The way we shop is changing. Partly driven by convenience, reach and the competitive nature of online purchasing, ‘high street’ retail stores are evolving to adopt online elements. For retailers to be successful, they must integrate intelligent multichannel campaigns that embrace the advance of mobile, tablet and now phablet to bridge the online and offline retail gap.
Why mobile specifically? Because consumers trust mobiles more. 73% of shoppers prefer to reference their mobile phones in store rather than ask for help – online information is perceived as more objective, more reliable. And, it’s not just to price-check, mobile gives a great advantage to the potential buyer through customer reviews and feedback. Mobile also provides an unrivalled central touchpoint, the ‘always addressable’ segment, within arm’s reach of 91% of adults for 24 hours a day. It’s a unique channel, combining identifying information (geographic, social, call and text data) which can be used to recognise, personalise and engage in real time. In an Acxiom UK online survey of 3410 respondents,
More than 1 in 3 consumers say that if a retailer served an offer to their mobile device while they were in store, they would make a purchase.
Geotargeting will play an increasingly prominent role in retail mobile marketing strategies. Promotional content, geotargeted using publically available IP data (‘IP to Geo’) or through Beacon Technology (low-cost micro-location tech using Bluetooth) can give a 30 – 300% increase in response rates. Being able to recognise and personalise at an individual level offers huge potential, whether that’s by telling a consumer where their nearest store is, or connecting in-store through apps directly to consumers on their mobile devices. Beacon technology affords retailers unparalleled opportunities to make communications to their customers more relevant and enhance their shopping experience. It allows retailers to understand who their best customers are, perhaps serve them special offers and build stronger relationship with them, enabled through the collection of invaluable data about their in-store shopping habits.
The real-time challenge
Online, and specifically mobile channels facilitate 24/7 retail, allowing huge volumes of valuable actionable data to become available to marketers. Using that data to understand users’ behaviour and needs is key to forming successful strategies that share personalised, relevant content with the right people at the right times.
But knowing who and how to target is tough. Consumers have complex preferences. In retail, real-time marketing that places accurate data insight at its heart, is the only route to timely accuracy. If retailers get that data wrong, their whole mobile strategy will suffer. But get it right; using insight to recognise consumer wants, needs and habits; and the right messages can be offered appropriately. It’s not easy, but everyone benefits.
Understanding data and consumers to use mobile effectively
Retailers must evolve to make the most of these changing shopping patterns. Mobile is most valuable as a channel if brands ensure that it is cohesively integrated with other online and offline touchpoints and campaigns, all informed by insight that increasingly comes along in real-time.
Retailers should take every opportunity to capture mobile data, and link it back to a centralised customer view, be it physical or virtual. When enhanced with demographic and behavioural insight, data can be used to increase new customer acquisition, engagement, loyalty and best personalise messages to users who do buy – not devices which do not! Remember: messages should only be sent if they add value.
The advent of 4G mobile phone connections means all content – from ads to video to apps – is more accessible than ever before, on the move and in store. No matter how consumers want to access communications, (SMS, apps, email, social etc) it’s likely they’ll be reachable wherever they are.
Well into the internet and mobile-enabled consumer revolution, retail has been one of the channels that has witnessed the greatest change. Just compare high-street to online Christmas shopping habits. But despite the technology and great retail strategies, none of this would have happened if it had not been for us consumers, the individuals with our needs and preferences who vote with our wallets, online and still offline too! It is our old friend data that reveals us as individuals and allows a retailer to devise and deploy strategies that make a difference to us and so in turn to their success.
The ability to successfully recognise us as individuals across touchpoints and connect data across the offline and online worlds view should be top of every retailer’s wish-list for 2015.
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