Conversations about leveraging customer data often center on mobile and online tactics; however, the data that retailers collect is a powerful tool that can and should be leveraged to lift in-store sales. You just have to have the right strategy in place.
Mobile Is Actually Local
Mobile usage has changed the game for retailers. Smartphones and tablets have created an entirely new means of engaging customers in the shopping experience. Many retailers focus only on the mobile purchase itself, without considering the ways in which shoppers are actually using their devices. Much mobile browsing actually happens in-store. This phenomenon is known as “showrooming.” Customers visit a store to see merchandise in person, and then use their mobile device to locate the best possible price. Shoppers also use mobile devices on the go to locate stores that have the items they are looking for.
Retailers must find ways to capture shoppers’ attention on mobile and then keep their attention through the purchase. This means using mobile browsing and shopping data to create unique in-store experiences to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping seamlessly.
Who is Using Data To Boost In-Store Sales The Right Way?
Recently, Retail Systems Research reported that 80 percent of retailers fear that their in-store sales will decline unless they find new and innovate ways to incorporate mobile into the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Forward-thinking retailers are leveraging that fear into action. Some of the most prominent examples of leveraging mobile for in-store sales include:
- Walgreen’s attributes 15 percent of its photo-printing revenue to mobile devices, according to Forrester Research.
- The automotive retailer Pep Boys has created a robust mobile app that transfers to a new in-store digital experience.
- Sephora and Ikea have developed mobile apps that give customers instant access to past purchases, location-based deals and in-store navigation tools to help them locate the products they want.
- Adidas uses location extensions to direct shoppers to nearby stores and provides instant location-based offers.
The key to using mobile to enhance in-store sales is to realize that mobile is not an island unto itself. Retailers must learn the ways customers use mobile, and then leverage those preferences to draw the customers into the store. A positive mobile experience can be the hook that delivers shoppers to the physical checkout line.
Going Hyper Local Through Mobile
To facilitate “in-store mobility” retailers must develop applications that are easy to access and simple to navigate, yet robust enough to guide shoppers through the in-store experience. The features of successful, localized mobile initiatives include:
- A Dedicated Mobile App: It’s not enough to have a mobile-friendly website. A full-featured app that incorporates shopping, a loyalty program, and personalized offers are essential.
- Store Navigation: Also called “wayfinding,” this in-app feature helps shoppers locate the product they want based upon the store they are in. Not all stores are laid out the same way, so this GPS-like feature directs them where they want to go quickly and easily.
- In-Store Offers: Another in-app feature, in-store offers alerts shoppers to deals in the store, or even in the department where they are currently standing.
- In-store Wi-Fi: The days of unlimited data packages are gone. To encourage shoppers to use the store’s mobile application, many retailers offer free Wi-Fi.
- Location extensions: Utilizing these extension in search ads directs users to a “store locator” page to drive mobile searchers to the nearest store.
It is important to remember that the mobile experience does not exist in a silo. Customers use mobile to enhance their shopping experience and the right mobile strategy allows retailers understand customer behavior intimately, and then leverages that data to boost in-store sales. Retailers that can step out of the mindset that mobile is mobile and local is local will be poised to build lasting relationships across many customer segments.