Here are two standalone apps making a dent in consumer retail behavior. The first is TikTok, which lets retailers push offers to shoppers at opportune times. The other, Social Impact, is a store search tool that only looks in a curated list of stores.
Based in Vancouver, TikTok is the next generation in Social Couponing operating on the concept of free. Businesses are now able to set up free and time sensitive offers, in-store and in minutes. Interested users receive the limited time freebies through geo-targeting on their iPhone or Android devices, and opt to visit the retailer and redeem the offer. TikTok offers a free platform to control and drive in-store traffic for when business is slow - or there is a premium to use the advanced targeting interface.
"Social Impact" is a free app that utilizes the iPhone’s GPS system to display the closest retail social enterprises—including restaurants, coffee shops, and craft stores. The developers, Rolfe Larson Associates, have added nearly 700 businesses to the app's database so far—each include serving the common good as part of their mission. The developers are eager for users to suggest more socially progressive businesses to grow the network.
A white paper by PSFK suggests that retailers push shoppers to begin their in-store shopping experience before they get there. And while a high-touch shopping experience is conceivably the outcome, it's also a great opportunity for stores to push you certain incentives (perhaps targeted coupons from competing brands) based on your intent to buy or your interest in certain manufacturers or product categories. Via PSFK:
By submitting your information prior to a visit, you can help the customer representatives help you find exactly what you want, and get recommendations tailored just for you. Although online-only, Modcloth is a service that give customers one-on-one fashion advice based on past purchases and preferences. Physical retailers could easily adopt a similar model where via app or social login users submit their preferences and details, so when they arrive a tailored experience is ready and waiting for them, as if they were a regular. Imagine being greeted in your favorite store by name, with a selection of items just for you to browse (likely with a special discount) just for volunteering some information!
[Image: Flickr user Thomas Edwards]