When it comes to shopping, the smartphone is king. If you are like me, all your purchase decisions flow through your smartphone, which enables users to research purchases via the internet and through social media apps. In fact, a recent Telemetrics study reports that 42% of consumers consider their smartphone the most important media resource for making a purchase decision. Mobile is and will continue to be key in brands’ marketing strategies. Here are several trends that should be taken into consideration when planning for a mobile presence and mobile advertising vehicle.
Showrooming is a problem:
For most brick-and-mortars, showrooming is a real problem. Showrooming is the practice of examining merchandise in a traditional retail store and then buying it online, usually for a lower price. According to comScore, 44% of smartphone users participate in showrooming. I myself am one of them. I recently went to a store to try on shoes and then bought them online at a lower price. I offered the store the chance to match the online price, but they declined. So I ordered the shoes from another retailer on my phone right there in THEIR store.
B&M stores need to realize that their competition is just one click away via a smartphone app. When it comes to competition, retailers no longer compete only against businesses within close geographic proximity. Bar code scanning apps like Shop Savvy and Scan Life can tell you where you can get the product cheaper, and e-commerce marketplace apps like Amazon make it easy to purchase products with just a few clicks because they store your credit card and shipping information.
Importance of omni-channel presence:
B&M stores must realize the importance of an omni-channel market presence. Creating a retail app can drive more sales and create a lasting retail experience for the user. When retailer Lululemon launched its first mobile app it was downloaded 274,000 times, and the app currently produces 80% of its online sales. Oakley’s app not only allows consumers to buy Oakley products but also creates a lasting retail experience by offering their primary target consumer surf and snow reports.
Technology has created ways for social media websites become direct response sites rather than just newsfeed sites. Twitter rolled out a Buy Now button that marketers can put in their tweets to drive sales interactions. Twenty-five diverse retailers including Home Depot and Burberry were the first to test it out. Buzzfeed and Tumblr are also rolling out similar options. When Facebook bought WhatsApp for $16 billion, it kicked off an interest in mobile message ad-serving technology. The future of sending mobile advertising messages specifically tailored to individual users is already upon us.
Importance of mobile technology:
Turning a store visit into a store sale is a whole new challenge because of smartphones. However, the use of smartphones can also help drive retail sales within the store. Here are some ways:
Death of the Salesperson:
According to Consumer Electronics, 58% of consumers prefer to look up information on their phones in a store rather than to talk to a sales associate. With this in mind, creating a smartphone-interactive shopping experience can help drive retail sales.
The retailer Hointer in Seattle is a clothing retailer that has a showroom which looks similar to a clothing website. Only one item of everything it sells is on display. Upon entering the store, they give customers a smartphone with an app that is used to scan a clothing item. The app displays sizes and color options for the consumer. The consumer can add the item to a virtual shopping cart. They can then chose a “fitting room” button. The smartphone will let them know which fitting room has the clothing they selected to try on. They can check out via the same smartphone. In the back storeroom, sales associates will shift through sizes and colors to get what the consumer selected and place them in either a fittingroom or bring them items to the cash register.
Kate Spade’s retail operation recently took the problem of showrooming and turned it around by creating interactive window shopping displays in unoccupied storefronts. People walking by were able to use a kiosk on the outside of the window that had information on all the items displayed in the window. The person could then order anything from the window by entering their mobile number. A text was sent to the person to confirm a delivery address. The items were delivered within 24 hours (for free) to the person, and payment was made at the time of delivery using a smartphone.
Retail brick-and-mortar stores need to offer the customer an easy and seamless payment process. Square introduced a product to that allows the smartphone to make credit card transactions. We have all seen this at the Apple store, where every salesperson becomes a personal check out for the consumer. I was recently impressed when I ordered pizza delivery and was able to pay using my credit card when the delivery guy showed up and had a smartphone equipped with Square.
More consumers are starting to use a mobile wallet. This is a new technology that stores your credit card information in your phone so you never have to carry your credit cards again. Retail stores are equipped with a program that can read the info from your phone just by swiping your phone. Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Square Wallet are the most popular services. Starbucks Passbook uses the same technology as the mobile wallets to allow consumers to make payments via their smartphones. The app stores customer purchase history and is used to offer loyalty rewards and coupons based on those purchase habits.
Innovated by Apple’s iBeacons, beacon technology allows SMS push messages to be sent to smartphones based on their GPS location. Many sports stadiums are using this technology to send messages to people inside the stadium based on their location, such as a message about how to get to your seat or to give a coupon for a food deal at a nearby concession stand. The Golden State Warriors saw a 69% increase in revenue from seat upgrade push messages using beacon technology.