With apologies to Bob Dylan, the times they have already a-changed.
From almost nowhere a few years ago, there are over 100 million smartphones in the US. And they now outnumber other mobile phones. More important, 89% of these smartphone users use them to shop.
The first truism: Customers have smartphones – and they’re not afraid to use them.
These mobile devices are used for everything: creating shopping lists, getting more product information, sharing deals (and complaints) with friends, clipping digital coupons, and scanning QR codes.
And they’re likely checking your prices against your competition.
The second truism: If shoppers aren’t using your app, they’re using your competitor’s. And they’re likely doing it while inside your store.
Some interesting shopping app examples include:
- Shopping lists that tell you which local store offers the best prices for the products you want. It’s happening in the UK and reports are they’re moving to the US. Soon.
- Digital couponing sites are growing as the systems become smoother and easier. That means brands are connecting directly with your customers. And it may not be to your benefit.
- Indoor location technologies that show shoppers exactly where each product is. Now shoppers are finding what they are looking for and they’re very happy about it. Loyalty is way up.
These are all opportunities for increased engagement, and for getting to know your customer better so that you can deliver more of what they want.
Don’t fear the new shopper experience. Embrace it. And use it to improve your understanding of your customers, increase sales and drive up customer satisfaction and loyalty.
The take-away: The mobile opportunity for brick and mortar retailers is right now. It’s a matter of taking advantage of it. So make your mobile strategy happen now while you have the greatest opportunity to influence your customers. The longer you wait the less difference it will make when you do finally get there.