Mobile retail is not for the faint of heart. Today’s mobile device users are incredibly savvy shoppers. They honed their moves on the Internet and are now bringing them into physical stores.
For them, the retail experience begins well before they physically come inside a store. It might begin on a home computer, if they still have one, then move to a tablet and then a smartphone. In the process, they may also have taken input from friends on social media as well as from other retailers jumping in with offers and counter-offers of their own.
As a result, retailers which don’t start engaging these shoppers before they’re inside the store may very well lose the sale to someone that’s jumped in ahead of them.
While talking to executives and other people involved in mobile commerce for different major retailers in the United States, and hearing what they’ve done over the last two or three years to navigate this challenging new environment, a number of interesting patterns appears to emerge.
Even though the companies occupy very different niches, the lessons they’ve had to learn are, interestingly, largely the same.
Today’s retail experience begins long before the customer enters the store and often involves several different platforms. As result, retailers must provide customers with a seamless, multi-channel approach to keep them engaged through the entire experience. Customers are going to practise showrooming regardless of what physical retailers try to do. But, as long as retailers reasonably match competitors on price, customers will likely stick with whoever gives the best, most satisfying retail experience.
The more a retailer knows about its customers, the better. When it knows what they are buying or wanting to buy, what makes them happy or, even more importantly, what leaves them dissatisfied, the retailer will have an easier time gaining their loyalty and selling more.