If you have been following along with us, we’ve just finished our first series here on The Mobile Retail Blog. A compilation of articles on digital retail, addressing concerns from mobile conversion to loyalty to customization.
Here’s a quick recap on what we’ve learned thus far:
Mobile devices have revolutionized the way consumers purchase and interact with a brand or retailer. Shoppers have now come to expect a complete personalized experience as soon as they walk into a store, by way of their smartphones: devices that offer 3D in-store maps, the ability to receive personal pricing from QR codes, and constant connectivity to social media. Retailers who get this are already ahead of the competition.
An omnichannel state of mind has disrupted the world of retail, but has also swung open doors for an influx of revenue from previously-unreached consumers. Nowadays, brands must tap into a slew of digital channels, including mobile, tablet and online, if they want to compete with other retailers for a share of customers’ wallets. Retailers who understand and implement an omnichannel strategy are already future-proofing their brand.
Loyalty & engagement
Consumers are looking for ways to connect with your brand and receive experiences that may eventually transform into rewards. While welcome offers are effective in inspiring that first download of your app, brands including Starbucks, Hilton, Sephora, and Walgreens are going the extra mile to give real utility and value to their mobile-connected customers. Their best practice strategies include allowing app users to be the first to test out new technologies, refill virtual prescriptions with the tap of a finger, and collect enough starred visits to warrant a free venti-sized beverage. A retailer can learn a lot from these best-in-class loyalty practices. An engaged, repeat customer will spend 60% more per transaction; and deliver 3x the value to a retailer over the course of a year.
Nowadays, fulfillment begins and ends on mobile, thanks to the endless browsing and research that consumers do while on-the-go – sometimes without even realizing they have begun the initial purchasing journey. This drastic shift toward pre-shopping on mobile has fueled a majority of major retailers to maximize their mobile apps and sites with easier navigation abilities and streamlined checkout. The final processes involved in order fulfillment – shipment and delivery – have also undergone big changes, due in part to consumers’ desire for instant gratification. Here's your chance to beat the likes of Amazon by creating a rich brand experience on the front-end, and leverage the physical locations of your stores for powerful, order fulfillment and returns on the back-end.
The do-it-yourself mentality possessed by so many consumers these days is paving the way for mobile self-service to take root in retail shops. Millennials especially prefer taking the reins on their own shopping experience, whether it be at home, online or on mobile. While some store associates may be wary of smartphones replacing their careers, these types of self-service options are generally designed to lighten the load by saving time for employees. Shoppers who have a quick question or are searching for an initial product recommendation can first turn to their personal devices for an answer, leaving more time for associates to help other individuals with more pressing issues.
Customization’s cardinal rule: If in doubt, add the option. It could be the very tool that snatches business from a competitor and places a new collective of consumers in your repertoire of loyal shoppers. According to a Forbes article, Having It Their Way: The Big Opportunity In Personalized Products, "if 25% of online sales of footwear were customized, that would equate to a market of $2 billion per year".
The future of retail might appear at first glance to be focused exclusively on technology, but that is not really the case. The future of retail is about the individualization of the shopping experience at every point along the journey, from initial need through to post-purchase. Technology allows this to happen in ways that it never could before.
Customization, portability, specificity, convenience, and reward – these elements bring consumers to the shop floor and the website. The big players do not have exclusive access to these techniques, but they should be considered as role models or business cases for your ongoing education and evolution.
The future of retail is very human indeed. The potential for successful connection has never been greater.
For those of you who may have missed the original articles or want to read them again, check them out here:
- Digital Retail: Why mobile is everyone’s favorite shopping companion
- Digital Retail: Omnichannel’s stake in driving top customer experiences
- Digital Retail: Why loyalty and engagement are mobile apps’ backbone
- Digital Retail: Why mobile grabs top-tier status in the order fulfillment chain
- Digital Retail: Why mobile self-service is first on brands’ wish lists
- Digitial Retail: Why mobile customization can make or break a purchase