Bricks and Mobile Makes Retailers More Efficient
Payments take time: time away from selling — if you’re the retailer — and from shopping, if you’re the customer. Either way, it’s a point of friction. The easier and faster that process goes, the happier retailers — and their customers — will be.
According to figures from eMarketer, the global retail market will see continuous growth during the coming years, and in 2018, worldwide retail sales will increase 5.5% to reach $28.300 trillion. And, according to the Keynote Executive Presentation at eTail West this month, Americans see an average of 29,000 marketing messages daily. That means competition is stiff for sales dollars. So, retailers that implement smooth payment processes and streamlined shopping experiences will receive a competitive advantage.
During the keynote: “Defining The New Retail Experience – Stores And Mobile” session at eTail West, Jamil Ghani, vice
president of enterprise strategy said that integrating mobile into stores results in bigger sales. Target recently redesigned its mobile app to create an efficient shopping experience, as well as to entice consumers to buy more products and steer the retailer toward its goal of becoming a bricks-and-mobile store.
The so-called bricks-and-mobile philosophy is a retail strategy that combines mobile and in-store offerings to drive sales, increase awareness of items that are on sale or otherwise “special” and let harried consumers get more done by providing features such as in-app shopping lists.
Another way to blur the lines between channels is to use digital signage to feature shopper-generated online content within the physical store. Shoppers engage with reviews and opinions and often become more certain of their impending purchase as a result. And, Rob Manning, content marketing manager at Offerpop, a digital marketing software provider, told CIO.com that stores can further “promote content sharing within stores by displaying [brand-related] hashtags on signage and on monitors and kiosks and encouraging customers to share content right then and there using the hashtags to enter to win a prize, receive an automatic discount code, and/or have their content featured on the website.
Experts agree that it is pointless to prevent customers from comparison shopping online while in store. So retailers should just go ahead and provide free Wifi. Shoppers finding alternatives online can be incentivized to stick around with a low price guarantee. And QR codes are still around; stores can put them to good use and have more control over the shopping experience by attaching them next to products with links to discover them easily on your site.
When customers finally reach checkout, retailers must provide the technology to facilitate mobile wallets. The technology will become critical, and a differentiator, in the near future. Although Apple Pay has heightened interest in mobile payments recently, Google is the granddaddy, first introducing Google Wallet’s tap and pay feature in 2011. On Feb. 23, Google said it would partner with Softcard, a joint venture of Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile. The Google Wallet app, including tap-and-pay functionality, will come pre-installed on Android phones (running KitKat or higher) sold by those carriers in the U.S. later this year. The deal will expand Google’s reach, as well as provide more choices for consumers.
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