Brick & mortar retailers are always looking for ways to better engage the customer with her head glued to her mobile device. Digitally engaging customers can increase sales and improve customer loyalty. But there are so many ways to engage consumers digitally. Because many retail giants have invested heavily in their brick & mortar footprint, the question remains:
How do retailers leverage mobile & digital technology to improve in-store shopping?
An International Council of Shopping Centers survey of more than 1,000 people in February (conducted by Opinion Research Corp. for ICSC) was released two days ago, and it tells us several key sentiments of the in-store shopper:
- Leave Me Alone While I Shop: By 2020, “Three-fifths of consumers expect that they will actually prefer to be left alone to do their own thing while in stores instead of engaging with a sales person.”
- Show Me How it Will Look: More than 50% of respondents said they prefer to have access to digital/mobile tools that can superimpose a home furnishing or accessory within a real space.
- Let Me Buy Online and Pick It Up in Store: Almost 75% of respondents (87% of millennial respondents) said they have purchased ahead of time on their mobile device and picked the item up in the store. This behavior is referred to as “click-and-collect.”
- Show Me Where to Find It In the Store: More than 50% of respondents said they prefer to compile their own digital shopping list ahead of time and then have a mobile app or similar device direct them on where to go within the store to easily find what’s on their list. This is increasing in customer expectations as tools such as Alexa’s shopping list make this behavior more familiar to consumers. 37% of consumers said they’ve used a digital assistant to build shopping lists or to place orders for in-store pickups
My colleague here at Perficient, Albert Qian, wrote about another study recently completed that shows additional features that can help to engage the in-store shopper using technology:
It behooves retailers to ask more than ever what their customers want. Success is no longer foot traffic through the door, but also investing in the appropriate infrastructure that adds value and delights customers to return. These include using technologies like chat bots, cloud artificial intelligence, and recommendations engines that enhance the sales capabilities of the in-store associate.
Even retailers experimenting with hybrid cloud stand to benefit as they take advantage of the additional customer data to personalize, understand, and contextualize each individual visit to a retail or online store. The more retailers execute, the less likely a customer will be lost to a competitor down the street or online, resulting in repeat visits and word of mouth sharing.
Should Retailers Invest in the Mobile Web or Mobile Apps?
According to this ICSC survey, it’s important to evaluate your mobile app opportunity. Check out these impressive stats on the survey respondents’ usage of retailers’ mobile apps:
- 71% of consumers have one or more retailer apps on their phones.
- 74% of consumers access a retailer app at least once a week.
- 86% of millennials accessed a retailer’s app once a week.