In recent years, mobile technology has become an asset to retailers in numerous ways. Now more than ever, consumers and retail employees are taking to mobile devices to ease and streamline tasks, and it’s having a positive effect on retailers’ success. Recent data indicates that consumers utilize their mobile devices for things like product research, accessing promotions, and convenient check-out.
The compelling opportunity for retailers is blending what’s best of what the digital realm has to offer, with the best parts of what the physical retail environment can deliver, but what should retailers consider when coordinating the use of in-store mobile devices with their brick and mortar retail location? And how are smart retailers using in-store mobile devices getting it right?
Here are four ways that retailers are getting it right with in-store mobile devices, and tips on how you can, too.
1. Mobile as the salesperson
With endless information accessible at a consumer’s fingertips through their mobile device they can access detailed product information online and conduct research while they are in a store in seconds. A recent report entitled “Reality in Retail,” found that 53% of consumers actually prefer to do product research in-store, as opposed to at home. Shoppers also have quick access to services like additional purchase options if an item happens to be out of stock at a specific location.
With mobile functioning in this way for retailers, it is serving as a “virtual salesperson.” In fact, only 12% of shoppers feel that an in-store sales associate is an important touchpoint in the retail purchasing process, because consumers are getting the needed information plus more from their mobile device. Mobile can now create a personalized shopping experience for a customer because of things like app loyalty programs, quick research or item lookup, mobile pay and location-based beacon technology. Beacon technology can identify a customer and their purchase history as soon as they walk in the store to recommend or promote items by sending the user mobile push notifications to a device within seconds.
2. Mobile for the salesperson
While some customers might not utilize the salesperson in the way that they could before, in-store salespeople aren’t going anywhere. However, their role, and how they interact with customers, is evolving as technology evolves and stores adopt retail in-store device use. Smart retailers are now equipping sales people with mobile devices and digital technology, so they have quick access to product information and can answer questions and make suggestions to solve a customer’s problem. In-store sales associates can also leverage mobile to easily provide customers with alternate purchasing options in the event that a specific item is out of stock. They can also quickly access information about items that might be complimentary to what the customer is interested in, increasing upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
Brands are rapidly jumping on board, with a recent survey finding that 38% of companies plan on investing in mobile technology to further enable their salespeople. A great example of this is AT&T. If you visit a retail location, their sales associates are equipped with tablets in hand that allow them to assist customers with product and account information, technical support, and a variety of other services. AT&T enables its salespeople with mobile technology to ensure a smooth and seamless retail experience for its customers to increase sales and keep customers happy.
3. Mobile as the wallet
One of the more recent innovations in mobile retail is the use of smartphones and applications as a digital “wallet.” Stores are increasing offerings of mobile pay options to increase convenience and speed up the checkout process in order to reduce lines and wait times. In fact, mobile POS installation is expected to increase by upwards of 286% over the next two years. 56% of those retailers are planning to accept the most popular mobile payment solution, ApplePay, within the next three years. These mobile payment solutions will integrate nicely with the increasing usage of mobile coupons, promotions, and loyalty programs. Discounts can be accessed and applied in just one swipe of the phone at checkout.
4. Mobile as the Point-of-Sale (POS)
The traditional cash register is evolving, as digital technologies and mobile payments become more prevalent in the retail environment. New POS solutions like Square have the capability of accepting credit, debit, and mobile wallet payments. In many cases, all the retailer needs is an iPad, avoiding the necessity of investing in additional hardware. There are also more advanced mobile POS solutions like Bank of America’s Clover, which is a full cash drawer hardware and software bundle that not only accepts mobile payments, but integrates with other inventory and financial applications. Overall, payment systems like these are becoming the new standard for retailers because, combined with mobile technology, they increase the ease and efficiency of the purchase process for the employees which appeases the consumers with a quick, easy and stress-free checkout experience.
These are just a few of the ways that retailers are finding success with leveraging consumers’ affinity for the use of in-store mobile devices. By applying some of these tactics, and staying on top of developing trends in mobile retail, you can enhance the in-store experience of your customers and employees (and in turn your bottom line).