4 sure-shot ways to attract mobile shoppers

Mobile devices, the offspring of inspiring technology have been a revolution since their inception and continue to undergo further evolution with the daily advancement in technology. Even today, there is something new happening every year when it comes to mobile technology. The number of mobile users has also increased exponentially over the last few years. Mobile devices have penetrated into the lives of the masses and have percolated to an extent where the first thing most people do when they wake up is check their mobile phones. Such is the power and influence of this technology that it has disrupted many industries and the retail sector has been the one to feel it the most.

The mobile disruption in retail has given rise to a new breed of shoppers who are commonly known as ‘mobile shoppers’. These are the kind of customers who are always on the go and their mobile phone is their go-to device to cater to most of their activities including shopping. As mobile penetration increases further, so will the number of mobile shoppers and retail businesses must be able to grab a share of this incremental customer base. Below are 4 sure-shot ways retail brands can attract mobile shoppers:

  • Mobile channel for shopping: Retail organizations must ensure proper integration of mobile commerce or m-commerce into their business. This acts as an additional channel for retailers to extend their reach as well as be available to shoppers’ on-the-go. Some ways of implementing mobile commerce would be by having a mobile friendly/responsive shopping website or downloadable mobile apps.
  • Mobile engagement: Another technique by which retailers can expand their brand presence and reach larger audiences is by planning and implementing engagement strategies to cater to their mobile customers. There are various avenues that retailers can use such as mobile ads, sms, calls, and more to be on top of their customers’ and prospects’ minds.
  • Mobile payments: Revolutionizing the traditional payment methods through secure mobile payments is something retail companies must certainly consider. As mobile shoppers are highly mobile savvy, allowing them to pay using their handheld devices will be much appreciated by them as it enhances the payment experience while shopping.
  • Mobile based geo-marketing: Location based marketing is an excellent opportunity for retailers to promote their brands to mobile shoppers. Mobile devices have made it easy for retailers to enable shoppers to locate the nearest store or to send them notifications about the new or promotional offers within a particular region.

Consumers are increasingly spending more time on their mobile phones and an increasing number of shoppers are turning to mobile before any other channel. In order to make the most of this scenario, retailers must use the right mobile technology and think of ways to create and deliver lasting ‘mobile first’ experiences.

360-degree view of the customer in omni-channel retail

Customers may use various retail touch points to purchase products and to contact a company for service and support. Companies can get a complete view of their customers by aggregating data from such touch points to acquire a 360-degree view of the customer.

Technologies such as mobile devices, online communities, social media platforms, and more, has resulted in a boom in the number of touch points for customer interaction. Without the right tools, this can pose a serious challenge in aggregating the data from the many diverse interactions that the customers may have across channels.

ETP blog - 360 degree customer view

Nowadays, retail businesses can employ an increasing assortment of tools to obtain a 360-degree customer view to gather customer information – social media listening tools to listen to what customers are saying on various social media sites, predictive analytics tools to determine what customers may research or purchase next, customer relationship management suites to track the customers’ buying history and to reward them, and marketing automation software to offer a seamless, unified omni-channel shopping experience to the customers. Such software should have the ability and the interface to integrate with other applications to enable data sharing and attain a cohesive, up-to-date, accurate view of customers in the real-time.

The 360-degree view of customers also often requires a big data analytics strategy to marry structured data, or data that can reside in the rows and columns of a database, with unstructured data as it resides on social media platforms and so forth is becoming increasingly important.

Mobile Technology Redefining Retail

Recently, Flipkart – India’s leading e-commerce marketplace offering over 15 million products cross 70+ categories, announced it would convert into a mobile app-only format within the year. Flipkart’s mobile traffic was at 6% a year ago, but it has increased more than 10 Times since then. The move makes sense as India is the third-largest internet market in the world with more than 243 million users, trailing China and the US in that order. Boston Consulting Group expects more than 580 million people in India to use the internet by 2018, 70-80% of them accessing the web on mobile phones.

