Retailers who ignore the future possibilities of the iOS platform, do so at their peril, an expert has warned.
According to Apple mobility partner WWT (World Wide Technology) Asynchrony Labs, a technology solution provider, customer engagement via mobile devices is now an essential part of any serious business strategy.
Apple is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the iPhone and, in that time it has wrought “tremendous change” across the retail industry, said WWT.
Commented Kelly White, London general manager of WWT Asynchrony Labs UK, “The strength of the iOS ecosystem makes it impossible to ignore for firms who want to put their services in the palms of customers.
“A well-designed mobile strategy links all aspects of the business. With the arrival of big data analytics, an iOS application can now supply data that percolates all aspects of the supply chain.
“For example, a potential customer is browsing for a product in a specific geography – the data from this interaction can now find its way back to the start of the supply chain and stores in that area can be stocked intuitively. This is just one process that has appeared as smart devices have become part of the furniture of everyday life.”
The possibility of personalisation in retail through linking devices to a brand’s offering is a fairly new innovation, WWT added, but offers retailers a unique opportunity to get closer to current and potential customers.
This means that mobile applications should be seen as “part and parcel” of a modern retail strategy.
Bob Elfanbaum, co-head of WWT Asynchrony Labs, commented: “At the time of release, Apple’s slogan for the product was ‘This is only the beginning’. These words have turned out prophetic as whole industries now rely on the iOS platform to provide products, services and information – there are in fact more than two million apps, on which customers spent around £23 billion last year. It is hard to think of another platform that has had such an impact in terms of changing consumer behaviour and providing new possibilities for businesses to change the way they interact with customers.
“It’s amazing how the iPhone has come full circle in retail. Originally a top-selling product, Apple’s device is now a tool that retailers leverage to drive sales of a plethora of different goods from homeware to high-tech gadgets.”
He added: “The ubiquity of mobile apps has completely changed many business models. Take Uber and Airbnb – two businesses which have shot to success through their clever positioning of app-based services. Older firms have also experienced rejuvenation as their products now find completely new markets as a result of mobile services.”