How to make the most of mobile commerce
October brought a welcome rise in sales for retailers. According to the British Retail Consortium it was the best month since January, with a year on year rise in sales of 1.7%. Online sales were at the heart of this, growing 11.1% in the previous three months.
We have long understood the importance of embracing online demand, but this impressive growth, combined with a fall in-store sales of 1.3% paints a clear picture of the trend in consumer shopping habits. A recent Ofcom report also found that two-thirds of UK adults (66%) say they go online via their mobile phone, an increase of 5% on 2015. With such a shift towards online purchases and mobile usage, it is important retailers are able to meet these needs.
The smartest retailers are transforming their shopping experience to meet shifting consumer behaviour through clever engagement models like real-time inventory visibility, rich and reliable content, responsive formatting on all devices and real time individualisation. All this helps consumers research and buy products easily over the channels they prefer.
Empowering consumers to shop via any connected device is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s essential. In order to compete and win in the new retail landscape, retailers must offer a seamless omnichannel shopping experience that integrates mobile technology into the in-store journey following the six steps below.
The first order of business is to create a responsive website. There’s nothing more off putting than trying to navigate a website that isn’t mobile friendly. This remains true even if you have poured untold resources into launching an app, consumers browsing the Internet over mobile devices may not wish to look for, or download, the app.
Just because the customer makes the purchase online it doesn’t mean all other channels are irrelevant. In fact, they are more important than ever. Consumers will often switch from store, to mobile then finally purchase through the website. All these touch points need to feel consistent at the very least. Simple things like being able to return to store if the item is brought online instils trust and may tip their decision in your favour. Allowing your customers to save their shopping carts and product preferences as they shift between channels make it easy for them to purchase when the time comes.
The educated consumer
Never have shoppers had so much access to information. If you want to keep them coming back, you need to be a go-to destination for accessing the most comprehensive and reliable content available. This includes blogs, reviews and ratings as third party recognition is important. Personalised search and sort, promotions, and product recommendations, deployed in real-time, will give you the edge.
The new sales associate
Mobile is not only impacting eCommerce, but it’s also changing the in-store experience and evolving the function of the sales assistant. Customers potentially have all the information they need at their fingertips so sales associated need to be equally equipped through mobile PoS devices. We’ve all seen something online then popped into a store to try and get the same deal. Sales associates need to have the ability to browse all inventory in the same way so sales opportunities aren’t missed.
Mobile and tablet-based point-of-sale systems also allow the sales associates to deliver a more personal and engaging shopping experience, while sparing the customer the hassle of the checkout line. Apple was among the first to let customers pay in the aisle, eliminating the need for long queues and paper receipts.
According to Google, 84% of smartphone shoppers use their phones to ‘show-room’ products while they’re shopping in-store. While many retailers shudder at the thought of in-store comparative shopping, savvy retailers view this trend as an opportunity. In addition to price guarantees, sales associates should offer to browse with the customer to ensure they are getting the best deal. This level of trust and engagement will not only save the sale, but boost customer loyalty.
Mobile websites offer a huge opportunity for retailers. It is clear that shoppers are more digitally savvy than ever so providing the platform and support along each step of the sales cycle is crucial to securing sales and also improving customer loyalty.