Tag Archives: mobile internet

Why retailers need to embrace mobile internet in stores

 

It’s natural that some retailers will feel threatened by the growing use of mobile in store, but the answer is to embrace this trend and use it to enhance the in-store experience. 

Retailers can do this by providing apps and mobile optimised sites, but also by offering wi-fi to customers.

According to an On Device Research (ODR) survey of mobile users, 60% of respondents have used the mobile internet while in stores, while 78% would use free wi-fi in stores if offered it.

The use of smartphones by consumers is growing, and many are now using them to compare prices, and search the web for product reviews.

So how can retailers adapt and use this customer behaviour to their advantage?

Mobile use in retail stores

There are now plenty of surveys which show the growth of mobile usage in retail stores:

  • An iModerate survey found that more than half of smartphone owners are using the internet in stores, with price comparison, checking store locations, and hunting for discounts the most common reasons.
  • Our Mobile Planet data sees 24% of UK smartphone owners taking their phones shopping with them in order to compare prices and inform themselves about products.
  • A Toluna/Econsultancy survey from May last year found that 19% of 2,000 online respondents had used their mobiles to compare prices and look at product reviews while out shopping.

Why do consumers use mobile in store?

There are two main reasons:

Price comparison

This is usually the main purpose of using mobile in stores, which makes perfect sense. The state of the economy means that customers are more price sensitive than ever, and mobile is the perfect tool for the job.

What’s more, there are often huge savings to be made. If I’m looking at a TV in an electrical retailer, it’s quite possible I could save £100 by checking for the same product on Amazon.

Looking for reviews

This is another common reason to reach for the smartphone when in store, and this is a behaviour that high street retailers should encourage.

Checking for a review of a product is a sure sign of purchase intent. It means they like the look of a product, and are perhaps just seeking some reassurance.

The threat for retailers

The problem for retailers is that, whatever the quality of service in store and the range of products on offer, shoppers always have the option of checking prices on their mobile phones and heading online, or to another high street retailer to make the purchase.

This ‘unbundling of the shopping experience’, and the threat from online retailers is described in detail here by Ashley Friedlein.

There are a number of mobile apps and websites that enable in store shoppers to check and compare product prices, but Amazon’s mobile products represent possibly the biggest single threat to offline retailers.

Using the barcode scanner on the app, customers can easily check the products they are looking at in store on Amazon’s site.

Since Amazon is often cheaper, with a variety of delivery options, this can pose a real threat.

How can offline and multichannel retailers meet this challenge?

Don’t block internet access

I’ve seen a few stories around, which are difficult to substantiate, about retailers attempting to put obstacles in the way of customers with smartphones.

This could be counter-productive, and is certainly not the kind of tactic a forward-thinking retailer should be using.

Offer reviews at the point of sale

Retailers with reviews and ratings on their websites can easily bring this information into stores to help push products.

If a digital camera is recommended for the casual photographer, and has an average review score of five stars from 35 reviews, why not use this information?

I like the recommendations that can often be found in bookshops and wine merchants, which have been written by staff. They can help customers decide what to buy, and also have a personal touch that can appear more trustworthy.

In the same vein, retailers could combine online opinions with staff recommendations and other third party reviews.

Make sure you have a mobile site or app

If customers are going to pick up their phones and look for reviews, persuade them to use your site for this. Promote it in store. 

If you can provide the reviews they need, then customers won’t have to use competitors’ sites where they might find a better deal.

Better still, provide them with a link on the store shelf where they can find reviews, or maybe a QR code or barcode to scan and view further information.

Comet provides a great example of this with its recent barcode scanning app. The purpose of the barcode scanner is not necessarily to allow price comparison while in competitors’ stores, though I’m sure Comet won’t mind if customers are doing this.

Instead, the main purpose is to make it easier for customers to see enhanced information on products on the shopfloor.

Comet promotes this in store, and the site and app have some very comprehensive product pages replete with reviews and expert buyer’s guides, allowing customers to access this information when they need to see it.

Better still, it means they don’t have to visit Amazon to find out.