Mobile technology has brewed exponential change in retail operations. We dive deeper into the main and most successful components of the same:

Mobile Point Of Sale (mPOS) technology has removed physical limitations on a sale check-out and created more in-store floor space. mPOS technology empowers the in-store staff to use wireless, intuitive mobile and tablet applications to accept payments on the spot. For example, the ETP MobileStore MPOS application integrates in-store item record, customer data, sales person information, product barcodes and multiple payment transactions with electronic invoice capability. This enables features like queue busting, mobile CRM, easy customer/inventory lookup, price check, quick customer service, customer registrations and promotions gratification. mPOS reduces walk-outs and reverses the trend of small basket check-outs through up/cross selling, based on personalized customer profile and secure, faster modes of payments.

Beacon is a hardware technology of nominal cost and it is small enough to be installed anywhere in the store. This battery-friendly device uses Bluetooth to transmit messages or prompts to smartphones and tablets around the store location. With the requisite permissions, beacons integrate with the company’s analytics software and access the customer’s buying history. The messages can be targeted according to past sales, current customer location, average time spent in the store, and more. It seamlessly combines the data captured from both online and physical store, directing online preferences to the retail store. According to customer research, 63% of respondents can be persuaded to enter a store by a push notification sent to their smart device via beacon technology.

The mobilization of shopping with m-commerce has grown exponentially across the world due to the swift adoption of smart mobile devices. The unique selling point remains the convenience of shopping anywhere, any time with multiple payment options. Big data analytics has helped retailers fuel their mobile marketing strategies through data-driven insights. It has helped brands reach consumers who cannot access conventional retail touch-points.

Macy’s became the Retailer of the Year 2014 by embracing image recognition, beacons, mobile wallets and event-driven mobile commerce, bringing added convenience and excitement to the shopping experience in a way few other retailers can match. Mobile technology would continue to thrive, develop and stimulate retail transformations that evolve the customer experience. In the near future, models like social media retail, virtual showrooms and 3D printed customization are going to head the next stage of change.

Shopping Today Is A Highly Social Activity

Leveraging social media to enhance customer engagement
– Rudi Steffens
ETP blog social shopping

I am writing this as a father, husband and retail industry professional. Today, people are connected through several different mediums and channels and businesses are no different. The lines between personal and business connections are blurred and sometimes even non-existent.

Social media is the new super power of buying and selling. If I want to know about a product, I go online and in most cases use the social media portals. I don’t just want to know what my friends think about a product, I want to know what the world thinks! The more information I can get my hands on, the more informed choice I can make. I want to walk into a store, pay for my product and walk out. I can do all of this today because of social media.

Consider these facts from Internet Retailer’s Newly Released 2015 Social Media 500

The top 500 online merchants –

  • boosted their collective number of Facebook Likes 33% in 2014 to 915.7 million
  • grew their Twitter followings 26% to 88.6 million
  • increased their Pinterestfollowers 16% to 34.7 million
  • 78% more video views on YouTube for a total of 3.89 billion

Mobile technologies enable retailers to offer in-store discounts to shoppers who are checking prices online while at the store. Customers expect stores to have apps that help with aisle navigation, product location within the store and quick product pick-up. Video chats on smartphones in brick-and-mortar stores enable shoppers to have a live chat with product experts and not have to wait for a shop assistant to become available. Free in-store Wi-Fi encourages this updated shopping experience. The ongoing convergence of the in-store and online shopping experiences continue to present both a challenge and an opportunity for retailers. When it comes to embracing social selling, those with the right technologies in place to meet and even exceed the customers’ growing expectations are sure to be rewarded for their efforts.

The question is, what can the retailer do to make me come to them and purchase a product?

They could make my choice easy. I want to be proactively informed about new products which are linked to e-commerce and m-commerce channels. These mediums need to be user-friendly and should have my profile saved with the option to secure and save my payment options for quick checkouts. Remember my kids’ birthdays and remind me about Valentine’s Day. Know what I bought last time and recommend something new, based on my buying history and feedback. If I feel the offerings are curated as per my taste and desires, I am sure to come back for more.

Lastly, service with a smile and with value-driven choice.