Nevertheless, Mulpuru predicted the year ahead will yield a move in the direction of what Mulpuru described as “advanced contextual” experiences native to mobile devices, which retailers like Walgreen Co. are popularizing. The move is due, in part, to the development of the technologies needed to deliver dynamic pricing and mobile promotions at the point of sale, a new wave of "loyalty currency," she noted.
Walgreen, for example, has seen more than 40% of its Web traffic stem from smartphones and has developed accordingly. Fifty percent of users who have downloaded its apps, ranging from Refill by Scan to Pill Reminders, use those apps within the store environment. The shift to mobile-to-in-store experiences that carry over seamlessly is what’s fueling the contextual development Mulpuru referenced.
Catherine Lindner, formerly Walgreen’s VP of retail marketing, just joined startup company Shelfbucks, which is leveraging iBeacon technology to deliver targeted mobile promotions to shoppers on brick-and-mortar premises. Now chief merchant officer for the mobile company, Lindner said her move was, in part, catalyzed by the digitization of the in-store environment.
“In my world, which was both merchandising and marketing, we always knew that there needed to be a greater shift to digital technology when it came to consumer promotions,” she told AdExchanger. “Yet, Walgreens, like many retailers, [struggled with] ‘How do you [design for] the new consumer, particularly digital natives'” who expect marketer communications to match nimble consumer offerings.
“Those retailers that come up with efficient, effective solutions to deliver the consumer promotion in a personalized way will win,” she said. “The traditional, paper coupon and circular will be obsolete quickly” because of smartphones.