August 1, 2012, 10:01 AM

Store Retailing’s End Game

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At American Eagle Outfitters consumers get more kicks if they visit the dressing room; the retailer knows a consumer who tries on a new pair of jeans is more likely to buy. American Eagle Outfitters and Toys 'R' Us also are using a new shopkick program that links consumers' payment card to shopkick. For example, when a shopkick user pays with that card at Toys 'R' Us, she gets more kicks, and if she spends more than the average customer, she gets extra bonus kicks, which drives greater basket sizes and provides Toys 'R' Us with more data into how mobile consumers shop its stores, says shopkick CEO Cyriac Roeding.

Retailers can use this kind of behavioral information to target consumers according to their interests, even very specific consumer groups. "Retailers used to bypass niche groups because they were too small, but now that it is so hard to increase sales, no group is too small," Corlett says. "The beauty of technology today is that you can reach out to everyone selectively."

With the mobile web bringing price transparency to the front lines of store retailing, and with web retailers likely to win on price alone, store retailers have to evolve and play to their strengths. That means incorporating mobile and web technology into the selling process and cementing themselves as go-to resources for the customers they serve. There's no guarantee it will work, but the alternative is to become showrooms that consumers may still visit, but where the cash register rarely rings.


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