The UK has only just started to fully embrace 4G mobile phone networks, but we are already looking ahead to 5G mobile phone networks, with Europe planning to have it launched by 2020. The impending ultra-fast, next-generation mobile communications network has the capacity to offer exponential gains in both speed and capacity over existing 4G networks and is set to be 1,000 times faster and more reliable. It’s interesting to asses the positive impact this exciting innovation will have in an omnichannel world.
The introduction of 5G technology would certainly help stimulate the growth of high-tech industries relying on the “Internet of Things,” everyday devices equipped with sensors and connectivity to work together. The retail industry in particular will benefit from faster connectivity and 5G will no doubt impact on how quickly interactions happen between consumers and brands, potentially improving brand reputation and therefore loyalty. So for example, when you are using an app, faster connectivity will mean offers and notifications can be sent in real-time.
Quicker connectivity has the potential to vastly improve personalisation based on location, context, CRM and product offering. Offers could be sent out to a persons’ mobile, based on exact location, or instantaneously when the consumer is in the store, in relation their device location, for example.
5G will also help make next generation mobile devices such as wearable tech more appealing, increasing functionality capabilities. With wearable tech currently limited in what it can do, the introduction of 5G will no doubt be an advantage, making wearable tech easier to use and more widely adopted. At the moment wearables can only tell users what they’re doing, not how they’re doing it. But this is set to change. Wearables are slowly turning into aware-ables; they’re becoming aware of the user and their environment and this can only be a good thing in the retail arena and the introduction of 5G can only make this more effortless.
Showrooming is also likely to become more prominent as a result of 5G, bringing opportunities as well as obstacles to brands and retailers. With the introduction of even faster download speeds, showrooming will become easier to achieve and retailers need to make sure that they take this opportunity and ensure that consumers don’t end up purchasing goods elsewhere. Retailers need to take full advantage of mobile’s capabilities to engage consumers at the critical first stage of the purchase path to gain the upper hand over showrooming.
Done well, omni-channel links consumers, devices and data to provide an integrated mix of offline and online experiences with personalised offerings. Delivering this concept successfully will set the winners apart and 5G could have a huge impact on the success of this.
Gary Corbett, Member of IORMA Board … more