eSome retailers continue to think of mobile as just another channel to engage with consumers. But this outlook can be dangerous, keeping retailers focused more on sales attribution than providing a seamless shopping experience at every point of the customer journey.
A good mobile strategy bridges the gap between digital and physical shopping, at the same time empowering consumers to access their favorite brands on multiple channels and providing a unified experience on each. Convenience and consistency delights today's digitally-savvy shopper, leading to higher conversion and increased loyalty. Mobile gives brands the opportunity to turn the casual visitor into a loyal customer.
One of the best demonstrations that mobile is not just another channel is by looking at how consumers use smartphones in retail. According to Forrester Research, 40% of consumers use mobile to research products, yet a majority of those same consumers are most likely to make their purchases in-store or online. Mobile actually influences 21% of total retail sales - that's $628–$752 billion!
Retailers can leverage mobile to drive shoppers into local stores, if offering the right mobile app features. By providing consumers with demo videos and product details, retailers can turn their app-using audience into product experts themselves, arming them with info that inspires them to make purchasing decisions. Offering users app-exclusive coupons or informing app users of flash sales at their favorite nearby store via location-based push notifications and user-targeted banners can assist retailers in building loyal relationships with their customers.
Innovations in the market (think Wearables) mean that mobile is no longer limited to just smartphones and mobile apps. The market is growing, from headphones to smart watches to jewelry. A seamless integration of these new devices into retailer’s existing mobile strategy is not only forward-thinking; it can create new mobile moments that prove timing and context are as important as a retailer's products themselves.For example, a well-placed beacon by a product that is on sale can trigger a notification on the passing shopper's Apple Watch.
Retailers who manage their app content with a mobile platform are able to offer a variety of customer-pleasing features through partner integrations. Two of the most significant revenue drivers are integratoins with the retailer's loyalty program and private-label credit card. Plastic versions of these cards not only cost retailers millions of dollars each year, but they aren't appreciated by customers, either. They are either forgotten or purposely left at home for themore convenient (but still not frictionless!) option of having the store associate perform a phone number or e-mail address lookup. Digital versions of loyalty and credit cards, however, are stored in one central place on the customer's most personal device - their phone. Even more importantly, these digital integrations allow customers instant access to their account balance, points to next reward, and redeemable coupons & offers.
Smart retailers don't think of mobile as just another channel, but as it working holistically within the entire model. This approach can catapult retailers to great levels of success.