Airplane-mode off, Shop-mode on
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, 1st March 2017, 4:30 pm. I’m leaving the plane. I take my phone, switch the ‘airplane-mode’ off and the ‘shop-mode’ on.
What a great idea, this shop-mode on smart mobile devices. Now when I feel open to be inspired and surprised (of course relevant for my specific location and profile), I just switch to shop-mode. By default this ‘makes me available’ for my favorite retailers and brands, but I also have the choice to select other (or even all) brands and retailers. And when I’m not interested in receiving commercial messages, I just switch the shop-mode off. And then I’m left alone.
Just a few years ago retailers would bombard my phone with promotional messages, regardless of whether I was a loyal customer or the offer was relevant for me. Of course, the retailers argued that I had agreed to their opt-in terms. Which was true, but at the time that I ticked the ‘I agree’ box, I did not know what I agreed to (it was a lot of legal text, and different for each retailer). And these opt-ins were static and binary: just ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Now we have standardized, smart and dynamic opt-ins for any retailer and brand I want to engage with. They do not determine when to contact me – I control that myself. And that depends on the location, time, situation – and the extent of my relationship with that retailer or brand.
Now all smartphones have shop-mode switches. But the journey to get there took some time. It was the 2014 ‘trust crisis’ that made the consumer products and retail industry realize that collective action was required. All over the world consumers became increasingly concerned about digital communication incidents (which were called ‘digital landmines’). Although this was often magnified by emotions and perceptions, the key worry for consumers was that they were not in control.
This drove governments to step in and develop legislation. But this was not the right way forward either. Consumers did not get the value they could, and brands and retailers were not able to serve their consumers in the most effective and relevant way.
So to protect their ability to create mutual value when engaging via digital channels, the industry (consumer products and retail companies, consumers and critics, relevant bodies and platforms, and technology and service providers from all over the world) took the responsibility to establish and drive a set of commonly agreed principles – by the industry, for the industry – to raise and maintain the level of trust with consumers. And one of the results was the standardized shop-mode switch on mobile devices.
Let’s get back to March 2014. The time to act is now. We encourage companies to join the Consumer Engagement Principles initiative of The Consumer Goods Forum, facilitated by Capgemini. Find out more by contacting email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.