Walk around any retail store, and you’ll notice many people are talking on smartphones or using the devices to shop and compare products. Eighty percent of consumers say they won’t leave home without their phones. The lifeline connects them to family, shopping, research, and more. Understanding how smartphones impact the consumer experience puts store owners in a great position to leverage the buying power of mobile users. Developing a mobile marketing strategy to increase shopping in physical stores is an opportunity to increase overall sales, highlight specific products and attract younger shoppers. Google’s “Our Mobile Planet: Global Smartphone Users” study indicates how often purchases are made via smartphones.
Shoppers Still Prefer Shopping In-store
Although purchasing online from the comfort of home is convenient, research indicates consumers prefer to shop in a physical store for various reasons. PwC, a consulting solutions firm, conducted its annual consumer survey and found that 40 percent of consumers visit a brick-and-mortar store weekly, compared to 27 percent who shop online. Why the preference for in-store shopping?
Use Smartphone Technology to Increase Sales
Store owners can implement mobile marketing promotions to encourage smartphone users to purchase products and build an ongoing relationship with the business. Methods include using in-store push notifications and offering discounts with text codes, QR codes, and apps.
In-Store Push Notifications
Most hardware store owners are affiliated with a co-op or wholesaler that has developed an app that enables consumers to take advantage of sales, access articles, and other information related to the brand. In-store push notification gets consumers’ attention while they are making purchasing decisions. Major retailers use this strategy to enhance the shopping experience. Independent store owners can encourage consumers to download the app and use it during store visits to generate additional sales. Use push sparingly since research indicates shoppers who receive two or more during a store visit will stop checking their phones.
Opt-in Discounts with Text Codes
Offering consumers a discount code is a cost-efficient way to build a mobile-based relationship. Shoppers are accustomed to seeing digital displays that reward them with a discount on a product if they text a code to a certain number. After texting the number, consumers can download the store’s app or access a limited amount of advertising. The small discount can be used for an immediate purchase. It also gives store owners insight into how consumers engage with the business.
Consumers often research products online before making a major purchase. Shoppers have been trained to scan QR codes displayed on television screens, magazines, and products. When people come into a store to make a purchase, the packaging often has a QR code. Many manufacturers include QR codes on their packaging to help consumers make an informed buying decision. The code often directs shoppers to a website or app that will explain the use and applications of the product in greater detail than the packaging. It’s not unusual for stores to display a shelf-talker near products that ask customers to scan the QR code.
Most of us would agree that consumers have an abundance of options for apps. Nielson’s research shows the average smartphone user accesses about 27 apps every month. However, shoppers are willing to download a new app if the perks make it worthwhile. Apps have higher levels of adoption when consumers are rewarded with discounts, receive free music, or can use it to pay for their purchases. Simply offering advertising does not enhance the user experience and will not help the store attract additional shoppers.
Commit to Mobile Marketing
Customers are using smartphones everywhere they go—especially when they shop. Mobile marketing encourages people to visit physical stores rather than purchasing products exclusively online. Using technology can help independent retailers become a destination for hard-to-find products and exclusive deals from the manufacturers. Cover mobile marketing in your current strategic plan to get the word out and increase sales.