Retailers Need to Leverage Mobile to Stimulate Lost Retail Customers
New articles published in the Wall Street Journal foretell of troubles in the land of retail. Traffic in retail stores continues to drop and it’s believed showrooming and online shopping is to blame.
That’s not hard to understand really. Shoppers enjoy unlimited selection online, perhaps lower prices, and they get to do stuff with their smartphones. I’m sure you’ve enjoyed the ease and utility of shopping on your phone. I know I like using my Note 3 phone to check restaurants, hotels, sports gear, and retail locations when I’m out on the road or at home.
If brick and mortar retailers feel all is lost, they aren’t seeing the opportunity in this supposed disaster.
The advantages retailers do have are: impulse satisfaction, shopping experiences, and shoppers can touch and hold the products. Online shopping is seriously challenged to compete on these three factors.
And I might add that point of sale promotions can provide a pleasant surprise and engage shoppers in a way they can’t be engaged online.
Online Retailers are a Serious Challenge
On the other side, online competition is a problem for retailers who decide not to evolve. Online sales growth is outpacing brick and mortar sales by a wide margin. It’s time to research how to use online retailing and social promotion tactics to get your edge back.
Recently, Walmart and Apple refused to accept Apple Pay in their stores. Apple users are a very attractive demographic and blocking them is probably not a good growth strategy when shoppers can increasingly bypass Walmart and Apple to shop directly on manufacturer’s websites and pay via their smartphones.
Some retailers aren’t evolving to utilize NFC based payments either. And these aren’t just ways to pay, they are ways to reach shoppers in their stores and even at home. Your packaging and POP displays need to utilize NFC technology. Further, shoppers are using Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other mobile websites. Retailers who don’t utilize these channels too will leave them themselves irrelevant to consumer’s social conversations and product discoveries.
Some estimates are that 80% of Canadian companies have no real digital strategy. Sounds steep, but if you include mobile in the picture it certainly sounds accurate.
So what can you do to incorporate digital into your marketing strategy?
- Learn all you can about mobile shoppers in general
- Accept payments via PayPal, Apple Pay, and other NFC payment systems.
- Research customer experience strategies that incorporate mobile
- Use QR codes so shoppers can scan everything they want to
- Use mobile couponing to use discounts most effectively
- Use a digital marketing agency to help you move into mobile marketing and social media marketing strategically
- Optimize your online/social content to engage your shoppers before, during and after they visit your store
- Use POP displays to maximize contact with shoppers – escape from dull and predictable
Yes, the world of physical retail is changing and becoming more of a hybrid form involving pop up retail and mobile. The most important thing to remember about this supposed crisis for retailers is that change presents opportunities.
It’s not correct to say that m-commerce and e-retail will take over. Big retailers are going mobile so take their cue and begin researching the opportunity for you. Get creative and you’ll keep your business thriving for years to come.