In an age where people can easily shop on their phones from the comfort of their sofa, retailers have harnessed digital disruption for their own ends. They use digital technology, such as social media, to improve customer engagement and build brand loyalty. The aim is to draw people to physical shops for the experience they – and the leisure facilities that now complement them – offer, rather than purely the transaction.
John Lewis is one brand that has invested heavily in connecting its online presence with its physical stores. At the other end of the scale, high-end cycling brand Rapha started with a small shop and built a brand, and a community, around its online platform. This is now complemented by a wider store offer that enhances shoppers’ experience with events and other activities
Retailers today use technology to build a sophisticated understanding of how different customers behave, and to respond accordingly. For example, media screening is capable of working out which demographic passing shoppers belong to and targeting the advertising displayed to them accordingly.
Could automated number plate recognition do something similar for drivers on our roads? Could messages – already timelier and more useful than ever before thanks to new smart motorway signage – be improved by targeting specific audiences? As autonomous and connected vehicles arrive on our roads, there might be opportunities to segment messages. For example, lorry drivers could receive in-cab alerts about high winds, while a family driving to a holiday park could receive a warning that an upcoming motorway service area is very busy.