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Industry Spotlight: Retail Mobility

Meeting consumer expectations in today’s omnichannel retail environment is a daunting prospect. Consumers expect you to know who they are, what their favourite products are, and they want personalised and relevant recommendations. Consumers also want to move seamlessly between online / in-store browsing, through to reservation, frictionless payment, and convenient collection or delivery. It's no wonder retailers are stressed about digital!

Industry Spotlight: Retail Mobility

Is Mobile a Threat?
While 2014 saw a lot of panic about show-rooming, according to the Washington Post the message to brick-and-mortar retailers should be that “Gadgets aren’t the enemy. In fact, with a great mobile site or app, your customer’s smartphone could be one your most powerful tools for boosting in-store sales”.

As illustrated in the Deloitte infographic below from their recent reportNavigating the new digital divide – Capitalizing on digital influence in retail”, shoppers who use digital while in-store convert at a 20% higher rate than those not using digital.

Deloitte

So far so good, however other research quoted in the Guardian shows that only 57% of consumers feel that retailers’ in-store and online channels are properly integrated. So rather than abandoning investment in the in-store experience in favour of on-line, this article from Adobe CMO.com sensibly suggests that retail brands should focus on “immersive brand experiences in-store and the shopper’s entire path to purchase, both online and offline”.

What seems obvious is that Mobile – because it bridges the online/offline gap – is the ideal channel for retailers to develop in order to truly integrate the path to purchase and maximise their ROI from digital.

With that in mind, here are 4 channes to harness the power of mobile for your business:

1. Retailer “Shop Floor” Apps

There are a number of ways that retailers can deploy “shop-floor apps” so your staff can showcase products, scan vouchers and loyalty cards, and obtain further information from customers . With floor space at a premium, augmented reality is a great way to demonstrate a wider range of options to customers and even complete the order there and then. So if the item is not in stock the sale is not necessarily lost which is a huge benefit to smaller stores who may not have the capacity to store all stock on-site.

Life Style Sports is a great example of a retail chain who are successfully using a shop-floor app to increase sales. According to Gordon Newman their eCommerce Manager, a tablet app is used by staff to check stock whilst on the shop floor with a customer, allowing them locate the item in the correct size and colour and then proceed to complete the order, capture delivery details, and take payment from the customer. A perfect example of integrated mobile commerce bridging the online / offline gap.

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2. Consumer Apps

A consumer app is an ideal complement to your SMS and Email marketing, allowing you to keep the customer updated and informed via push notifications and in-app messages. Think of the app as a “remote control” allowing the customer to manage their account settings, purchase and engage with you. Shoppers can scan products to access enhanced content (for example to enter a competition, for more information, or to add to a shopping list) using a scanner built into the loyalty app. You can even have an “in-store mode” so that when the customer is in-store it can welcome them with an in-app message and give them extra information and/or incentives.

The most important benefit of an app to both the customer and your business is that you know both WHO your app users are and WHERE they are, so you can personalise the information you provide to them whether that be coupons and discounts, or locally relevant events and VIP evenings. Another example of this is the Christmas offers app that Púca developed for Arnotts department store in Dublin which revealed daily free gifts that could be redeemed in-store, thereby driving footfall and differentiating the store from other retailers in the competitive Christmas period.

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3. SMS Messaging

SMS is a highly effective and low-cost way to “mobilise” your marketing and business processes. It boasts a 98% open rate (compared to 22% for email) and 90% of messages are opened and read within 3 minutes of delivery. SMS is useful both as an outbound messaging tool and also for inbound marketing – allowing you to leverage above the line advertising – in particular TV and radio. By simply sending a text message – e.g text RETAIL to 51500 – consumers can engage with you and opt in to future communications, alerts and offers.

On the operational side of things, SMS can be used for 2-factor authentication, product updates (e.g. “back in stock”), delivery notifications and “click and collect”, all of which ensure that the message gets through to the customer quickly and underline the reliability of your service.  Many companies are also using SMS to follow up on a transaction with a customer satisfaction (“Net promoter”) survey – to get a quick read on what the customer thinks of the service – and this is something we expect more retailers to adopt in the future.

4. Mobile Email

As we mentioned in a recent blog post email is the mobile popular app on smartphones, and over 50% of emails are being opened on a mobile device. So it’s vital that you ensure your emails can be easily read and formatted correctly for smaller-screen devices.

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Whilst email messages may not have the same ‘cut through’ as SMS (partly because of the sheer volumes of emails most people receive on a daily basis), its strengths are a greater ability to incorporate visual content and to provide more detailed information. A well timed email can always catch a customer’s eye, encouraging sales or better brand recognition.

Click here to contact us or request more information about Púca’s Intelligent Mobility solutions for Retailers.

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