Written by: Stefanie Gray
Consumers still prefer the in-store experience to online shopping according to a 2014 A.T. Kearney study entitled “On solid Ground: Brick-and-mortar Is the Foundation of Omnichannel Retailing.” A more recent study, “The Reality of Retail Report,” April 2015 by InReality, further supports that a retailer’s brick-and-mortar presence is integral to the consumer’s shopping journey. Key findings from both reports:
- 95% of all retail sales are captured by retailers with a brick-and-mortar presence (A.T. Kearney).
- 75% of consumers use their mobile device in store to assist in the path-to-purchase (InReality).
- Two thirds of consumers who purchase online use the store before or after the transaction (A.T. Kearney).
- Shoppers are gathering information both online and in-store, thus entering the store at differing stages of the buy cycle (InReality).
Based on these reports, not only are physical stores still relevant but it is important to note that mobile marketing programs, such as promotional text messages and mobile coupons, are playing an increasingly larger role in the path-to-purchase. Based on years of experience working with some of the largest retailers in the US, following are eight ways in which our retailer customers improve in-store mobile engagement.
Advertising in-store is a great way to increase mobile app downloads. A CodeBroker retailer customer encourages consumers to download the mobile app by instructing them to text in the keyword APP to the retailer’s shortcode. Signage is placed at key locations throughout the store, such as check-out, so that consumers can download the app while they wait in line.
In addition, the retailer delivers a “thank you” offer as further incentive to download the mobile app. An example of a “thank you” offer is a promotional text message with a mobile coupons that offers 10% off the consumer’s entire basket valid for their next visit, in-store only. It’s important to note that the offer is effective for the next store trip, not the current shopping excursion. The retailer is sensitive to the amount of time it takes a consumer to check-out. Waiting for consumers to download the mobile app and receive the offer could increase wait time.
Service Alerts: Order In-store / Pick-up In-store
One retailer increases in-store mobile engagement by providing inventory information to their customers. If an item is not readily available off-the-shelf, the customer can check if the item is in-stock using their mobile device. If the item is in-store, the customer can request the item to be brought to the customer service desk for pick-up prior to check-out. The retailer has found that the order in-store / pick-up in-store capability makes the customer more self-sufficient and saves the customer considerable time. They no longer have to hunt for a store associate and wait while the store employee checks inventory levels.
Beacons can be used to deliver a variety of information improving the consumer in-store experience. Examples include offers and product information, to name a few. A CodeBroker retailer customer uses beacons to advertise complementary merchandise resulting in increased basket size.
When a consumer pauses at an endcap display, the retailer delivers an alert to the consumer’s mobile device with product information about the displayed merchandise. In addition to product description and customer reviews, the retailer displays matching accessories along with directions on where to find the additional items within the store.
To meet seasonal hiring requirements, one CodeBroker retailer customer advertises in-store for temporary help. Based on in-store signage, a customer texts in a keyword (e.g., HOLIDAY) to the retailer’s shortcode. In response, the customer receives a text message asking them to enter their first and last name. The customer’s cell phone number is automatically captured and is used as the primary means of communication.
The retailer then delivers a second text message that contains a link that the customer can click to fill out an online job application. The retailer has found that this method is a great way to hire temporary employees. The retailer uses it multiple times a year to fill all seasonal positions.
Mobile coupons and mobile offers are always a great way to promote in-store mobile engagement. One of our retailer customers delivers personalized offers to customers as they enter the store. Using the customer’s past purchase data, the retailer delivers a PUSH notification to the customer’s mobile device as they enter the store. Alerts may include notifying the customer of an item that is currently on sale or delivering a promotional text message with a link to a mobile coupon for an item the customer has not recently purchased.
Another form of an in-store mobile engagement is an on-demand mobile coupon. The retailer displays signage instructing the customer to text in a keyword to the retailer’s shortcode to receive an instantaneous mobile offer. On-demand promotions routinely realize redemption rates between 30-50%.
A CodeBroker retailer customer provides access to a recipient’s gift registry via mobile. Similar to the traditional in-store experience where a customer logs into a device at a fixed location to view the requested items in a registry, the customer can now view a registry from their mobile device.
The customer is no longer tethered to the device, nor have to carry reams of paper around with them as they research which item(s) to buy as everything is readily viewable on the mobile device. The customer can even use their mobile device to select the merchandise, pay for it, and elect to have the item(s) delivered directly to the recipient.
One CodeBroker retailer customer has hundreds of QR codes posted throughout their stores providing ancillary product information. Items such as cribs, electronic devices and sporting equipment are ideal products that consumers heavily research in-store. By scanning the QR code, the customer can learn about safety ratings, warranty information, recall notices, or view customer comments. This particular retailer even has a QR code scanner built into their mobile app.
Service Alerts: Shopping List Reminders
Another CodeBroker retailer customer lets consumers create a shopping list from within their mobile app. When the customer enters the store, the retailer delivers a PUSH notification reminding the customer to check their shopping list.
For list-making people like myself, it is much easier to keep track of items on my mobile device. I can jot down a must-have or a nice-to-have while waiting in the doctor’s office or in line at the DMV. In addition, the reminder alert guarantees that I won’t unwittingly forget an item.
As suggested in the research, in-store mobile engagement is making the consumer much more self-reliant. In addition, CodeBroker retailer customers are finding creative ways to support the new in-store shopping journey paradigm.
In addition to the eight examples cited above, there are many more ways to engage customers while in-store. Please contact CodeBroker for more information. We are always happy to share best practices.