It works too. Mobile now accounts for 10% of Comet’s traffic, and the retailer enjoys an advantage in this area over multichannel rival Currys/PC World.

Mobile vouchers

For retailers that offer voucher codes online, allowing these codes to be redeemed in-store is one way to increase footfall, and maybe do some cross-selling when they arrive.

In conjunction with wi-fi, retailers could even target customers when they are using their mobiles in store.

NFC / mobile payments

NFC technology is yet to capture the public imagination, but it does give consumers another payment option for those times when they suddenly realise they have forgotten to get cash out and they are already at the cash register with their shopping.

Make sure they can access the information they need

This is where wi-fi comes in. It’s about making the mobile experience easier for customers. Instead of relying on variable 3G connections, providing internet access means they can browse reviews, scan QR codes, and use AR apps like Blippar to their heart’s content.

Let’s say a customer wants to see a review. If their 3G signal is poor and they can’t find what they want, will they still buy that camera?

Providing wi-fi means that they can easily access the information, while it also allows them to download your own app.

Wi-fi and efficient customer targeting

Wi-fi in store also provides a way to capture customer details and target them with offers. In fact, customers would be willing to receive some offers in return for the convenience of decent wi-fi.

Tesco recently introduced this in its larger stores. It does require a slightly clunky registration process which involves entering clubcard numbers, but the retailer is then armed with your purchase history. If Tesco can sweeten this process with a discount or two, it may well be worth the effort. 

According to the ODR survey embedded below, 74% of respondents would be happy for the retailer to send a text or email with promotions.

They’re in store, when better to sell them breakfast cereal or push a promotion? 

House of Fraser recently ran a promotion in conjunction with O2, using free wi-fi, which aimed to drive incremental sales in the run up to Christmas. John Lewis recently added wi-fi to its stores.

In an excellent guest post from last year, Dave Wieneke looked at how mobile can be used to enhance the in-store experience for consumers, as well as providing retailers with some precision tools to target the mobile customer.

A blend of location and personalisation can make life easier for customers, while allowing retailers to target customers with relevant offers and recommendations.

One great example of this came from the French Casino supermarket chain. Its iPhone app allows users to compile shopping lists before heading to the store, where they can use their mobile to scan and pay for items in store.

This is useful for the customer, but also provides the retailer with a wealth of information of the customer’s preferences and shopping habits.

Combine this with technology like Tesco’s in-store ‘sat nav’ app and you have the ability to target customers in real time, according to their location.

Let’s say the customer is entering the dairy aisle. They bought a particular brand of butter last week, and there’s an offer on that this week. It’s just five yards away.

Customers already have the smartphone and tablet technology in their bags and pockets that makes this possible, it’s just a question of adapting to this and making it easier by providing wi-fi.

Mobile isn’t going away, and the retailers that adapt to this trend quickly and use it to improve the customer experience will have a big advantage over their competitors.  

 

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Mobile web: the game changed

The accessing of the internet from mobile is growing rapidly and one area that is growing in equal importance is the area of device identification. Being able to provide information back to any number of sources on what device a user is using to access the mobile internet, apps etc. will be a driving force in the future of engaging users with the services they want instead of vice versa….

7.1m Brits now access the internet via their mobile phone, and that’s actually quite a lot! And, not only are these users generally more affluent, but they are also avid consumers of digital marketing.

The advent of truly mobile internet, and the incredible speed of adoption by the population as a whole, is causing a re-evaluation of web marketing.

Mobile web is the greatest revolution since the invention and adoption of the PC. That might seem like a bold statement to make, but the platform has changed.

Using the internet does not necessarily mean being stuck under a desk sitting at home or in the office. You don’t need to pull a laptop out of a carry case to use it, and you can even choose the size that most suits your needs.

The impact these devices are having, and the tide of change that is following in wake of their adoption is fundamental.

So what does this mean for digital marketers? How will mobile web change email marketing in the near future? What are the challenges this opportunity has created? And how do we ride this wave and grasp the opportunities that are being laid before us?

Game changing technology

It’s the device that’s done it; the truly mobile computer. The only issue is some devices still hold onto that archaic title “phone”.

