The BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor Q2 2013 results were out this week. Total retail search volumes grew 15% in the second quarter of 2013 compared with the same quarter a year earlier, with volumes on tablet devices outpacing those on any other device – increasing 132% compared with growth on smartphone devices of 66%. The case for tablet specific retail experiences is made here (if the case needed to be made at all)……

The BRC stats provide a clear case for joined up search and customer centric mobile web experiences that can drive online or offline depending on the inferred customer context. In terms of business priority, the search volumes speak for themselves. Sifting through what is important in omni-channel planning and what isn’t is a hard task for many businesses. I often talk about ‘Noise versus Need’ in terms of connected retail strategies.

‘Noise’ is solutions and technologies that are talked about on Mashable etc and pushed at you by companies that have never turned a profit. Noise can be recognised quite easily as it typically;

  • Doesn’t solve a problem
  • Complicates a hitherto simple process
  • Doesn’t materially improve on an existing way of doing something
  • Needs the user to change what they normally do
  • Can’t be measured or tied back to core business requirements

Need, on the other hand, typically delivers;

  • Measurably better retail experiences
  • Facilitated shopping missions
  • More reasons to shop
  • More ways to shop
  • More products to buy

Doing something useful with Search traffic and getting shoppers to what they want quickly and smoothly is clearly a need. A potential example of Noise is the announcement this week that Asda is partnering with AR merchants Blippar to create augmented catalogues. I’ll leave it up to you as to where this sits on the Noise vs Need spectrum…….

Resource of the week comes from Amaze. A short Whitepaper on Connected Retail, which does a good job of breaking down connected retail channels and key strategies, the most useful bits IMO being these two simple diagrams.

Connected Retail 2 Connected Retail Channels