‘Norwich Connected’ Project

31st July 2014

Mary Portas’ crusade to highlight the collapse of the high street has, in its wake, stimulated a sense of community spirit to re-vitalise the way our high streets deliver convenient and needs-based retailing.

It’s no secret that adaptation is a necessitation for those independents out there – keep up or go bust. It’s a sad reality, but with the benchmark of consumer judgement falling into: ease, convenience, service, value and entertainment, simply put: if it isn’t obvious or compelling they will stick on the kettle, ease back into their sofa and spend a morning leisurely browsing the pages of the internet, purchasing within the comfort of home.

By tapping into the importance of smartphones in our lives (according to Finextra.com analysts predict that by 2017 3.1 billion people around the world will own such a device), opportunity knocks for retailers to connect effortlessly and constantly in a targeted, responsive and enabling manner.

Innovation is key to bringing both the consumer and retailer back to life, but it’s not a simple solution. It’s a chicken and egg world out there and as with all relatively new and evolving technologies, merchants are hesitant to go forth and prosper if take up of consumers is not quantified as effective.

Whilst the perception is that shopping is quickly moving towards the web-sphere, recent research has shown that actually, high street shopping is spurred not spurned by the web.

Research conducted by sales marketing company Salesgossip indicated that whilst time online is indeed rising, closing of the sale is in fact occurring in the bricks and mortar stores.

The results also showed that even inherently savvy consumers still head to the high street for fashion, beauty accessories and cosmetics. Furthermore, the survey results showed that 66% of respondents proactively used the Salesgossip site to locate in-store promotions, demonstrating that the need for the physical and digital to hold hands is stronger than ever.

With big companies like Amazon announcing a tentative step into the world of offline commerce through the launch of their mobile wallet app, the world should start to pay attention.

Through a competition bid entry we were successful in winning a grant from the Technology Strategy Board.

The grant was awarded for a feasibility study to re-imagine the high street and with that we are now in the process of developing an app that localises; connecting the consumer to their local merchants and places, via an aggregated content solution, supporting loyalty and engaging content through the might of mobile proximity technologies.

With a beautiful and heritage rich city centre on our doorstep we have, in partnership with Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) and Association of Town & City Management, committed to blueprinting Norwich and its merchants as the very definition of a mobile enabled, Smart City. Delivering engaging, exciting and contextually relevant content on our local transport, events, shopping and tourism experiences and delivering ROI to those recruited for the project.

The project will utilise the full range of mobile proximity technologies, including beacons which detect the app and push relevant notifications via Bluetooth Low Energy on to the consumers’ handset. NFC and QR codes to support push and pull engagement allowing merchants to deliver mutually beneficial material to its shoppers with the simple gesture of a ‘tap’ or ‘scan’ via their mobile.

By deploying our TapPoint® platform as part of the merchants mobile strategy; integrating into the shopper experience, we aim to support merchants in greatly extending their brand reach and delivering the ability to analyse behaviour. This will cultivate opportunity to engage and reward shoppers whilst providing an environment for merchants to distribute targeted information and offers leading to increased sales, new customers and brand loyalty.

Sophie.Lynn

Sophie Lynn, Account Manager, Proxama