At this point, everyone knows (or should know) the traditional retail experience is evolving with online and mobile progression and will never be the same, as shoppers adopt new mobile experiences and get hooked by them.
According to Price (2014), due to online and mobile progession, we’ll see consumers be adamant, alert, always-on, asset-light and agitated.
Retailers have been aware that smartphones and other mobile devices are increasingly becoming tools for discovery, inspiration and instant gratification for shoppers.
Early adopters are already using their smartphones to connect to and customize the physical world around them.
That means brands have to reinvent themselves and focus their business model on the needs and experience of the consumer. But are brands and companies prepared for that? For the fact that customer is the hero, not the brand?
In a context of mobile dominance and obsession, with shoppers using mobile devices everywhere and at any stage, Boiler (2015) notes the emergence of new mobile retail-shopping apps, that make shopping more effortless, with entertaining at every stage. Some useful tips about those, in order to maximize these interactions:
- Keep it simple. People are looking for a quick hit of information, guidance, inspiration, or fun. Respect others time by feeding their needs.
- Keep it fun. Smartphones and other digital devices can offer a different, complementary experience to retail store. Apps and sites can help find an item or a deal. Adding a fun twist or element of discovery is the key secret.
- Keep it going. Before investing in development, think about the shelf life of the platform. Will it offer customers a consistently rewarding experience? Can it scale into a real business or brand driver over time? One-and-done experiences can be expensive and confusing for consumers, ultimately costing their trust.
The examples of physical and virtual engagement are becoming more real. Look at american retailer Target. Conscious on how people are using smartphones during store visits and intending to increase foot traffic, Target created a mobile gaming experience, named Bullseye’s Playground (starring its mascot, Bullseye), for holiday season. It was activated when customers entered the stores. This fun mobile experience comprised six games, through which people could sled, ice fish and take part in virtual snowball fights. The games invited guests to come in-store where signage helped them discover hidden codes that unlock additional levels and characters.
Target also launched a new mobile app with in-store mapping technology so shoppers can find individual aisles where products are located.
On the other hand, digital retailer Birchbox (as many other online-only players) has perfected their brand experience, following an omnichannel strategy, expanding upon its online subscription service and opening its first brick and mortar location. In fact, according to Accenture (in Taylor, 2014), nearly half (49%) of consumers believe the best action retailers can take to improve their shopping experience is to better integrate in-store, online and mobile shopping channels.
‘Phygital’ solutions are flourishing. But it´s also important not to forget technologies are only part of the solution. The key to success is based on a very old value- People– as Ballard (in Costa, 2015), a specialist in e-business and e-commerce explains. But this alone is enough matter for another article…
Author: Ana Canavarro
Boiler, John (2015)- The Convergence of Retail and Mobile: The Creative Shortlist, Feb. 015, available at https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/convergence-of-retail-and-mobile.html (consult. 3.06.015).
Bullseye’s Playground -Make holiday shopping more fun with mobile in-store games, available at https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/campaigns/target-bullseyes-playground.html (consult. 3.06.015).
Costa, Ana Rita (2015) – Conheça o segredo do sucesso no omnicanal, Jun. 015, available at http://www.distribuicaohoje.com/news.aspx?menuid=68&eid=13265&bl=1 (consult. 4.06.015).
Johnson, Lauren (2014)– Target Turns Its Stores Into One Big Mobile Game for the Holidays, Gives new meaning to smartphone shopping, Dec. 014, available at http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/target-turns-its-stores-one-big-mobile-game-holidays-161727 (consult. 6.06.015).
Price, Jim in Dugan, Kevin (2014) –Trend Predictions: Consumers, Mobile & Retail Pushing Convergence (interview to Jim Price), Dec. 014, available at http://www.mediaispower.com/2015-trend-predictions-consumers-mobile-retail-pushing-convergence/#sthash.oFLvYaMx.KgaHi4wl.dpbs (consult. 3.06.015).
Taylor, Glenn (2014)- ETailers Open Stores To Improve One-To-One Relationships With Shoppers, Oct. 014, http://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/trend-watch/etailers-open-stores-to-improve-one-to-one-relationships-with-shoppers.