6 minute read
Mobile’s impact on retail seems to be constantly evolving. Retailers are challenged to keep up with the changes, investing in new technologies and new mobile experiences all the time. It’s clear that most retailers today recognize the importance of having a mobile strategy and that having a good mobile experience is a critical to success.
Well, another change has taken place. Retailers today are realizing that mobile is less about conversions than it is about its ability to support an omnichannel shopping experience. So, while conversions are still important, mobile’s true value is its ability to unify the cross-channel experience.
The main factor driving this change is that retailers have realized that mobile’s impact extends far beyond mcommerce and mobile conversions.
- Mobile influences $1 trillion of in-store sales
- 64% of customers regularly shop on their phones
- 60% of all shopping behavior starts on mobile
- 90% of shoppers use their smartphone in-store
Thinking “mobile first”
Before retailers can begin working on a “mobile first” experience, there needs to be buy-in from executives and management and a willingness to shift how they think about and measure mobile success. Rather than focusing solely on mobile conversions or sales, retailers need to recognize that shoppers use mobile in a variety of ways and that while many of these uses don’t result in a mobile transaction, they are critical parts of the overall brand and cross-channel experience.
While changing how you think is tough, actually becoming mobile-centric isn’t any easier.
Becoming “mobile first”
One of the first steps to creating a “mobile first” experience is deciding the extent to which your mobile experience will focus on mobile conversions or focus on supporting other parts of the omnichannel experience. How much you emphasize one side over the other will largely depend on your business model and industry, but also on the type of experience you want to create.
The key here is that neither conversions nor omnichannel support are enough on their own – there needs to a balancing act so that mobile can both drive sales and support other areas of the business. Something the once pure-mobile retailer Myntra learned the hard way, withdrawing from their mobile-app-only strategy just a year after implementing it.
Using mobile shopping carts
Mobile shopping carts are becoming a pillar of omnichannel retailing. That’s because they answer the challenge of unifying cross-channel information and bridging the gap between online and offline.
Knowing what your customers have in their digital wish list is great information for retailers. These carts are clear indication of a shopper’s intent, and retailers can use this information to help improve customer service and the overall shopping experience. For instance, your sales associates can use handheld devices to lookup a shopper’s cart, preferences, and purchase history, allowing them to make recommendations tailored to the customer’s tastes.
You can even use mobile shopping carts as part of your fulfillment strategy, allowing shoppers to easily confirm click-and-collect pick up locations. Nordstrom has already started using this strategy with their Curbside Pickup program. When Nordstrom shoppers choose to buy online and pick up in-store, they can text the store shortly before they arrive, park in a designated parking spot, and a store associate will bring the product right out to their car. While curbside pickup started as a pilot project in select stores, Nordstrom has since rolled it out to all of its 118 full-line locations.
The new CMO?
No, you probably don’t need a Chief Mobile Officer, but taking full advantage of the opportunities surrounding mobile may involve some organizational restructuring or creating a new team.
Mobile is a unique and rapidly changing channel. Many large retailers have recognized that mobile is very demanding, and have created teams responsible for their cross-channel mobile performance. Because mobile has such far reaching impacts, it’s important for your team to have a holistic understanding of the company. They will need to understand the intricacies of mobile and in-store merchandising, digital marketing, and ecommerce – for some companies, that may mean combining people from three different departments.
Find the right technology
Creating this type of shopping experience is going to require leveraging technology and partnerships. Retailers need to think carefully about the types of technology and partnerships they work with to fully take advantage of the opportunities.
Finding the right mobile commerce platform is a critical part of a successful mobile strategy. Different platforms have different capabilities, user interfaces, and checkout flows, all of which impact the customer experience.
But it’s not just your commerce platform that you need to think about. Consider how a robust enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can offer powerful inventory management and fulfillment capabilities, or how your customer loyalty program can be improved by leveraging native functionality in mobile devices or in-store beacons.
Streamline the mobile checkout
While mobile’s role in assisting other channels is hugely important, let’s not overlook mobile’s ability to drive sales by itself. Optimizing the mobile checkout really means making it easier and more streamlined for mobile shoppers to checkout.
Here are few characteristics of a great mobile checkout to consider:
- Speed kills – make sure it’s fast
- Less is more – the less you ask from the customer, the better
- Use obvious and prominent calls to action
- Use a device’s location to suggest/auto-complete form fields
- Use the zip code to auto-populate the city and state whenever possible
- Let shoppers create an account to speed up future checkouts
- Offering multiple payment methods – don’t force them to pay with a credit card
Keep your data quality high
Data accuracy becomes very important when creating a great omnichannel experience, because shoppers expect to be able to look up accurate pricing and inventory data wherever they are. It doesn’t matter if they are using their mobile to do product research in-store or their desktop to do price comparison at home, retailers need to make sure they’re providing shoppers with accurate information.
On the flip side, be sure to collect high quality customer data. Cross-channel data sharing is a key part of creating an omnichannel shopping experience, so be sure that not only are you collecting data, but that you’re using it too.
Mobile has changed. It’s about more than just conversions, it’s about supporting the entire omnichannel shopping experience, unifying cross-channel data, and ultimately improving how customers interact with the brand.