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Category Perspective

Using mobile phones for targeted marketing, training and shopper engagement helps retailers gain customer loyalty and competitive advantage. Here are 10 ways to do it effectively.

The popularity of smartphones, growth in app downloads, and decrease in data charges has opened a plethora of opportunities for mobile marketers. In the retail space, it gives them double edged swords; they can gain customer loyalty along with a competitive advantage.
Research from Google suggests that retail buying habits often start from the mobile domain. Social media and search engines ignite inquiry and curiosity, even as consumers are hooked to texting and chatting on their phones. Since a large portion of their attention is diverted to mobile screens (upwards of three hours, according to some estimates), it is safe to assume that offline shoppers who research more tend to buy more.
“We have a very long past, but that has not deterred India from looking at the future and embracing the new. India as a market adopts technologies much faster than most other geographies and that is our big strength,” said Sunder Madakshira, Head Marketing, Adobe India.

TAPPING THE RIGHT AUDIENCE
Mobile technologies play an important role not just in the mainstream retail sector, but also in luxury retail. 29% of shoppers use a smartphone to research their luxury products. An astounding 39% of affluent shoppers under the age of 40 use their devices. This shows that across all sectors, there is game-changing penetration of mobile devices.
Here are 10 ways in which mobile is revolutionizing the retail business operations:

1. Consumer education:
When it comes to educating the primary consumer, few technologies provide the level of scale and depth that mobiles do. They share valuable information directly to consumers when they are interacting with content that appeals to them the most. Taking the traditional business model on mobile has been a revolutionary differentiator for the retail sector. Consumer education also revolves around the mobile experience that retailers deliver, that eventually drive consumers offline to the store.

2. Scale driven strategies:
For scaled marketing and reaching a wider audience, mobile has provided the right approach for Indian retailers. Whether it is discussing the latest offers or launching a new line of products, SMS, social media and opt-in mobile marketing are on the top of the list. Research by Absolute Market Insights suggests that mobile marketing is set to grow at 11.6% CAGR by 2027. With the continued rise of smartphone penetration, mobile marketing is expanding as well.

3. Influencer marketing (collaborations):
Inviting influencers to your physical store is the best way to leverage the capabilities of mobile marketing. It’s a direct way to reach an audience, and a fun strategy to keep followers engaged. Special launches, exclusive events and niche-specific products can be marketed effectively using the mobile device. Influencers can also be used to promote a product while in the store itself. This can help drive awareness and create a newly formed relationship with a brand-new audience set.

4. In-store interactiON:
Retailers are experimenting with AR/VR integrations, along with in-product QR codes that can provide greater information. This extends the story of the physical store, beyond the in-store experience. It’s one of the premier ways to add interactivity in the shopping experience and create demand as shoppers browse through a wider selection using their mobile devices. Technology is evolving to a point where it has become a point of experience-driven differentiator. They can also review different colours, shades and options, if a tablet is present in the store.

5. Online-offline connectivity:
Mobile is the connecting thread between online and offline experiences. It allows for greater engagement within the store and creates a more dynamic environment for sales growth. Adding customers to a mobile marketing list is the best way to ensure loyalty and repeat sales. Having a robust mobile strategy allows retailers to bridge the divide between customers with multiple options and retailers with the right product-market fit.

6. Talent-training:
Mobile is used by major retailers to keep their staff informed and well-trained. The latest insights and key customer trends can be shared via mobile apps or communication modules. Sales staff is then empowered to reach out to customers and interact with them on a more one-to-one basis. They can also convert customers at a much better rate, as they become more knowledgeable about their product.

7. Logistics management:
Mobile has become a resourceful tool in the retail space when it comes to logistics as well. Retailers can track shipping and parcel drops directly from their mobile devices. They can also add new features into the dashboard to customize their experience. Logistics is a complex domain, made simpler with mobile flexibility and the cloud. Since most retailers are on their devices daily, it is a more convenient format of staying one step ahead of the market.

8. Mobile advertising:
A vast majority of shoppers access search engines and social media platforms via mobile devices. Most retailers only focus on social media marketing and promotion. It’s important to include advertising on mobile platforms, as a critical part of the omni-channel marketing experience. Customers can be segmentised on their preferences and advertised directly for promotions and sales offers. It’s a more dynamic way to network with new customers. Remarketing is also possible with existing customers who have visited in the past.

9. Extending options in products:
The mobile store could serve as an extension of launches and product options. Since physical retailers can only display so much, a store’s mobile version can help showcase more. It can be a critical component of how customers interact with the brand, with the store being a memorable physical-experience.

10. Buyer engagement:
Customers can be welcomed to take pictures and try on products to post on social media. Making the experience memorable for them is essential, which allows mobile to become a true integrator. For e.g. they can even take pictures of their homes via their mobile and ask for recommendations on best products that will look well in the décor space.