Where do you feel that retail and mobile connect? It varies depending on your location in the world, shopping habits, and mobile device. There are many intersections between the two industries and their technologies, and innovation is ongoing by start-ups that are working in that area for some time now. Utilizing mobile during a shopping trip is becoming a common practice in the markets where most consumers have a mobile device. The smartphone penetration is over 50% in 6 markets around the world, based on figures from eMarketer. The global growth in over 50% penetration is expected to continue in the US and Canada, Asia and Western Europe in the next three years.
The mobile device has become part of the shopping experience to many. Some might simply take notes and save details to a notepad, others might take a picture of the product or price. The price and promotion is critical in the decision in all regions, regardless of the economic improvements in some regions like the US. The location based apps such as Yelp and Foursquare were popular to many, from the small business to the larger retailer for reviews, deals and recommendations. There is also Shopkick, which similar to Foursquare provides points and rewards for simply checking in or walking into the retail store location. Will this address the gloom and doom of many in retail? It requires more, as many are looking for the reviews and pricing or perhaps their specific color or size for a particular item. That is when the ball is in the retailer’s court. Where and how can they display their products, how they engage the mobile consumers in their store, from SMS and Location based apps, to simply Wi-Fi connectivity in their store with their mobile shopping site as the home page. Beyond the retailer, there are many other apps to compare the prices in online and other channels. These include but are not limited to: RedLaser, ShopSavvy, ShopAdvisor and PriceGrabber to name a few.
Identical to overall marketing, there is push and pull marketing options in the mobile world as well. Push based marketing might be the products featured to scan for points on Shopkick. The introduction of a new product or service through a specific program or reward on a broader one such as Foursquare. There is also pull messaging options, such as asking the consumers to text a specific phrase and then the local deal based on their GPS information will be returned to their mobile device. Discounts tend to be a key attraction to draw a customer to visit your store and make a purchase. The channels for that mobile message vary and include three main types of discounts and deals: SMS, QR Codes, Apps. Each one of these should be considered in the integrated mobile marketing strategy. Not every consumer has the same user behavior on the mobile device and the device, product interests and purchasing trends are different.
Real time is a requirement in the shopping experience today. The shopper might be researching, recommending or actually buying. It is possible to learn insights from previous customers and shoppers on their mobile device in a real time experience. It also provides alternatives to the retailer that you are visiting at the time. If you can find the same product on Amazon, Overstock , Zappos and many other popular online retailers, what is the benefit of buying it at your local store? There is the customer experience- from the ability to try on the clothing or shoes at that very moment, or ask questions or opinion from others who are working in the store. Clearly the retailers should take charge of the mobile channel and experience for their inventory and experiences, or the many other options in mobile will take that impression. In order to be successful, the content and context of the campaign must align with your customers, and your overall marketing strategy. It should integrate with the mobile device in the same manner that they can with your credit card based on the knowledge of your location, purchasing patterns and marketplace/retail environment.
Where is the relationship between mobile and retail for you? What is your preferred experience? Favorite deals or information that you found? Share your experiences!