InComm Partner Alliance Looks to Digital/Big Data Future (Feb. 12, 2013)
Feb. 12, 2013
In the opening sessions of InComm’s annual Partner Alliance yesterday, CEO Brooks Smith and futurist Mike Walsh offered glimpses of their visions of the future. With a corporate acquisition strategy based on delivering new technologies to retailers, Smith focused his comments on a future filled with more choices—for retailers and their customers. He noted that InComm isn’t building its own mobile/digital wallet, but building applications for retailers to advance e-commerce. And, despite the emergence of digital channels, he predicted “a long run for plastic,” which, he said, isn’t being cannibalized significantly by digital applications. The challenge ahead, said Smith, is “connecting digital with brick and mortar at retail to continue building value.”
Walsh, the author of Futuretainment, echoed the challenge of “not keeping pace” and encouraged the audience to reimagine how to do business today—based on seeing the world through the eyes of your children, consumers who’ve never lived in a world without Internet or powerful connectivity in the form of their mobile device. “If your kids had your job, what is one decision they’d make differently,” he asked.
Walsh also addressed the intimacy of the customer/retailer relationship, suggesting that the retailers who will survive in a digital age will be those that can provide a personal experience, targeted to individuals—with custom offers, for example, as they approach the point of sale. Equally important, according to Walsh, is creating stories consumers can share through, for example Facebook, the great influencer. Driving much of this anticipated higher-level engagement with consumers will be big data. Walsh predicted that the data explosion generated by mobile microtransactions provides “great information to personalize shopping experiences” and “will transform how retailers think about their target customers.”
The InComm Partner Alliance continues through Wednesday in Miami. About 1,000 InComm clients and partners are present, with a strong representation of retailers.