Increasing use of smartphones has made life not only fast but also less complicated for both consumers and brands. Let’s see what trends retailers are adopting by making use of mobilisation to increase their profit margins
Mobile is exploding since today 70 percent of new phones are smartphones. Buying anything on phone is going main stream and more than half of the smartphone users use shopping apps these days. Like many other, retailers too are going mobile. Technology enhancements such as mobile RFIDs, mPOS, geo-fencing and digital coupons have contributed to improve in-store shopping experience. It is no longer a traditional shopping mode where customer’s relied on salesman for product information. The brick and mortar shopping today looks like more an online shopping experience. According to a research by Google, 84 percent of smartphone users use their phone while in a physical store, 90 percent use their phone for pre-shopping purposes, and 79 percent of smartphone owners are smartphone shoppers.
Customers now use their smartphones for performing pre-shopping research, gather information on a product through their mobile phones using RFIDs, looking for alternate products and stores selling the same brand, compare quality and prices. Today’s customer is buying a known brand. A report noted that mobile influence in retails sales is anticipated to grow exponentially in few years. However, contrary to this is the reality a retail industry survey reported – mobility influence as a threat to “brick and mortar” traditional business model. In fact, technology is providing innovative ways for retailers to seize opportunities.
Consumers, who are extensive mobile users, tend to shop more. Mobile phones have added an enormous convenience to their lives that helps them in saving time and money. More than half of the consumers today are using a smart phone for pre-shopping purposes, to find location and directions, search for promotional offers, find opening and closing hours, for reading product reviews, for in-store product research and browsing, to check and compare prices at other stores, to check other retail outlets and availability of the product and much more. At times, while in store, consumers walk out without even making a purchase as they get influenced by using their smartphones.
There are different categories of consumers – the one who checks all product information well few days in advance, explores stores and rates and then goes and buys a product. Another category is of those who go check on the Internet, walk into the store, walk out of the store, and buy online. Predicting a consumer’s behaviour had become a challenging task with the kind of transparency they have of all product sellers through their mobile phones. People are making their life less complicated and fast by using their smartphones, most of the consumers decide while on their way what to buy, from where to buy, and which offer to avail. Let’s see what trends are retailers adopting by making use of mobilisation to increase their profit margins.
Retailers are adopting ways of location-based marketing. One of the biggest retailers in the US has moved into full force geo fencing for location-based marketing. When the smartphone shoppers enter the digitally geo-fenced store, they are invited to switch to “store mode.” The store mode detects shopping list on their phones and shows them aisles where required products are located along with product price. These kind of mobile devices are proving to be a boon for brick and mortar environment as they are helping in multiplying and are improving the consumer’s in-store experience and making them feel delighted by providing interactive product demos and expert services from sales people.
USING MOBILE FOR UP-SELLING
It is not only the smartphone shoppers who are being benefited from mobile phone usage, store associates too are making their life simple and easy with boosting sales and meeting targets. Associates are also able to check product info, pricing, manufacturer, cross sell, up sell and more, locate a product in store, place out of stock orders, track orders – all with one device. They can also suggest on spot offer, issue coupons or even customize it by using their enterprise tools over the phone. The floor associates can check customer’s buying patterns and shopping history when they enquire about a product. It gives them an idea about the customer preferences and get more confident to pitch for sales. Associates can then offer complimentary products, guide them, assist them with showing the product, or help them watch product videos for better decision making too.
Though on the flip side, one of the biggest apparel brands has customized its stores to eliminate the sales staff. Whenever customers enter the store, they are invited to download an app through which if they scan the QR code tagged on the merchandise, the app directs them to changing room where choices are waiting for them. Though technology cannot eliminate the human essence and trust, many shoppers’ still rely on sales staff for assistance.
MOBILE-BASED APPS AND INTERACTIVE APPLICATIONS
Retailers are considering developing interactive applications and apps that can be made available on the mobile to educate a customer about the brand. For instance, an interactive brand magazine of an electronics manufacturer can be made available on smartphones and tabs that can detail or contain videos showing how a machine can be assembled, stored and used and when prospect customer accesses information of a product, the app also sends promotional offers to that customer.
As the consumer is becoming even more demanding, it is driving developments with agility for in-store technology. And this is just the beginning; there is a lot more to share that retailers can do to excel with mobilisation as mobile apps can be developed innovatively to accelerate business for them.