Mobile savvy shoppers of today use their devices to browse retailer offerings, look for discounts, check product reviews and compare products—whether on the bus back from work or in-person at the retail store. Mobile is no longer a mere accessory to augment the shopping process. It has now become an essential stop in the path to purchase.
Today, consumers are getting increasingly comfortable with using multiple devices and screens to complete their shopping. This, however doesn’t mean that in-store retail sales are suffering. The demand for increased mobile-enabled experiences inside stores is being driven by both consumers and retailers, who have recognized that smartphones can deliver a seamless shopping experience with timely and accurate responses, and consistent interactions. In fact, according to a recent research by Deloitte, the use of mobile devices before or during in-store shopping trips helped to convert approximately $593 billion in US in-store retail sales in 2013, compared with $159 billion in 2012.
Thus, it has now become highly essential for retailers to focus on using mobile to their advantage. This can be done by rethinking the offline shopping experience to meet the needs of mobile-empowered shoppers. Here are a few tips on how to do it the right way.
1. Integrate loyalty programs with your mobile retail app
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Retailers can offer their customers a highly personalized shopping experience by integrating their loyalty scheme with the mobile app. Sephora, a French chain of cosmetic stores, for example, recently integrated Beauty Insider, their loyalty program, with both the mobile app and Apple’s Passbook. This allows customers to view their loyalty card as it pops up on their phone once they are inside the store.
The app then lists out their previous purchases and wishlists. The customer can then present the app to the sales associate, who can then suggest other products that might work well with items that the customer had bought earlier. The cosmetic brand recently reported that around 80% of the 1 million shoppers who signed up for Apple’s Passbook are frequent shoppers with active Beauty Insider accounts.
2. Empower your sales associates with mobile
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Retailers can take advantage of upselling opportunities by empowering their associates with important customer information. For example, Neiman Marcus, a department store chain, recently released an app to facilitate communication between the customers and sales associates at the store. Not only does the app allow customers to browse and view upcoming promotions, but also lets them choose their favorite products and even ask for them to be placed in a dressing room ahead of their arrival at the store.
When it comes to sales associates, the app has tools designed to help them provide an unprecedented level of customer service. It allows them to view a shoppers’ online and in-store purchase history, thus helping them suggest items that might complement the previous purchases made by the shopper. Moreover it also notifies them when a preferred customer arrives in-store,along with a Facebook photograph of that customer.
3. Focus on enhancing customer experiences
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Mobile has become an integral part of a consumer’s shopping journey and retailers must react by encouraging the use of mobile in the store. Starbucks, the coffee shop group, for example identified three key mobile moments and then used those to target their shoppers accordingly. When a user checks the app to locate a Starbucks store nearby, it pinpoints their location and the directs them to the nearest cafe. Once they are in the store, waiting in line, the app pushes pushes out offer codes for music and movies. The coffee giant even developed their own payment app to speed up the process at the billing counter. With this level of engagement, the coffee giant saw their mobile interactions grow from 2 million per week in January 2013 to nearly 4 million per week in June the same year.
The above mentioned tips are sure to equip retailers to better address the needs of their mobile customers as they shop and help them leverage mobile technology to create compelling in-store experiences. Making mobile an integral part of the customer experience at every stage will not only increase the productivity of your sales associates and but also enhance the overall customer engagement at your store.