The challenge with mobile internet has been that to make the most of the medium you need to easily interact with the device. This is what’s made the latest generation of mobile devices so different.

Even with the smaller screens, the superb resolution and usable touch screen makes the internet truly mobile. The apps and software work together with this new technology to make the whole mobile web experience simple and satisfying. This has allowed people new to the concept, to quickly adapt and benefit from the new platform, thereby fuelling high adoption rates.

Look at any of the research available on mobile internet and they are all pointing in one direction. Mobile internet is growing and it’s growing fast.

Game changed for email?

Email has gone mobile. According to the Econsultancy Mobile Statistics Compendium, email is used by 75.4% of British iPhone owners, making it the most popular internet activity on the phone. The same study stated that mobile adoption patterns mirror the early days of the internet, when email dominated usage.

Wait a minute… wasn’t email supposed to be dead (or on its last legs anyway)? Or could it be that mobile internet has taken one of the most powerful online channels to date, and given it legs.

Email is now on the move. You follow the recipient around their daily lives; you engage with them when they are doing lots of other things. They could be watching TV, at a restaurant, with friends.

The mobile experience changes the way users interact with your email as well your website. Arguably, interacting with a PC could be quite a lonely experience. With mobile internet, sharing now includes simply handing your phone to your friends.

Mobile email looks slightly different too! It not only demands great graphics, but it wants to be super usable on the small screen. One of the best ways to do this is to code the email to fit the screen it is being used on.

From the data I have seen so far and opinion on the web, people seem to use mobile as “one” of the ways that they will be viewing the email, so this needs to be considered when developing the template. Is it possible to develop a template that is going to satisfy both a traditional desktop client as well as the mobile browser? That’s going to be worth quite a bit of testing!

Another new consideration is the actionable copy (links). Are they touch screen friendly? Or is the recipient forced to expand the screen to click on the link? The same is going to go for putting links close together, as you don’t want to send butter fingers off to the wrong place.

Although the web has gone mobile, it seems like more people fail to complete a transaction on mobile, than they do on a PC. The figures also seem to suggest a substantial amount of people intend to use more mobile ecommerce in the future. This means basket abandonment emails will be even more important to mobile conversions than it is for normal static web.

Game changed for e-commerce and conversion rate optimisation  

The Mobile Shopping Framework Study” is one in a series of white papers from Yahoo that provides an overview of the mobile landscape. In the report, half of consumers claim they purchase an item after researching on their mobile, and 90% of mobile owners access the web from the retail store floor.

So now price comparison shopping could consist of walking round the shops, handling the products, comparing prices online, and making the buying decision. In fact, the Yahoo mobile study revealed “Almost half of all mobile in-store activity involved transmitting a picture of a product to personal contacts for comment”.

The adoption of mobile web is gaining pace, and the e-commerce platform will be moving out of the home and into the pocket. One of the key challenges now facing the digital marketer is optimising the conversion process for users of mobile web.

As was mentioned before, mobile users fail to complete the transaction more often than other web users and this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

It’s almost as though there is now a third way of doing things, it seems to fit in the middle between the full blown website optimised for the modern PC screen, resolution settings and controls, and the cut down versions developed to cater for the previous generation of mobile devices.

So, will you need three versions of your website? I don’t think so…

The mobile platform for internet is going to become a core part of the way people interact with e-commerce, so people must be able to do things when they want to do them.

This means the web will need to be designed for the mobile. It’s surely not unrealistic to expect some businesses to achieve 50% of web sales via mobile. If the consumer wants to order their daily shopping while watching the telly, or sitting on the train, then that’s what they are going to do.

So, whichever website allows them to achieve this simply, with the best user experience, will most likely get the business.

User experience and conversion rate optimisation will become even more vital for achieving good results from mobile internet. Mobile device and software developers have given consumers the means to use the web whenever convenient.

The e-commerce winners will be those that make it easy to shop, whether the customer is behind a desk or on the move.

Source: http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/7468-mobile-web-the-game-changed?utm_medium=email&utm_source=topic