to do with bots, they need to remember it needs to be usable and scalable. Bots aren’t a bandaid solution for customer service solutions.”