Retail In-store mobile experience – the way forward?

This post comes off the back of reading an article on Marketing Week, where Google says that retailers need to start improving customer’s ‘mobile-experience’ in stores to offer more and compete with online stores.

To me this idea seems a little far fetched at the moment, and I can see what they are suggesting, but can not realistically see this happening effectively for some time. The aspect I agree with is the need to emphasise and promote the value of ‘local’, which is something the real world store can boast over an online counter-part. Honing in on this crux could be vital in preserving the consumer’s relationship with local stores.

However the examples given to demonstrate how mobile-experience could be used in this article, don’t seem to relate to retail;

“One of our views is that regardless of what screen you’re on, if you’re watching a movie, you should be able to pause it on one device and pick it up on the next, wherever you are”
Carrington (Head of mobile for EMEA, Google)

This is all well and good, but I can not think of a scenario related to retail or shopping where this would be useful? The article talks about how Google are exploring options which let users link their desktop browsing with their mobile device, thus explaining how the above example would work.
I followed on from this article to watch a short video which introduces the “Chrome to Phone’ Android application from Google, designed to allow users to ‘push’ content onto their mobile. The video just left me thinking “yeah great idea, but can not see any practical applications for it at the moment’. In particular when related to retail.

Why would the ability to copy your home browsing activity onto your mobile make you more likely to shop in real-world shops rather than online?
Furthermore, if this is the example given, how will this lead to people engaging with said content whilst in the stores themselves? Will it be a two way street…where the user comes into the store with preloaded content from a previous browsing session, but also be able to ‘collect’ new content via their mobile from within the store itself?

Who knows!

Marketing Week Article: Google ‘retailers must improve in-store mobile experience to stay viable’

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