by Jon Banks, director of payments solutions, The Logic Group
What will the High Street look like in the future? This question is often found in retail conversations, following the rocky ride retailers have faced over the past few years. A ‘High Street of the future’ is often viewed as the Holy Grail of success, where retailers find welcome relief from the recent economic twists and turns, and can finally stand up to the threatening shadow cast by online shopping giants. But is this future High Street an over simplified vision of what our High Streets could look like, glossing over the journey that needs to happen before reaching this Nirvana?
It is certain that online shopping has divided retailers considerably, into ‘those that do’ and ‘those that don’t’.
This has created a typically piecemeal approach when it comes to bridging bricks and mortar stores to the virtual world.
But as retail technology begins to consolidate and retailers realise there is no turning back the clock, this fragmented strategy won’t be sustainable for much longer.
As last Xmas’ retail figures proved, it is the retailers that have a complete multichannel customer strategy that weaves ‘bricks and clicks’ together that are defying the doom and gloom.
Yet, for this to play out successfully for all retailers on the High Street in the long run, the Street cannot operate in isolation.
Like any good ecosystem, this future High Street where mobile, physical stores, online all weave together to create a seamless shopping experience for consumers, can only be achieved through the collaboration of a multitude of partners.
This must include retailers, payments providers, mobile network operators [MNOs], handset companies, banks and the like.
The GMSA’s High Street of the Future at Mobile World Congress 2014 Barcelona will bring this future to life.
The Logic Group alongside a number of partners in the high street ecosystem including Proxama, Aimia, Escher Group, Verifone, Deutsche Telecom and Gemalto will be illustrating a number of prototypes to show how all stakeholders can work together to deliver an end to end system of services, that engages consumers across all channels, throughout their journey.
One component of this, will be building real time customer loyalty in a world where convenience, immediacy and price dominate purchasing decisions.
The Logic Group along with other partners in the loyalty ecosystem will demonstrate how this assembly of participants from the PED supplier, the loyalty engine, the MNO and the collateral provider, can work together to create this end to end solution that is part of the customer’s purchasing journey.
Customers will soon be able to engage with high street brands via their mobile wallet in store to not only receive personalised offers on items via Wi-fi for example, but also validate and redeem these coupons or loyalty points in real time upon their purchase.
In many respects, the technology to deliver this complete consumer experience already exists, and the future is not far off at all.
Mobile devices for example are already playing a central part of the customer shopping experience.
Building consumer trust to extend this behaviour to the majority and working to create a complete experience that brings customers back into stores- instead of driving them away, will be one of the key obstacles to overcome on this journey.
The time for testing these technologies in isolation is coming to an end, and much like a car without a road infrastructure, retailers (whether large high street staples or individual boutiques) will never reach High Street nirvana until all parties combine to create this complete end to end, multichannel, customer experience solution.
Jon Banks is currently the director of payment solutions for The Logic Group. Jon has been with The Logic Group since 2012. He responsible for looking at how to enhance and develop the payments ecosystem to support better consumer interactions and has over 17 year’ experience in the cards and payments industry.