5 mobile retailing tips

Keeping pace with fast moving consumers

There’s a lot of talk about the “third screen,” the notion that, in addition to the TV and the PC, the two main screens in everyone’s lives, a third one is now becoming as commonplace and influential: the mobile phone.
And by “phone,” I mean the multipurpose information devices that deliver not just voice, but data in every form imaginable: photos, text, video, music, and more.

The broad acceptance of Apple’s and Google’s mobile platforms has created a major opportunity for retailers. The “third screen” is a portal into your customer’s needs.

If you think “smart phones” are still cutting edge, think again. Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population now carries some form of robust internet handheld device, and those numbers are growing fast. Your customers are quickly becoming savvy users of a source of remarkably deep, real-time information as they shop.

Think about this. Touch-based interfaces now are experienced in a daily context. It’s not just widely accepted; it is accelerating our interaction with technology.

Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population now carries some form of robust “third screen” internet handheld.

Here are 5 key ideas about the intersection of modern mobile devices and retail:

1. As “push” becomes less affordable, “pull” becomes inevitable

Most retailers “push” marketing information to shoppers via TV, circulars, and websites. As the circulation of printed information—such as newspapers and magazines — shrinks, the price of distribution will grow. The third screen allows customers to “pull” product information as they shop, on their own terms. The benefit to the shopper is self-directed education with which to make better decisions; the benefit to the retailer is extended marketing reach without adding more visual clutter in the shopping environment.

2. Mobile codes are an easy way to share in-store information

TAs small as a square inch, tiny graphics, called tags, can be added to packaging, signage, and other retail elements. With their enabled phones customers point at the graphic, and are provided additional information about related products, special offers, prices, detailed specifications, and photos. Perfect for applications where space is limited. These systems can be easily updated with new content to encourage repeat use, and ideally encourage a new shopping behavior.

3. Don’t neglect traditional web experiences

Create a really fantastic web presence first, and then extend it through mobile. When companies see the potential of mobile marketing solutions, it can be tempting to chase the latest shiny object. Think twice before making your mobile presence your priority. Are you attending to the web basics? Is your site findable (SEO), searchable, and frequently updated?

4. There’s more out there than the iPhone

Create a really fantastic web presence first, and then extend it through mobile. When companies see the potential of mobile marketing solutions, it can be tempting to chase the latest shiny object. Think twice before making your mobile presence your priority. Are you attending to the web basics? Is your site find able (SEO), searchable, and frequently updated?

5. In-store service and experience still matter

Maybe even now more than ever. Third-party mobile apps are written everyday to help your customers compare prices, and inventories, among other options. The in-store experience you provide for consumers may be the main differentiator between your store and another, or a web-based retailer. Many shoppers still want to interact with a real person and touch the products. New technologies are available to leverage mobile loyalty programs, as well as the ability to identify who, when, and where shoppers are located. These technologies enable your brand to “push” content or customer incentives based on the location of a consumer. Get to know the relevant applications. Many of your customers already have!

With its inherent versatility and growing popularity, the “third screen” may quickly become a consumer’s only screen.

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