According to the international consulting and accounting firm Deloitte, digital interactions will influence about half of the buying decisions made within retail stores. In the holiday season alone this statistic represents almost $350 billion, making digital interactions – specifically, shoppers using mobile technology like smartphones or tablets while shopping – a huge opportunity for business owners.
Which makes a mobile marketing strategy crucial to any integrated marketing plan. Both now and in the future, mobile marketing will be how consumers connect the dots between their home computer and your storefront. Studies show that over 50% of shoppers in developed countries have access to smartphone technology, so companies ignore this trend at their peril.
Attracting the Mobile Shopper
To maximize the potential of this technological movement, there are a few steps that retailers can take even before the shopping experience begins. First, you should take care to integrate your inventory and product offerings with your online presentation. A fantastic online experience that draws customers into your store will be soured when advertised items are out of stock.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that mobile users will often search online to either find a specific storefront or to do a general search for locations in which to purchase a certain item. Make sure your place of business is placed correctly on the major map apps (start with Google and MapQuest), and also be sure to include keywords and item descriptions on your website that will get your business tagged through search engine optimization.
Enhancing the In-Store Encounter with Technology
Once you’ve made it easy for mobile consumers to find you and you’ve taken the time to match up your virtual and actual experience, there are many more ways to provide them with an engaging experience. Studies show that 84% of in-store customers use their mobile devices to locate sale items, compare prices, and read the reviews of other consumers before making a purchase. A wise strategy, then, is to capitalize on this behavior by enhancing the individual shopping experience through rich mobile marketing content.
Beacon equipment has made this dream a reality, providing retailers with the chance to connect with shoppers via low-energy Bluetooth waves. Beacons can be placed at strategic sites within a store, enabling marketers to deliver hyper-relevant, location-specific deals and digital content to individual mobile devices based on their exact position in the store.
To make the most of this amazing technology, we suggest following a few guidelines:
- Set up a Beacon Strategy: Have specific goals and performance measurement standards determined to make sure this technology fits into either the overall strategy for the company, or at the very least complements the existing digital marketing plan.
- Appoint a Beacon Brigade: Bring together a group of enthusiastic individuals that will be involved with this initiative from the beginning. Assign roles and create a budget that involves the testing and implementation of appropriate strategies, platforms, and products.
- Make Sure Your App Provides Utility: There are literally millions of apps available to the average technophile, with many of them providing far less value than promised. Any app that represents your business should be able to justify its presence on your ideal consumer’s device.
- Be Transparent: Many shoppers would feel as though their privacy was being invaded if you did not first let them know that you were utilizing beacon technology to enhance their shopping experience, and allow them the freedom to opt-out.
- Focus on Providing a Service, Not Just Driving Sales: While deals and incentives are welcome, so are sizing tips, style suggestions, recipes, and consumer reviews. Concentrate on providing a great experience and your customers will show their appreciation through increased sales.
When your mobile marketing approach is woven into your overall marketing strategy, your customers will learn to expect relevant, engaging digital content by interacting with both your online presence and physical location. They will seek you out again if this interaction is both memorable and enjoyable.