February 15, 2017
By Kym Reynolds
How many phones have you owned in the past five years? My guess is that it is more than one. Actually, my guess is probably closer to five. It is for me, at least. Did you know that, on, average we now engage with our mobiles 150-200 times a day? That is more than 30 billion mobile moments each day in the United States alone.
In our mobile age, the ever-connected customer is swamped with retailers vying for their attention and, consequently, they can become fickle. The most important question that marketers now face is, how do you grab the attention of potential customers and engage existing ones?
First to only
Customers are engaging with brands across a wide variety of touch points – including Web sites, social media, in-store, mobile and tablets. At each touch point, customers expect a customized and personalized experience optimized specifically for them.
The new levels of flexibility and convenience that improve a customer’s experience is great for them, but the increased customer expectation as a result continues to be a challenge for brands. With enormous amounts of data to decipher, businesses have to try and understand how to effectively engage each individual.
The influence of mobile technology in retail cannot be understated, and we now are seeing a move from “mobile first” to “mobile only”:
• The majority of online retail purchases now on mobile
• Retailers are increasingly embracing applications to connect more with their customers
• Retailers use tablets to enable staff to engage with customers and products on the shop floor
• Mobile payments are increasingly welcomed
Further adoption across demographics will increase the development of the industry.
Retailers are still learning how to engage the connected consumer, but different strategies need to be introduced to create a wider reach.
Millennials who understand “mobile only” will help the industry develop even quicker.
We have seen new innovation in mobile within retail, where mobile has helped the connected consumer find, engage and execute the content they really want, at the time they want it and in their current location. This means that adoption has improved since the content is more personal to the user, ultimately improving purchase decisions.
Vouch for it
We see leading brands now delivering personalized discounts and vouchers to their user’s smartphones whilst they are in-store, and cinema chains are sending personal notifications to moviegoers once they have left the cinema – “Rate The Lego Batman Movie and get the chance to win free cinema tickets.”
Above all, customers want to receive the right content across all channels with which they choose to interact.
The information and content received across all channels must be delivered by retailers in a seamless way. This means a piece of content should be posted just once but available to a customer across all channels and at the same time, creating the same experience and reaction whatever method is used to connect to the brand.
People are time poor, especially when shopping, so if we can send a more personal message at the right time to a consumer, they are more likely to purchase the product or service.
New technology and innovation comes and goes. The retail pioneers who embrace this are the test bed for what becomes mainstream.
Brands need not be scared of technology innovations. If you do not try then you can be at risk of falling behind.
These days, it is far easier, cheaper and quicker to get a trial of a mobile innovation rolled out to customers. You only need to test a small audience to evaluate what a bigger strategy would look like.
TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIAL MEDIA are changing things rapidly in the retail environment.
Brands can either see this as a huge challenge to overcome or as a huge opportunity to adopt.
By embracing change and catering to the needs of their customers, marketers will be seen as relevant and their messages will resonate with the people they are trying to reach.
Kym Reynolds is senior marketing advisor at SmartFocus, London. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.