Retailers Realizing There’s a Lot More to Mobile

Filed in Mobile Engagement, Mobile Marketing by on February 25, 2015 0 Comments

Retail_Strategy-ThumbnailRetail analyst house RSR Research recently published a report stating that 88 percent of retailers now look to mobile to drive traffic to stores. However, in this age of the mobile-empowered consumer, an increasing number of retailers are realizing that there’s more to mobile than basic discount offers and special sales events. Putting mobile at the center of their customer engagement strategies opens the opportunity to reap multiple business benefits, including increased app engagement, improved customer service and enhanced loyalty programs, just to name a few.

New technologies, new lifestyle changes and new advanced services have brought on a mobile era of enterprise and consumer engagement, positioning the user at the center of today’s mobile ecosystem. Mobile consumers have gained – and have come to expect – to interact with their favorite brands in richer and more intuitive ways. As a result, retailers’ need to reach consumers in ways that are more contextual and real-time has become imperative.

And it’s not just the usual suspects that are reaping the biggest rewards from mobile. While there have been some prominent and very successful fashion and apparel retailers paving the way for mobile adoption – such as Macy’s, which was recently named Mobile Retailer of 2014 – retailers across all sectors are catching on to the capabilities of mobile. Chief among these is text messaging, which, according to a NinthDecimal survey, is redefining shopping at retail centers like grocery stores.

Clearly, the mobile engagement landscape is evolving. A recent report by Cisco found that more than 50 percent of shoppers said they will use a retailer’s app for or during shopping, and 34 percent claimed to use a third-party app for the same. But bearing in mind that Forrester reports that 80 percent of users’ time is spent on just five apps, making sure your retail app is the one your customers are using is critical.

That’s where text messaging is proving itself an important element of an integrated mobile engagement strategy. Creating an app is one thing. Getting your customers, and specifically new customers, to find, download, and use the app needs to be front and center for the acquisition strategy of today’s modern retailer. By integrating text messaging into an app-based acquisition strategy, retailers can send text-to-download messages that direct a customer to the relevant app store for a download, and then can leverage the opt-in information to send ongoing notifications that encourage app usage.

Similarly, retailers can leverage new mobile tools to enhance and update their loyalty programs. For example, retailers can take advantage of Apple’s Passbook to dynamically update customers’ loyalty points. What’s more, with beacons – small wireless devices that constantly broadcast radio signals to nearby smartphones and tablets – deliver timely, relevant loyalty offers based on a shopper’s location in real time, when a shopper is in the store and “in the mobile moment,” and thus most likely to redeem the offer.

Summing up some of these thoughts, my colleague Rob Hammond recently wrote: “2015 will be the year that loyalty, marketing and service organizations fully embrace mobile. Brands must transform themselves to capture the value of the increasing mobile interactions and shed the blinders of organizational reporting and agency relationships to reach consumers.”

Indeed, there are clearly many more benefits that mobile can bring to retailers than simply driving store traffic. An integrated, layered approach to mobile that leverages the full range of channels and mobile tools available today is crucial.

How are you using mobile in your business? Are you finding more benefits than just increased foot traffic? Let me know in the comments.

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Gary Long is a former Sales Executive Director at Syniverse.

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