Mobile devices are now officially the most pervasive pieces of technology in consumers’ personal possession, as well as the most used piece of technology by consumers in a high percentage of contexts.
For example, consumers can use mobile technologies both inside and outside stores to consume information and discover ideas. Retail stores in bustling cities are often full of active smartphone users, sometimes engaged directly in buying from retailers- or their competitors- through an alternate POS on a company website or affiliate partner site. eMarketer reports that 38% of consumers use smartphones in stores (but not in a specific aisle where desired products are); meanwhile, 44% use them in the actual aisle.
Mobile technologies essentially tie together the entire consumer-retailer communication effort. Combined with the rise of social media and the innovations that have connected the entire customer experience in one centralized hub, mobile has brought on the final stage of a move toward a more customer-centric universe, completely altering retail marketing strategies on a global scale.
Here are four tactics retailers can implement to take full advantage of their mobile efforts.
While the potential for remoteness between stores and customers has increased due to technology, the modern retail effort is still heavily connected to brick and mortar stores and what companies accomplish at their live POS.
More importantly, mobile marketing allows companies to take advantage of geo-targeting. Geo-targeting tailors efforts to local trends, culture and customs, reminding customers of the advantages of shopping locally. Geo-targeting is connected across various potential paths to the cash register; IP addresses and other online information gathered via WiFi can be used to target key customers in the store’s locale via the web.
And with new advances in omnichannel customer data collection solutions, mobile campaigns are more precise than ever, offering first adopters of geo-targeting the chance to gain an immediate advantage over other stores. GPS triangulation even allows retailers to target consumers with the opportunity to download apps for discounts or engage in games that result in rewards.
Maximize in store sales
In addition to bringing more customers into the store, mobile marketing based on the proper insights can also perfect the timing of company offers based on shopper trends, as well as the message accompanying those offers and the medium used to send them. Relevant, customized, personalized offers based on insights gained from past testing of customer segmentation can transform your mobile campaigns into major sources of ROI by syncing wishes with purchase fulfillment.
One approach is to make offers exclusive to in store purchasing. If retailers know when consumers are in or near a store, they can offer them an instant, on-the-spot discount to inspire purchase. And every purchase creates another opportunity to upsell, cross-sell or offer bundles for shoppers. Between the timeless ongoing “couponing” craze and the new potential for flexibility allowed by mobile devices, leveraging tablets and smartphones for instant gratification campaigns has never been easier.
Build out extensive loyalty programs
The approach of fostering brand advocacy is time-tested and well-proven. Brand evangelists control the number one ingredient in encouraging ROI from existing customers: brand loyalty. Loyal customers require nurture and reward and are inherently more likely to both purchase from your brand and pass along positive opinions of who you are and what you have to offer. Branderati reports that customer-to-customer word of mouth generates more than two times the sales of paid advertising. Also, customers that are referred by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate. A good word of mouth recommendation is the primary factor behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions.
Mobile devices bring consumer loyalty into the future with capabilities such as a mobile loyalty program which can be as simple as a 15-second sign up process that requires the first and last name, the mobile and email address as is the case with PUMA in Singapore. It can also be in the form of a downloaded mobile app onto smartphones or other mobile devices and saving individual customers’ loyalty identification info directly to their mobile device. These possibilities allow consumers to access these cards as needed, providing a whole new approach to purchasing flexibility.
Furthermore, mobile-focused loyalty programs enhance already existing online loyalty programs and encourage companies without online operations to pursue them. Integrating mobile with the most active customers means better data driven by real-time feedback for more powerful insights in the most important consumer contexts.
Enhance delivery systems
In a world where Amazon and eBay are a major part of shoppers’ lives, consumers seek convenience in purchasing at every turn. The more retailers can decrease the hassle and costs associated with shipping, the more they can compete for consumer attention.
Most of the issues surrounding shipping have to do with inventory management and tracking. Customers can be turned into advocates or become negative about brands depending solely on how well or poorly companies deliver products and whether or not that delivery meets or exceeds expectations. While shipping lacks the rigors of ongoing back and forth communication via standard channels, everything from the packaging and presentation of the receipt to the sophisticated tracking of the item can play into customer perception of the item they receive and everything associated with it.
Mobile helps address several of the most important aspects of shipping: managing inventory, tracking efficiently and keeping customers in the loop on their delivery time. There’s nothing worse than receiving a Christmas gift the day after New Year’s with no apology from the company responsible; conversely, an easy, on-time delivery can solidify a customer’s trust for years to come.
Janet Jaiswal is VP of Marketing at Capillary Technologies.