Hi everyone. Today I found a great article in the B2C that I know many of you will enjoy reading or possibly relate to. The original article can be found here - http://www.business2community.com/mobile-apps/4-ways-brick-mortar-stores-can-profit-mobile-01492416#fLtPU2JzCQ8GOYo5.97 - if you’d like to read the article there, or I’ve pasted parts of it here to share it. It’s well worth a read.
Every day, more and more people are turning to their phones to do their shopping, and many apps are making it even more convenient to do so. Shopping on mobile can literally be done in the palm of your hand, without having to wait in line or fight through the crowds of other shoppers.
But, there is one quality of in-store shopping that mobile can’t compete with: physical interaction. Mobile shopping doesn’t satisfy our need to see and touch the products before we buy, and shopping in-store is a habit that we’ve developed over our decades of brick-and-mortar retailers.
85% of people still prefer to shop in physical stores instead of online. But that doesn’t mean traditional retail stores should ignore mobile all-together. There are many ways that brick-and-mortar stores can use the rise of mobile-mobile to actually enhance the in-store shopping experience.
1. Accommodate Mobile Payments
Streamlining the payment process is just one more way to smooth out the in-store buying process. The popularity of Apple and Samsung pay is on the rise. Both use NFC (Near-Field Communication) technology to communicate with the POS systems in stores that are adapted to read the signals from the mobile device.
This technology has been around for decades, but the expense of upgrading older POS systems to be NFC compatible has prevented it from gaining momentum. But, with new regulations requiring the switch to more secure chip cards, most new chip card readers will be equipped with NFC technology.
Mobile payments make it easier for a purchase to be made in the store. And the smoother the sales process, the more likely a customer is to make a purchase.
2. Use Messaging Apps
There are so many uses for messaging apps that go beyond just chatting with your friends. In fact, Facebook even wants to put ads in its Messenger app and allow businesses to reach out to customers through it.
Retailers can encourage customers to use messenger apps to request assistance, which can be especially helpful in larger retail stores. Customers are also encouraged to reach out to businesses with any concerns or customer service needs.
It’s also a way for smaller, more local shops to compete with national brands on a customer experience level. Receiving inquiries directly through messaging tools makes customers feel more connected and valued, which is the type of personalized service that most small businesses are already known for.
Using a messenger app, retailers can also alert customers with real-time updates when a product comes back in stock, or new items that may be of interest to them arrive. This can be especially handy for small businesses who may not necessarily have an online store.
3. Optimize Your Online Presence
More and more consumers are reading online reviews of businesses and products before visiting a store or making an in-store purchase. In fact, 88% of consumers read online reviews to determine the quality of a local business, and 39% read reviews on a regular basis.
It’s important to be aware of your online presence for the purpose of managing your reputation. If you don’t know what people are saying about you, how can you know what’s working and what isn’t?
Make sure your business is listed on sites people look at on-the-go and claim your business on Google. Then, encourage your customers to leave thoughtful, rich online reviews of your retail store. The more reviews, the better, because 67% of consumers say they read up to six reviews before making a purchasing decision, and 85% say they read up to 10 reviews.
Since social media is mostly mobile, make sure your accounts are optimized and easy to find. Place a sign in your store encouraging customers to find you on Instagram, follow your Twitter account, or like your Facebook page. If you’re one of the many small businesses dabbling in Snapchat, have a poster with your Snapcode in the store, so customers can easily scan it and follow you.
Then, you can use social media to post fun updates of what’s going on in your store, tease customers with new arrivals, let them know about any sales, and really solidify your brand’s image and personality. Essentially, you can use mobile to drive customers back into your store.
4. Build a Mobile App
Mobile apps are already trumping mobile web browsers by giving a more customized and detailed path through the purchase journey. Many companies even offer exclusive, in-app discounts.
In the same way, retail stores can use mobile apps to engage with customers and enhance their in-store shopping experience, which can ultimately build customer loyalty and drive sales.
The top three reasons customers use apps in-store are:
- To redeem discounts.
- To compare pricing.
- To view ratings and reviews.
There are many big-name stores that are already taking advantage of mobile in their retail stores.
It’s All About Customer Satisfaction
Enhancing a customer’s in-store shopping experience is vital to gaining their trust and loyalty. A retail app can provide businesses with the opportunity to engage with customers on a more personal level, and having open lines of communication can make consumers feel more welcomed.
Ultimately, the goal is to make a customer’s in-store experience one they’ll want to brag about. People prefer to shop in stores, so why not use mobile to create an experience that makes them come back for more?
This author seems to write some great stuff and well worth following.
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