Going Mobile… Good or Bad for your Business?
By Danielle Bauhaus, Sales Coordinator
E-Commerce has created a significant impact on today’s consumers due to the convenience it provides. Not only can consumers research and purchase products from the comfort of their homes or offices, but due to email automation and intense algorithms, product suggestions based on purchasing decisions are generating sale increases.
There are many advantages to shopping online for both the consumer and the business. However, it’s no rumor that sales have decreased in-store since many retail brands have gone the e-commerce route. The ultimate game-changer is how to go mobile but keep your brick-and-mortar locations very much alive.
The Impact of the Smart Phone
According to Retail Dive, “51% of consumers plan to buy most of their gifts via their smartphones, with 57% of millennial consumers completing purchases via mobile.” Should you be shocked by this statistic? Let’s dive a little deeper…
Not only can consumers read reviews and compare prices prior to making a purchasing decision, they are also able to make the purchase quite seamlessly. Whether the online retailer has a savvy app or if it’s just through an e-commerce platform, the convenience online shopping provides is tremendous. The time and energy saved by browsing online is beneficial alone… nevertheless, what about the personal touch? Consumers are missing out on prime customer experience because they opt to shop online versus in-store.
Traditional retailers are aware of the threat of e-commerce; however, there are several ways brick-and-mortar stores can implement mobile technology to keep up with their largest competitor. Those same locations can also offer something that online retailers cannot compete with—the ultimate customer experience. Consumers cannot grasp the customer experience from a chat bot; they crave human interaction.
Nowadays it’s common practice to analyze product reviews and other channels prior to making a purchase. Because of this, traditional stores have adopted mobile technology that will help give their shoppers the best of the e-commerce experience, in-store. This single competitive advantage has been proven to provide a smooth and much more effective customer experience overall.
While analyzing which mobile technologies would be the most beneficial for Brick-and-mortar retailers, TotalRetail has strongly suggested these three:
- Augmented Reality: When a consumer finds the perfect product, it can sometimes seem too good to be true. That’s where an augmented reality mobile app can help! All is takes it a simple click, to submit a picture of the product in question and reviews will appear, as well as pricing among competitors and other product features.
- Beacons: A beacon is a form of blue-tooth technology that can further advance the in-store experience. Many retailers who already utilize this technology refer to it as a form of “indoor mapping”. When the beacon is tied to a retailers’ mobile shopping app, the beacons help shoppers locate items within the store. No need to ask an associate where the dishwasher detergent is… the beacon will tell you!
- QR Codes/Barcodes: Sales associates are wonderful tools; however, everyone has their opinion. If you’re looking to give your customers objective recommendations, we suggest adding technology to read QR codes (or barcodes). These codes can be placed throughout the store, from marketing signage to on-sale stickers, customers can scan these codes and learn more in-depth about the product in question.
Is Traditional Retail Doomed?
To answer simply, the answer is no. “Overall, 51% of consumers prefer to shop online, while 49% would rather go to a store” (Freight Shipping Blog). While shopping online definitely has its advantages, there are also plenty of disadvantages. Those consumers that would prefer to shop in-store do so due to delivery time and high shipping fees.
Depending on the product, consumers may prefer to purchase their goods in-person. Perishable goods, such as groceries, as well as clothing, are two categories in which many consumers wish to purchase in-store. The look and feel of these categories is crucial to buyers: “86 percent of people surveyed prefer to buy food in-store so they can judge for quality and freshness,” (Freight Shipping Blog).
Because Millennials and Gen Xers lead the e-commerce path, it is expected that online retail business will again raise. Nevertheless, brick-and-mortar stores now have the mobile tools to build a competitive advantage over e-commerce. Online retailers can provide simplicity and time savings, but they lack the personal touch that customers experience in-store. Mobile technology, as suggested above, can enhance the in-store experience for consumers and make them more comfortable in their buying decisions.
Contact IntelliShop today to request a consultation. Our experienced in-house client services team can help you develop an ROI focused program to achieve strong brand loyalty.