Supporting Consumers at the Shelf through the Mobile Experience
By: Lauren Polinsky, Search Account Manager
Today, 24% of shoppers intentionally carry a Smartphone while shopping in-store to compare prices and find information. The addition of companies like Amazon, enticing consumers to easily purchase products for less on their mobile device, is forcing retail and CPG marketers to create unique mobile experiences that keep consumers engaged.
Some retailers already understand the importance of creating unique mobile strategies to connect with the consumer in-store. For example, Macy’s has placed QR codes throughout their stores to send shoppers to a mobile app, allowing them to scan products in-store for ratings, reviews and special offers.
While some marketers have started to capitalize on mobile, many retailers and CPG companies have yet to create strategic plans specifically for combating the hypercompetitive landscape that now exists in-store. There are many steps marketers must take in order to start creating unique experiences that are similar to, or even go beyond, companies like Macy’s. Let’s look at a few of these steps in more detail.
Step 1: Create a Mobile Optimized Website with Location in Mind
First things first, make sure you have a mobile optimized site. This means that your site should be built in a way that is easy for your audience to use. Read our article “Why Mobile Should Be a Vital Part of Your Search Strategy,” for more information regarding mobile site best practices.
With nearly 1 in 3 mobile searches now location based, it is imperative that you have a site that is easy to read and navigate, specifically regarding multiple locations. This can be done with a dedicated page or with Schema code surrounding your current contact information on multiple pages.
Step 2: Build a Marketing List and Identify Your Mobile Audience
Once your website is ready for mobile users, don’t forget to reach out to your existing customers to ask for their mobile information. This allows you to prepare for mobile marketing campaigns and can be done through QR codes in-store, on POS materials, on your website, or through email blasts. Ensure that you have built a dedicated landing page for your new mobile campaign. Utilize the information gathered from this campaign to identify the devices your customer base uses (smartphone, tablet, feature phone), and whether or not they are interested in mobile offers. This will help your team better understand direction for more complex mobile campaigns in the future. It will also help you to:
- Get your feet wet in mobile
- Understand what successes to expect with future campaigns
- Gain buy in from executives for mobile budget
- And, start building a unique experience with consumers
Step 3: Mobile Call to Action in the Store
Now that you have a mobile optimized site, and customer mobile data, it is important to create a call to action in-store. Consumers use their mobile devices in-store for many reasons, including peer reviews, product information, product comparison and price comparison. While most reasons provide an opportunity for marketers, price can be detrimental to companies that cannot compete with bottom dollar competitors. Now that Amazon practically sells everything under the sun, no brick and mortar store is truly safe from the pricing war. By making valuable product information easily accessible through a customized and engaging experience in-store, you can deter consumers from stumbling upon a competitor’s price when searching the web.
Retailers can create web pages based on product reviews, product comparisons and specific product information, such as size and colors available online. This information should then be readily available via an app or website. In addition, marketing material that calls out the available information should be placed all over the store via signage.
The key here is to capture consumers in specific areas throughout the store, and help them feel like they have all the information that they need to make an informed purchasing decision. This will help ensure that they buy directly from you, either in-store or via their mobile device.
The Importance of the Mobile User Experience in-store
2011 was loudly described as “the year of mobile,” and many companies started amercing themselves in standard mobile tactics. But with continued increase in mobile device usage during the in-store shopping experience, and the evolution of in-store technologies, the possibilities of mobile marketing have grown into something beyond what most companies are even considering today.
Within the past year, Google has launched Google Wallet; Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T developed Isis; and Square and Amex created their cloud based payment device. Technologies like these will again change the dynamics of in-store shopping behavior and customer needs. Providing unique and relevant information and opportunities to consumers at the shelf will become even more important as we move into 2013. Use the information discussed in this article to take a step back and look at your current in-store and mobile campaigns.
- Do they align appropriately?
- Do they satisfy the needs of shoppers in your store or a competitor’s store?
- Do you even know what the in-store shopper needs and mobile preferences are?
Make sure to constantly ask yourself these questions in order to stay ahead of new technologies that continue to expand mobile marketing capabilities, and the evolution of shopping behavior.