With mobile internet retailing sales surging in the US, most important retailers have not only taken steps to optimise their websites for mobile browsing but have also launched their own standalone mobile apps. Even as US consumers increasingly use their smartphones to shop, however, many retailers have found it difficult to attract repeat business through their apps.
With long queues at bricks-and-mortar retailers the bane of many US consumers, a number of US retailers are embracing an innovation that has the potential to provide a more pleasurable shopping experience: mobile checkout. In November 2018, Walmart began offering its “Check Out With Me” mobile checkout service in its entire hypermarket network in the country.
With internet retailing value sales already shifting rapidly towards mobile, the launch of 5G in 2019 – which promises far superior latency and speeds that can be found on US wireless networks today – is expected to entice a greater number of consumers to shop using their mobile devices. Indeed, 5G may actually allow for the viability of mobile shopping through wearable electronics, a practice that had gained little traction in the US in 2018.
Amazon took another step forward to transform the US retailing landscape, when in January 2018, it opened its first of many planned Amazon Go outlets in Seattle, WA. The store has many of the trappings of a traditional convenience store, with a product assortment focusing heavily on groceries.
Augmented reality [AR] has rapidly become a popular tool employed by home furnishings retailers, as it allows potential customers to use positioning technology to envision what furniture items will look like in their living spaces, making a final purchase of these relatively expensive products easier. Originally, only Apple Inc’s mobile AR platform, dubbed ARKit, was robust enough to deliver AR functionality on mobiles in a way that met most home furnishings retailers’ expectations, Android (the popular rival to the iOS mobile operating system developed by Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google) did not have a comparable AR platform.
In 2018, apparel and footwear specialist Nike Inc unveiled a nested component dubbed “Nike App at Retail” on its proprietary app. Using geofencing, the Nike mobile app unlocks access to the special Nike App at Retail features as soon as a customer with the app downloaded onto their smartphone enters one of the company’s bricks-and-mortar stores.
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