Retailers and Smartphones – It’s not “if” or “when”… it’s “how”

howblogimage2-1We’ve all seen the numbers of how many people have smartphones and that they are using them to help with shopping. But if your memory is like mine, here is a quick refresher:

  • There are over 100 million smartphones in the U.S. and growing fast[1]
  • 73% use their smartphones to help with the shopping experience[2]

That means it is no longer “if” (that answer is “yes”) or “when” (“now”) to implement a mobile strategy, it’s “how”.  So we’ll talk about “how” to do just that.

The primary key to success is engaging the customer.  Offer them something that helps either save money or save time. Or both. And make it part of the natural shopping process – either what they are already doing now or what they will easily shift to doing because it’s easier, more efficient or more effective.

To those ends, there are the high-level concepts to keep in mind.

  • Understand your customer – Mobile offers a significant leap forward in understanding what your customers want to buy and what they are interested in. This can be accomplished through an intelligent shopping list, products searched for and scanned.
  • Communicate with your customer at every decision point – Since you know their interests, you can put highly-personalized product suggestions or offers in front of them.
  • Measure the effectiveness of your campaigns – Which offers do they click on, and which products did they buy? Use that information to improve ads and campaigns to drive additional revenue.

Some ways to accomplish this within the mobile channel include:

  • Provide a tool that helps shoppers find the products they are looking for by dropping a pin at the product’s location on an indoor map of the store.  This ensures they do not leave the store without finding what they are looking for.
  • Graphically show the most efficient route through the store, giving them time to browse for and buy additional products.
  • Recommend products and deals that are both relevant and nearby in the store.

In upcoming posts, we’ll go through other key principals for effective shopper engagement using the mobile channel, including optimizing the flow of the app and how to get shoppers to find and use your app.

[1] Nearly 116 million Americans will use a smartphone at least monthly by the end of this year, up from 93.1 million in 2011. Source: eMarketer, 2012

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Point Inside has transformed the shopping experience by enabling retailers to engage proactively with customers through their smartphones at every point along the purchase path.

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