It’s less about just having a mobile-optimized website and/or an application, and it’s more about what the site does and the purpose the app serves. It’s thinking beyond the site or app, and using ecommerce to make the most of the convergence of mobile and retail.
It’s no secret that 2013 has already found a spike in mobile purchases from ecommerce sites and apps, but some retailers have really found success in the space, while others seem to just be in the space. Using the concept of design thinking, it is key for retailers to hone in on why customers are using mobile and how they are connecting with the retailers. It’s about discovering motivations and expectations, then delivering (bringing it back to marketing 101).
When it comes to this beautiful blending of retail and mobile, there are three main opportunities that, if executed properly, can lead to great success in the space.
1. Convenience. Mobile devices are associated with convenience because they are, well, mobile and convenient. So for a retailer to be successful, their mobile strategy should include providing an added layer of convenience and not making anything more complicated. Retailers are implementing functionalities such as curbside pick-up and receipts being loaded directly onto mobile devices (no searching when needing to return items). Mobile users are expecting retailers to be tech-friendly and mobile savvy as the rule, not as the exception.
2. Loyalty. Smart shoppers want perks. They want to save money and be rewarded for being brand loyal, or simply for just choosing to spending their money with a specific retailer. By adding to an existing loyalty program, or creating a new one focused on mobile, retailers can provide an easier way for consumers to “carry” their loyalty cards and find discounts while shopping in-store. As an example, check out the Staples app, that allows users to, not only link a rewards card, but also invites users to check-in at stores for perks and check the local circular (online through the app) for deals. Rather than the old mentality of, “Oh you don’t have your coupon with you? Sorry,” the new thought has transformed into, “If you download our app and login, you can access your deals.”
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3. Empowerment. The power of spending and marketing is with the people, and not with the marketer. Mobility allows consumers to make their own decisions without a hard sell and whenever they are ready to make the purchase. Retailers can benefit from this empowerment by providing real-time information through mobile sites and apps and ensuring that shoppers receive quick and helpful answers to questions in real-time. This can be achieved through a live or automated chat option, a designated social media space for questions, or a crowd-sourced, easy-to-navigate user-generated FAQ section.
In the future, all retailers might have to deploy a mobility strategy on some level to keep up with the demands of consumers and mobile shoppers. For now, being convenient, providing incentives, and empowering the consumer will foster a successful mobility strategy.
Check out the Mobile Commerce Guide for more tips and tricks on staying or becoming relevant in the mobile space.