By Aimee Chanthadavong
Retailers currently have several options of how they reach their consumers: brick and mortar stores, eCommerce websites and social networking sites. But now, DigiPoS has launched a mCommerce ecosystem that combines them all three into one platform.
The MobileShopper is a Smartphone-based application that integrates online shopping with the in-store experience by bringing together a retailer’s bricks and mortar technology silos with their web/ecommerce platforms.
Matthew Sherwood, DigiPoS managing director, told Retailbiz that since beginning the creation of the app almost 12 months ago, the company has worked around the tagline ‘it’s so easy you won’t want to leave home without it’ with the ideology that while people may leave home without their laptop, people never leave home without their phones.
“We’ve seen a shift in consumers in that they want information now; they want that instant gratification immediately, so having something that is always available during that decision time makes the app a very powerful ecommerce tool,” he said.
“We also identified that retailers have their brick and mortar stores and then their e-commerce retail website. But they’re typically independent of each other and are not interfaced so we’ve designed something that will bring the two together.”
The application encompasses a range of retail touch points, including: ecommerce, store locator, coupons, loyalty, advertising and promotions, price verification lists, in-store navigation functionality, and a facility which allows the shopper to use their mobile to shop at home using the integrated scanning tool.
According to Sherwood, MobileShopper can act as touch points as to how retailers can communicate to customers. For example, retailers can use the app to track the shopping habits of a consumer, which will allow for targeted and timely promotions.
“On the back end, it has an in-built CRM. So when the application is downloaded, the consumer can put in all their details and when that information is loaded you can start building that CRM,” he said.
“This means all purchases and transaction through that phone, retailers can source analytics and see what their customers like buying before sending target messages out to that user such as ‘come into that store, we’ve got a new product we think it’d go perfectly with your last purchase’. So it’s very powerful because you start capturing information that you usually don’t get a point-of-sale or through websites.”
With the app, the phone will act as a handheld till or self-checkout device and information portal, as well as an information outlet for the latest promotions and products.
“What we’ve identified is that if you download any retailer’s iPhone application, they’re all purely information-based. They can help you find your local store, their opening hours, contact details and maybe browse a catalogue,” Sherwood said.
“So we’ve gone that next step and made it possible to complete a transaction. So you’re able to buy from the catalogue through the phone whilst you’re in-store or at home.”
Sherwood believes the app will compliment the existing retail operating format.
“The way we’ve designed the application is that it won’t compromise any of the retailer’s existing investments or work structure. Instead, it will compliment it,” he said.
“It runs separately to their point-of-sale but it can be fully integrated so a consumer can come into the store, scan products, put it into the trolley and suspend the sale, take their phones up to the register and tender it there.
“What I can see it doing is that it will be used as a queue buster so you may get 90 per cent of the transaction done prior to the arrival of the register by scanning all the barcodes prior the register so when you do all reach it all you have to is hand the cash over.”
The MobileShopper app currently runs on the Apple iPhone but will soon be available on Google Android and Blackberry. It will be free for consumers to download and retailers will pay per download, there will also be a monthly retainer fee for the middleware gateway server application.
DigiPoS is currently in talks with a number of major retailers and plans to make a joint announcement on the launch of a mCommerce platform in Q1 2011.