The retail industry was hit hard by technological innovations, such as social media, Internet shopping and online reviews. Lots of customers no longer use traditional shops for actual purchases; they take advantage of physical stores exploring products, and then they compare prices and buy things online. IBM’s research suggests that “showroomers” – people who shopped in store, but made a purchase online – accounted for nearly half of all online purchasers. The biggest retailers and marketing firms have been trying to fight this fire with fire. According to PWC 17th Global CEO Survey, 91 % of retail CEOs are concerned about shifts in consumer behaviors. Retailers are trying to change their business models implementing new social and mobile business strategies.
Let’s explore some mobile trends that affect retail business.
Smarter customer experience
Clients expect to interact with retailer in store, on the web and on the go with the use of mobile technologies. Personalized omnichannel initiatives can significantly improve customer experience, driving sales and increasing customer satisfaction. As IBM notes, to deliver such experience retailers should have a broad view of a customer across all channels that is reflected in a marketing platform, which analyzes big data giving retailers timely insights about their customers. For example, San Francisco-based company RichRelevance builds personalization infrastructure that helps brands deliver content and offers customized for specific customer needs. The platform serves as an analytical tool. It also rebuilds retailer’s website pages to match content and offers to customer’s demands considering historic behavior data and brand preferences.
Improving purchasing process
Mobile apps and customizable websites not only serve as a digital extension of a real store, but are essential for improving purchasing process. They serve as virtual assistants providing helpful information about products, and also generate one-day offers and deals to hook customer. Mobile apps make shopping easier and more accessible while softly promoting certain products. For example, Target’s mobile app allows making lists that help find right store and even aisle where a product should be located. Target’s app features deals and coupons and allows scanning barcodes to reach product info. GAP StyleMixer app allows plan outfits, mix and match items as well as receive exclusive offers tailored to client’s needs.
Taking advantage of location data is a core trend in mobile retail technologies. With the improvement of location tracking services retailers gained access to valuable information that enables them to analyze and predict customer behavior. Palo Alto based firm Euclid helps brick and mortar retailers optimize the performance of their marketing, merchandising and operations, according to Crunchbase. Hardware component gathers data about customer movement in store. Software component puts together readable analytical graphs about customer behavior in store retailer can use to make wiser business decisions.
Building a seamless omnichannel communication with customers is easier said than done. As IBM points out, in order to maintain perfect cross channel experience retailers must connect online and mobile stores with physical shops and try to understand each particular shopper.