The Key To Increasing In-Store Sales? Mobile
Digital retail growth is slowing, but the key to pumping it up likely exists in the palm of customers’ hands.
Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester
Research and a research partner for the NRF’s State of Retailing Online recently noted that digital retail continues to be strong but growth rates appear to be slowing slightly. She noted that in recent years, many retailers experienced high double-digit growth; now, fewer retailers report that level of fast growth.
It’s important to remember that slower growth doesn’t mean no growth at all. It just means the rate is no longer at breakneck pace. And as e-commerce continues to nab a bigger piece of the retail pie, it will become more difficult to rack up huge percentage increases, although the amount of revenue will rise handsomely.
Still, how to grow those sales? Retailers should look for expanding existing avenues that are succeeding. And that means investing in mobile commerce.
Mobile shopping retail sales in the US were $70 billion in 2014, and Goldman Sachs Group predicts growth to $173 billion by the end of 2018. Goldman’s research found that nearly half of all smartphone users have used their phones to locate store information, such as location and working hours. Clearly, consumers are comfortable with the devices, so it makes sense for retailers to capitalize on that comfort zone, by inventing customers to use their mobile devices while they’re in the store. Wipe away fears of “showrooming” — that’s a thing of the past. The future lies in letting customers access all the information they need to make a decision while still in the store. It’s all about location, location, location for brick and mortars.
The potential growth comes from retailers working with and appealing to mobile phone users. While Forrester Research Inc. says 42% of the world will own a smartphone by the end of this year, research firm IDC notes that just 16% of enterprises have a mobile strategy. Retailers should look at ways to become more aggressive in reaching out to mobile consumers, as conversion rates are typically only 1% on smartphones compared with 3% on desktops. Too often, shoppers can’t find what they want on a mobile site, it’s too difficult to checkout, or service is just too slow.
By embracing mobile shopping within the confines of the physical store, brick and mortars may actually extend their reach. Consumers spend in-store time on their phones, comparing product information. Smart retailers are pushing product information of their own to shoppers’ phones as well, increasing the shopper/retailer connection. And enhancing that connection is key to a revenue uptick in 2015.
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