Big move for retail as NZ tech firm shines in Big Apple

Big move for retail as NZ tech firm shines in Big Apple

As the passing foot traffic scuttled through Midtown Manhattan, where an estimated 1.6 million pass through each day, nestled in the heart of Times Square a Kiwi retail revolution was taking place.

“There’s almost a certain arrogance within the tech sector that we know best and if you build it they will come.

“But the more research we do, which focuses at the intersection of consumers and technology, shows that in many instances consumers needs are outstripping the technology and this is very manifest in the retail space which we’re aware of.”

With VMob as the real-time reference point, a company which runs on the Microsoft Azure platform, Hritzuk explained that through providing mobile-centric campaign management software, retailers are best placed to deliver promotions and loyalty programmes that work.

“Physical and digital aspects should operate in sync,” she added, “the key trend we have seen is that both worlds should be talking to each other more.

“Customers know retailers track data, they know they have it yet they are not providing a more personalised experience, there is certainly a deeper need for personalisation within physical retail stores.”

Taking the discussion deeper, Bradley explained how service providers such as banks, telecommunications operators and directory services use the VMob platform to “retain and monetise” their existing customers by offering merchant partners a mobile channel to deliver highly-targeted promotions and rewards to their mutual customers.

“Our technology measures the return on investment of digital marketing campaigns,” he explained, “by tracking how they draw customers from the online world into bricks-and-mortar stores.”

Claiming that the onus is now on marketers to “bridge the gap” between what consumers need and want, and how this can be delivered from a technological perspective, Hritzuk argued that despite the prediction of impending doom of offline stores, research suggests otherwise - hence a need for retailers to embrace mobile.

“Consumers hate the friction between the digital and physical worlds,” she added. “And why do they hate this friction? Because for consumers there is no digital world or no physical world.

“There’s ‘My World’ where I’m trying to get things done and make decisions. I’m not thinking because I’m on my smartphone I’m operating in my digital world, or because I’m in a shop I’m in my physical world, it simply doesn’t happen.”

So much so that digital and physical are “not two separate entities” according to Hritzuk, and the misplaced assumption of this can “immediately create barriers” as a consequence.

Forrester Research findings recently predicted that by 2017, 60 percent of all retail transactions in the United States “will involve the internet in some way”, but with a key emphasis on “some way” - that’s where mobile, championed by Kiwi innovation, is taking on the world.

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