Mobile Is Crucial Part of Retail Strategy
Retailers afraid of mobile? No way — virtually all (93%) of retailers surveyed by Retail Systems Research said that mobile will help their employees meet customer service expectations. Long gone, apparently, are the bad old days when retailers feared showrooming by customers and distraction of associates. Today a vast majority (88%) of retailers say the purpose of their mobile strategy is to drive shoppers to the store.
“Consumers are in love with their mobile devices; the best thing any retailer can do right now is think creatively about how to leverage that relationship. And with stores in such need of reinvigoration, it has the potential to be a match made in heaven,” according to the study, entitled, “Mobile Retail Finds New Purpose.”
That means that retailers need to pay closer attention to what needs customers want mobile to satisfy. Right now, although the most popular mobile capability offered by 62% of retailers is “store locator,” it’s one that only customers 29% would find valuable. Other technology can easily provide that same function — a store can easily be found by using a smartphone’s map program, for instance. However, an app that helps shoppers search for and select merchandise is more highly valued by customers (59%), but implemented by only 49% of responding retailers.
Likewise, retailers need to assess how mobility can best serve their associates in their jobs. Although 47% of retailers noted that they have either piloted or implemented email, access to email is valued by only 25% of employees. Assisted selling, however, is valued by 53%, but implemented by only 27%. Also popular among employees (40%) was the ability to access corporate information about products and services; that mobile capability was offered by only 30% of retailers.
The survey also outlined the tremendous opportunities retailers could benefit from by adopting a mobile strategy. The top three advantages:
- Deeper customer engagement to build loyalty through mobile channels (65%)
- Deeper customer engagement to drive sales through personalized offers (62%)
- Deeper insights into shopper behavior through mobile site or app insights. (55%)
The survey defined a segment of respondents as “Winners,” and another as “Laggards,” and revealed a surprising trend:
“Laggards are even more bullish on getting deeper insights into shopper behavior through mobile site or app insights – a whopping 70% to Winners’ 51%. This is interesting, as it potentially points out a common tendency among those whose sales are hurting to overhype the saving power of a single technology. We call it ‘magic bullet syndrome,’ and it often leads laggards astray from what they really need to focus on.”
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