What if mobile is the key to the success of retail transformation?

The mighty are falling all around us. Some are only postponing their inevitable demise. We’ve seen the impetus digital thrusts within bricks-and-mortar, but what can mobile do?

The current state of the high street

The news is in, House of Fraser are set to close 31 of their 59 stores. This is another massive blow to the UK high street. However, as sad as it is, it’s no surprise. The large-scale format of the 90s is far too expensive to maintain and with customers shopping evermore online, we will continue to see more brands falter.

House of Fraser aren’t alone, electronics chain Maplin and toy chain Toys R Us have both fallen. We’ve also recently seen high streets chains such as Mothercare and Carpetright close stores in order to survive. At the same time, we’ve seen various brands such as Argos, B&Q and IKEA navigate successfully through retail transformation.

So let’s for a second reimagine the relationship our mobile devices have with bricks-and-mortar stores. What would it look like?

What if mobile is the key to the success of retail transformation?

Mobile: unlocking the on demand

Our customer arrives in store, opens your app and scans a product. From here, product variation and in-store stock levels are all available. With a tap of the screen, voilà—the product is brought to them to try on and examine. By allowing customers a universal view of your product inventory, you deliver a truly delightful experience.

On the other hand, another customer has spent idle time with a product. So in response we send them an in-app offer via a push notification. We do this to gently guide them into purchase. This could be done while they’re still inside the store, or a couple of hours later, or even days.

Once our customer is ready to make a purchase should they go line up at the till? No, ideally not. One idea is that they could checkout and purchase on the spot with a sales representative. Another is that they could do it all via the app. By the same merit, customers at this point could even arrange delivery or click and collect at a more convenient store at a later date. The possibilities are endless.


At Glue, Birmingham’s only true omnichannel design and experience consultancy, we don’t just have ideas around mobile and retail. We also guide brands along the transformation required to do so. We’re about realising ways to navigate the structural, cultural and systematic hurdles you’ll face.

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