It was not long ago when the thought of shopping on a phone was only imagined as a scene from the Jetsons. Today, thanks to the wonders of smartphones and mobile applications, shopping on a mobile device is simple, intuitive and even fun.
However, for some retailers, mobile devices are making business more challenging, but those embracing technology are capitalizing on a chance to build a stronger relationship with their customer.
Research suggests that consumers are begging businesses to better integrate mobile devices with the shopping experience, but stores are not jumping on board fast enough. In a Mercator Advisory Group study, 55% of consumers express an interest in mobile coupons but only 10% have actually received one from a merchant.
Whether you are an established brick-and-mortar store with a loyal following or a new website focused on using e-commerce to sell the hottest the product on the market, you need to embrace mobile commerce. If not, your business could become as antiquated as the landline telephone.
Here are a few ideas to consider when making the jump to mobile:
Brick and Mortar Retail Businesses
- Understand that your customers are using smart phones to compare pricing while they are shopping in your store. Pew American & Internet Life Projectindicates that 52% of adult cell phone owners used their devices while in a store to get help with purchasing decisions and that number is only growing.Make sure you clearly explain your pricing strategy and illustrate the authenticity behind your product. Highlight your product expertise or return policies to help compete with online merchants who may be undercutting your prices.
- Use mobile coupons. The consulting firm Accenture found that 73% of consumers find it useful to receive an instant coupon as they pass by an item in a store. With apps like Yowza, you too can compete with the big box retailers. Yowza enables stores to promote their mobile coupons to shoppers who are nearby. Use mobile coupons to attract new customers with location-based promotions and incentivize shoppers to spend more.
- Re-target customers who may not be ready to buy. Internet retailers have profited tremendously from re-marketing - showing ads for their products when a user leaves their site. Bring the same sales tactic to the real world. When a shopper walks into your store, capture their information by signing them up on an in-store Ipad or re-direct them to your mobile-friendly website to register for your newsletter. Armed with their email address, you can now reel them back in at a later date with seasonal sales or preferred customer invite-only events.
- Use responsive web design.Many businesses have never seen how their website looks on a smartphone. Many times a site can look normal on a computer and then appear disorganized and challenging to use on a much smaller screen.
Make sure your website is legible and easy to navigate on a mobile device.
Simplify the checkout process and use large buttons to assist with selecting products. Ipsos found that 60% of mobile buyers make purchases from the comfort of their own home, not on their computer.
- Go head-to-head with brick-and-mortar stores. Knowing that consumers are using their mobile devices to look for deals while they shop, make sure you show up when someone searches for a specific product. Add product names, SKU numbers and other detailed information to your mobile website to help you show up with a better placement on search engines. Also consider registering as a Google merchant.
- Turn your customers into sales people. Online satisfied shoppers can often be your biggest fans and brand ambassadors. Get them to review your products and help you sell more. A Nieselsen study discovered that 32% of smartphone owners read customer reviews on their mobile devices. User ratings and reviews can be the secret to converting a mere to someone who actually opens their wallet. Best of all, incorporating Google’s micro-data can help search results stand out and take up more real estate on a small mobile device screen. Adding micro-data to your website can help icons like stars and prices show when users are searching for your products. More real estate equals a higher probability of getting a click!
It is clear that mobile shopping is already going strong and will be growing exponentially in the coming years. The retailers that jump on the bandwagon now will be the companies in the best position to dominate the promising space. ABIresearch predicts that by 2015, mobile shopping is predicted to be a $163 billion worldwide business. What percentage of that will be yours?