Smartphones and other mobile devices are taking over the world, so to speak, and have been for some time. It is no surprise, then, that retailers are looking to the platform as a new channel to drive business. It is likely that the mobile platform represents the future of retail, so it is important to utilize the growing number of opportunities the mobile world presents. Here are some tips for retailers on using mobile tools and opportunities.
One of the main things driving shoppers to get their smartphones out while shopping in-store is product research. Most prevalently, they are comparing the price of your items to the price of those same items in your competitor’s stores. With this knowledge, you can implement a strategy that involves competitor price-matching and price adjustments on the fly. Embracing the fact that your consumers are checking the competitors prices on the spot, and adapting appropriately, will help you capture sales that would otherwise be lost, and possibly up-sell or cross-sell accordingly.
In addition to researching prices, your customers are also researching general product information. This information can range anywhere from product specs to reviews from other shoppers who have purchased the item in question. You may think that your store employees can provide the same information as Google can, but it turns out that customers would rather search online than consult with any specialists you have on staff. This may be due to the perception that they’ll find an unbiased opinion from an online search, but it holds true nevertheless.
The way to take advantage of this fact is to make it easy for customers to find information on your products online. Make sure your website is optimized for viewing on a mobile device, and think about implementing a social media campaign to drive everyday consumers to become champions of your retail establishment. In addition, utilizing Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a method of online marketing that pushes your results to the top of popular search engines through the use of frequently searched keywords and terms, will ensure that your shoppers are finding the right information.
Another reason smartphones are often used in the retail environment is that your shoppers are looking for sales or promotions. Many retailers are utilizing the mobile channel for these sorts of offers, making sure that they are accessible online and even through social media. A lot of interaction via social media—a very quick and reliable form of communication—takes place on mobile devices, so it makes sense that a mobile campaign would be intertwined with a social media campaign.
Various tried-and-true promotional methods can and have been adapted for use in the mobile channel. For example, text message coupons can be sent to a subscriber list, offering various deals for presenting the text message at checkout. This is just one example; many more opportunities present themselves in the form of dedicated apps, partnerships, and special mobile-only deals.
Shoppers are already researching your products and taking advantage of your promotions with their mobile phones. Why not bring the mobile experience end-to-end? Technology is now available that makes payments via smartphones possible, and it’s easy to get started with.
From using a smartphone as a credit card processor to the potential of a mobile wallet, the possibilities are ever expanding. Ensuring that your retail establishment is prepared to accept these and other forms of mobile payment is essential in keeping with the evolution of retail shopping. All you need to do is set up an account with a company that will process mobile payments, and you can integrate your mobile strategy into nearly every aspect of the in-store experience for your customers.
An integrated mobile strategy is a great way to take advantage of the opportunities mobile-savvy shoppers present, while effectively battling “showrooming” (the act of visiting a store to check out products, then purchasing them online) and price checking. Mobile influence in retail is not going away, and with these tips, you can ensure that your environment evolves with the retail market and your customers are always happy.
Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, providing retail payment processing solutions for merchants of all sizes. She brings more than 15 years of experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management, and marketing to the company and also serves on its Board of Directors.