Bess Batterham Team : Web Operations Tags : Mobile Web

Retailers, it’s time to embrace mobile internet in stores.

Bess Batterham Team : Web Operations Tags : Mobile Web

Some retailers may be feeling threatened by the growing trend of in store mobile use, but if they learn to embrace they can use it to enhance their customer’s in-store experience.

Retailers can do this by providing apps and mobile optimised sites, but also by offering wi-fi  to customers in their shops. 

According to an On Device Research (ODR) survey of mobile users, 60 per cent of respondents have used the internet of their mobile while in stores, while 78 per cent would use free wi-fi in stores if offered it. 

The use of smartphones by consumers is growing, and many are now using them to compare prices, and search the web for product reviews while they are shopping.

Plenty of surveys have come out showing the growth of mobile usage in retail stores. An iModorate survey found that more than half of smartphone owners are using the internet in stores for such reasons as price comparison, checking store locations, and hunting for discounts.

Another survey by Our Mobile Planet shows that 24 per cent of smartphone users from the UK are taking their phones shopping with them in order to compare prices and inform themselves about products. 

So the two main reasons why consumers are using mobile in store is for price comparison and to look up reviews. 

Price comparison

This is usually the main reason a consumer will use mobile internet in a store which is no surprise wit the state of the economy. Customers are now more price sensitive than ever, and the mobile is the perfect tool to know whether you are getting the best value for money. Plus, they want to see if there are potential savings to be made it only takes a second to check if you can buy exactly the same product online for less. 

Looking for reviews

This is another common reason to reach for the smartphone when in store, and this is a behaviour that high street retailers should encourage. 

Checking for a review of a product is a sure sign of purchase intent. It means they like the look of a product, and are perhaps just seeking some reassurance. 

The threat of these growing trends to retailers is that, whatever the quality of sevice in the store they are in and however big the range of products they have on offer are, shoppers will always have the option to compare  this with what’s on offer online.

There are a number of mobile apps and websites that enable in store shoppers to check and compare product prices, but Amazon’s mobile products represent possibly the biggest single threat to offline retailers.  

Using the barcode scanner on the app, customers can easily check the products they are looking at in store on Amazon’s site. 

Since Amazon is often cheaper, with a variety of delivery options, this can pose a real threat. 

So, how can offline and multichannel retailers meet this challenge? 

First of all, do not block internet access. This could end up as being counter-productive and is certainly not a kind of tactic a forward-thinking retailer should be using. 

Instead, offer reviews at the point of sale by bringing the ratings and reviews on their websites into their stores to help push products. 

To really make the mobile internet shopper happy retailers need to make sure they have a mobile site or app. Promote it in store so that if customers want to compare prices or check reviews they are persuaded to do it from the store’s site using scanning technology or in-store links. 

Mobile vouchers are a great way to do some cross-selling. If retailers allow voucher codes offered online to be redeemed in-store it’s a great way to increase footfall. In-store wi-fi can allow deals and savings to be sent to someone who has just walked into the store, or even past it. 

Wi-fi in store also provides a way to capture customer details and target them with offers it also ensures the customer is able to access the information they need. Wi-fi is good for this as it makes the mobile experience easier for shoppers. So that instead of relying on variable 3G connections, providing internet access means they can browse reviews, scan QR codes, and use review apps as much as they like. It also allows them with internet access to download the retailer’s app. 

A blend of location and personalisation can make life easier for customers, while allowing retailers to target customers with relevant offers and recommendations. 

Mobile isn't going away, and the retailers that adapt to this trend quickly and use it to improve the customer experience will have a big advantage over their competitors.