This is an updated post originally posted November 2014
90% of consumers are using their mobile devices in-store, we know this to be a fact. They’re checking out the competition, comparing prices, and reading reviews. Top brands are privy to this fact and are doing what they can to keep consumers shopping with them, whether online or off.
Nordstrom, an American upscale fashion retailer headquartered in Seattle, blends its online and offline worlds with in-store technology that emphasizes social sharing on Pinterest. They developed an internal iPad app that lets salespeople view the most popular Pins and match those items with inventory levels by store and department. The app made it easy for salespeople to show customers trending products and merchandise on floors each week.
They also attached signage -- tags, cards and clips -- with the Pinterest logo to dresses, handbags and shoes that received the most engagement on Pinterest. According to Pinterest, initial feedback was so great that they opened more stores across the West Coast, Midwest and East Coast of the United States. This kind of immersive shopping experience is exactly what the retail market -- and the tech-savvy consumer wants.
In order to stay relevant in today’s evolving eCommerce market, we suggest an eCommerce business with a brick-and-mortar location implement the following.
Omni-channel Commerce. Blending Online and Offline Retail Experiences
Make it easier for consumers to find what they want. This can be done by developing a curated inventory that salespeople on the floor are much more in tune with. “I saw this online but wanted to see if you had it in store” is a perfect example of what a customer may ask.
Did you know that a recent Google study on mobile shopping found that 82% of shoppers say they consult their phones about a purchase they’re about to make in-store? For the sake of efficiency, there should be screens located throughout the store that the sales associate could use to find the referenced product. Or even better, create an app with an interactive in-store map that allows customers to locate items on their own.
And with MarketingLand stating that 2016 was the year of webrooming, it may be time to update your digital marketing strategy.
Target Your Buyer Personas with Personalized Geo Conquesting
Ever heard of geo conquesting? The mobile marketing tactic is used by businesses to target their ideal customers whilst in a competitor’s store. This is done with location based mobile ads and mostly through social media. The idea is to direct the targeted buyer from the competition to their store.
Any business whether online store, brick-and-mortar or omni-channel should have buyer personas set in place. This can help them determine and brainstorm what types of offers might appeal to them, thus being able to leverage it with personalized ads.
Give Beacons a Chance
The incorporation of beacons, small units that use Bluetooth technology to transmit signals to mobile devices, enables consumers to opt-in to receive customized messages from retailers, including product details, exclusive coupons, and other targeted offers to a user’s mobile phone, based on their geographical location.
While beacons were all the rage a few years ago, the excitement of the technology has dulled a bit. However, there are many brands such as Macy’s, Apple and Sephora that have found them to be useful.
Retail Systems Research published a study in February 2016 and found that almost a quarter to US retailers had experimented with beacons and were satisfied with the results. Additionally four in 10 retailers surveyed found beacons to provide value.
While not every business is as big as Apple, medium sized businesses can still leverage beacon technology to offer a personalized in-store experience.
Contextual offers: Send useful product information and personalized in-store offers to specific to where they’re browsing.
Data backed Incentives: Leverage a customer’s purchase history to suggest products, add-ons and complimentary gifts.
Self-Service: Provide customers with the ability to scan in-store items and add them to a digital shopping cart.
Bridging the Online, Offline Gap
Today’s consumers expect a more state-of-the-art shopping experience, regardless of which channel they choose to interact with. Having an eCommerce business and brick and mortar location allows omni-channel retailers the opportunity to leverage mobile engagement better than ever before.