Today we are in the midst of a momentous change in retail marketing. Mobile devices have changed the way that customers are discovering brands, researching products and how and where they are deciding to purchase. In the past, customers were chained to desks. Their interactions with companies—online and in-store—were clearly demarcated along a predictable customer journey. This is no longer the case.
Mobile devices have evolved consumers into a new and spontaneous kind of omni-channel customer. They are browsing, researching and comparing products on their mobile devices wherever they happen to be faced with a curiosity, question or desire. That could be at home, on the street outside your store or chatting about your product with friends at dinner.
When 57% of Millenials say they compare prices in store, you have more than half of the largest and most influential generation in today’s market saying bluntly that they use their mobile phones to research products in-store before they buy. Having a mobile optimized, location-sensitive experience for your customer through your website or mobile app is not only paramount but completely necessary in today’s retail environment.
Retailers on the mobile frontier have already switched their focus. Their top priority is the seamless integration of their mobile and in-store shopping experiences. They know that with a strong and customer centric mobile presence a potential customer can and should convert spontaneously at any touch point they have with the brand.
But this spontaneous conversion will depend on a brand’s ability to support the in-store shopping experience. Connections should be made between customers’ mobile shopping activity (information from geolocators, customer profiles, saved products) and their real world experience. By showing customers convenient, targeted information—like the nearest location their product is in stock—brands can hugely influence a customer’s decision to purchase.
And now that they are ready to purchase, are you going to make them wait in line?
If the path to purchase is a now a blur of offline and online that demands the most convenient and instantaneous transactions, mobile-enabled payments are the way of the future. Whether it be through mobile payment applications like Apple Pay, mobile self-checkout or payment through branded mobile apps, making this last leg of the journey easy is crucial.
If the world of retail is changing, the fittest brands will be ramping up their mobile capabilities and thinking about the customer journey in a whole new way. They will be building a continuous user experience that will guide the customer through the offline and online shopping terrain with ease. These domains are already one in the same in the minds of the consumer and their spontaneous conversion will be sparked by those brands who can meet them with finesse.