Mobile Is Eating Retail: How Technology Can Enhance Online and In-store Shopping.
There’s no denying that mobile is growing like crazy – 80 percent of online adults in the United States now have smartphones and reach for them 120 times a day. So it’s no wonder these pocket devices are changing the way people shop, and brick-and-mortar retailers are beginning to adopt ways in which to capitalize on consumers’ mobile usage.
Remember Veruca Salt as she sings in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: “I want it now.” Mobile raises the stakes, we want information instantly, thanks to Google. And we want shopping to be easy – hello one-click shopping carts. This creates a huge gap in between what consumers want and what retailers can actually deliver both online and in store. The ability for a retailer to close this gap is a sure way to excel and grow as a brand.
People browse on their phones before they shop in a store.
When it comes to online shopping, a report has shown 70 percent happens on desktops, 20 percent on smartphones and 10 percent on tablets. On top of that, smartphone conversions are only a quarter to one-third of desktop conversion. What does this mean? As many as 90 percent of smartphone users window-shop on their phones. They’re sitting on the sofa on a Thursday watching TV and also checking out microwaves on their phone before either heading out Saturday morning to make a purchase or logging on to their desktop to complete the purchase.
Search is local and mobile.
Retailers have to place themselves in a customer's shoes. What is the primary information they’re looking for via a mobile search?
*Location - Make it easy for shoppers to find the closest location. If there are hundreds of locations, it can take a bit of effort to keep all of this information up to date. It’s worth that investment.
*Hours - Consumers want to know if a store is open right now. If they drive to the store at 7:00 p.m. on a Saturday evening and realize its closed when the website said it would be open - that customer is most likely never coming back.
*Distance - How far away is this location from where I am right now? Customers look for convenience.
*Offers - Shoppers appreciate offers when walking into a location, or even special discounts or promo codes when purchasing online.
Retailers must also learn to play nicely with Siri. Just when you figured out Google, it’s all changing. According to Google I/O, 20 percent of Google searches are voice-activated and the car is the place where people are mostly like to use the voice-activated mode to search for something or get directions somewhere.
The amazing potential digital and mobile offers is the ability to make customers feel human and special. Personalization is the greatest thing a store can provide to customers, but it takes a bit of data wrangling to make it happen. The more personalized an experience can be, within the context of a customer’s location, the greater customer service provided which leads to a greater potential to create loyal customers.
Mobile is changing the in-store experience.
According to the Google Shopper Marketing Agency Council and M/A/R/C Research, 84 percent of smartphone shoppers use their phones while in a physical store. How can retailers take advantage of this behavior?
*Send coupons for a discount on in-store purchases.
*Reward customers for providing a phone number or email with a discount on day of purchases or throw in a free gift.Offer an in-store directory so shoppers can make lists in an app and then switch to “store” mode to find which aisle their items are located.
Mobile-equipped devices not only enhance the shopping experience for consumers, but also make salespeople more helpful. When a sales associate has a mobile device, they can check inventory with RFID tags or see if another location has a wanted item in stock. They can also review a customer’s buying history and suggest items the shopper may like, or walk with a customer throughout the store, letting them pay on the spot for each item. By focusing on optimizing the mobile experience for consumers and utilizing this technology to the store’s advantage, retailers are truly improving the shopping experience on a whole. This is technology at its best: helping enhance the human connection.
GK Parish-Philp is co-founder of Shopswell. GK has an extensive background in full-stack web, iOS and Android mobile application development. He has more than 10 years of lead product management experience under his belt, and has built a number of products in the publishing, marketing and e-commerce industries including DivX, mp3.com and Stage6.
1. TechCrunch 1/12/15.
2. Recode.com 6/7/16