In-Store Purchasing Goes Mobile
If a brick-and-mortar or online store makes purchasing totally mobile — and offers personalized coupons — will shoppers will be more likely to purchase? A new Retail Consumer Sentiment Survey published by Merkle Inc. indicates that will indeed happen, particularly if the consumers are young.
A wide majority, 67%, of respondents under the age of 50 are interested in a totally mobile path to purchase. In addition, 46% under 50 would like personalized offers sent to their smartphones while shopping in-store. Those coupons should ideally also incorporate time and location.
Mobile offers are part and parcel of any modern loyalty program. But while loyalty programs are supposed to retain customers and distract them from the competition, few — less than one-fifth — of consumers consider today’s loyalty programs to be a main differentiator. Many of those programs are price and transaction based, and the retail landscape is evolving. Just as important to many customers is a store’s personalized, omnichannel approach. According to the survey, retailers that master a personalized, omni-channel approach to loyalty generate results on the order of magnitude of 10 times the revenue of non-program customers.
A recent survey by Deloitte of 2000 customers found smartphones influence 19 percent of sales at physical stores. That’s up from just five percent in 2012. When PCs, tablets and smartphones are factored together, digital technologies influence 36 percent of in-store sales and that will likely increase to 50 percent by the close of 2015, according to Deloitte. In addition, 4 percent said they use a mobile device either before or during a shopping trip. For those customers using a digital device, the conversion rate was 40 percent higher at the store. Order size was 22 percent higher for digital-wielding in-store shoppers. The kicker? Eight in 10 would rather use their device or a kiosk versus talking to an actual human being in a store.
That doesn’t say much for in-store customer service. But it does point to a certain type of customer, at a certain type of store, that could be made to feel special through technology rather than the personal touch.
As Paul Schottmiller, Merkle senior vice president, strategy, retail and consumer goods noted: “Consumers’ expectations are high, and retailers have never had more options for using technology to deliver differentiated customer experiences.”
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