Retail TouchPoints: Google VP Of Commerce – Moving Beyond the Daily Deal
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
Stephanie Tilenius, VP of commerce for Google, believes that in order to develop closer connections with consumers, retailers need to develop a strategy focused on personalized offers based on past transactions and browsing behavior to cash in on the ever-growing daily deal audience.
"What you’re going to see is a whole new set of formats where you’re able to talk to your loyal customers with personalized offers," Ms. Tilenius said during her keynote speech at the Shop.org Annual Summit in Boston, MA. "You’ll be able to do a direct communication, which is much different than a daily deal."
She believes a core reason why daily deal sites and localized outlets such as Groupon and LivingSocial are generating more buzz among consumers is specifically because they are designed to connect offline, local services to online, tech-savvy consumers. Currently, a majority (80 percent) of spending is done locally, Ms. Tilenius said. This equates to nearly $14 trillion globally and approximately $1 trillion in the U.S. "We’re seeing local services become another huge market in commerce, online and offline," she noted. This new trend coincides with the persistent growth of mobile, which is a necessary facet in the next generation of retail.
Ms. Tilenius emphasized the importance of developing a mobile strategy by commenting on a number of industry statistics. Nearly 80 percent of smartphone users are tapping into their mobile devices in-store to compare prices, search product information, and find promotions and sales, she said. With mobile subscribers checking their phone up to 40 times a day, the handheld devices are dramatically changing the way consumers interact with brands.
By leveraging other tactics such as flexible shipping options, including "buy online, pick up in-store," and "mobified" sites for smartphone and tablet, customers can obtain a rewarding shopping experience that will drive them to point of sale.
"You need to make sure your entire website is seamless when you go from a mobile phone or tablet to the browser," Ms. Tilenius said. "It needs to be a great experience. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised when you go to some of these different websites. The experiences are subpar from where they should be."
Flash site retailer Gilt Groupe was the top example Ms. Tilenius provided as a retailer that has rolled out an exemplary iPad application. Its media-rich site drives nearly 25 percent of its total sales, she explained, showcasing potential growth within mobile and native applications across devices.
In response to the growth of a new tech-savvy and empowered shopper, Google is rolling out multiple solutions including:
- Google Catalog
- Google Offer and Google Shopper
- Google Wallet
- Google+ and Google+ Business Pages
"It’s still early days for mobile commerce and social commerce," Ms. Tilenius said. "But you can see that it’s going to transform retail. You’re definitely going to see more innovation in the next 10 years because of all of the technology within mobile phone penetration, and you’re also going to see the connection between online and offline create a whole new experience for consumers and for retailers."
Discussion Questions: What do think of the opportunities as well as the challenges for retailers looking to deliver personalized offers to mobile-enabled shoppers? What, if anything, should retailers be taking from the popularity of daily deal websites?