October 31, 2013
By Dave Sikora
This holiday season millions of shoppers will engage in showrooming as they search for information to guide them in their purchase decision.
Vibes’ 2013 “Mobile Consumer Report: Combat Showrooming with Personalization” found that 44 percent of shoppers frequently use their smartphone in-store to comparison shop from a competitor and 32 percent are using mobile devices to shop more in-store than they did two years ago.
IDC Retail Insights predict that the number of showroomers will only continue to increase reaching to almost 78 million by 2015.
This provides a unique opportunity for retailers to influence their customer’s path to purchase by developing a seamless cross-channel strategy that will deliver a truly personalized and integrated customer experience.
In creating a successful holiday strategy it is vital that you develop a plan with clear, measurable objectives, understand the power of the mobile component and leverage location analytics to provide valuable insight and measure success.
Step 1: Developing your plan
The first step in developing a cross-channel strategy is to first identify the entry points at which consumers are engaging with your product.
Whether it be online, in-store or through your mobile Web site or application, the lines between the channels are dissolving quickly.
Retail channels have ceased to exist as individual components and must be viewed as a whole.
As consumers continue to exhibit multichannel shopping behavior, they will expect an experience that unifies all of their favorite platforms.
Taking the time to clearly define and understand the objectives and goals your business has for its holiday cross-channel strategy will make it easier to maintain focus and achieve results.
Step 2: Incorporating the mobile component
Mobile is predicted to have an astonishing impact on retail this holiday season.
According to Baynote’s “Holiday Prediction Survey,” 38 percent of respondents believe mobile will drive renewed in-store interest that will lead to increased revenue.
However, many retailers are currently under delivering when it comes to providing a personalized and integrated shopping experience for their customers.
Leveraging a customer’s smartphone to provide a better, faster in-store experience will not only drive repeat visits but enhance customer loyalty and strengthen long-term relationships.
Mobile’s unique contextual abilities permit retailers to know when their best, opted-in customers are in the store allowing them to identify an individual need and provide personalized customer service.
Mobile applications that record a customer’s shopping history allow for a more knowledgeable and helpful staff.
Arming your sales associates with smartphones can also help them locate high value app holders in the store and offer their assistance.
Delivering quality customer service that makes the in-store experience easier and more enjoyable for your consumers may be the key to winning back your mobile shoppers.
Step 3: Leveraging location analytics
Location detection in mobile devices acts as a proxy for a user’s location and provides clues into the shopper’s context during the purchase decision, opening up a powerful new field for analytics.
Deciding to use both store and customer focuses analytics to track shopper behavior during the holidays will provide invaluable insight for your business.
Store-focused location analytics heavily tracks activity at store locations, mapping events to consumer profile information.
This type of location analytics can provide valuable insight into which store locations have the highest repeat shopping rates, which campaigns are generating the highest conversion rate to in-store traffic, the frequency of in-store mobile browsing and the volume and fluctuations of target store locations.
Customer-focused analytics often proves to be extremely valuable for marketers in that they focus on customers’ specific behavior.
From here they are able to draw conclusions on what customers are looking for and how they are engaging with their store locations.
This type of analytics not only helps to build and improve long-term relationships but also reflects frequency of return visits, what locations the user visits most often, in-store behavior and offer redemption rates.
Gathering insight and diligently planning and executing a cross-channel marketing strategy that delivers a personalized and integrated shopping experience will be your greatest advantage this holiday season.
Customers will be looking to their favorite retailers to help them simplify and improve their shopping experience. Will you be ready?
Dave Sikora is founder/CEO of Digby, Austin, TX. Reach her at email@example.com.