Go to any shopping centre these days and you can see how mobile devices have become an essential part of the retail experience. Mobile technology has changed the way consumers make purchase decisions. Savvy consumers are more likely to use mobile devices rather than PCs as their shopping tools. They have discovered a range of functions in their mobile devices that can help them, from access to product information to mobile coupons and social shopping. Feature-rich mobile apps can also make shopping more fun, interactive and convenient.
As the use of mobile devices continues to grow in the near future, mobile devices will create more and better connections between consumers and brands. This reflects the already positive consumer response to mobile marketing, a trend that will definitely continue in the future.
Mobile devices are no longer merely an access point for online shopping. According to Accenture, 73 per cent of consumers are likely to use mobile apps as their personal shopping assistants when they go to retail stores instead of interacting with sales staff. More and more, the mobile device is becoming a fully integrated part of the shopping experience.
The individual consumer’s purchase decision journey has been profoundly changed. Consumers put more thought into their purchases, and are more active in evaluating product choices by gathering product information and reading reviews. The immediate access to information Is crucial, and one that can be enhanced through the mobile channel.
More importantly, mobile devices present the opportunity for consumers to interact with the brand and further process their purchase decision immediately. Even when they are in-store, at the point of purchase, consumers are likely to compare the specific available products, evaluate prices, and try to understand the value and benefits of these products using their mobile devices before making a purchase.
Given this changing consumer behaviour, there is an opportunity for mobile marketing to take place in the retail environment itself, a reflection of the growing importance of mobile marketing in a dynamic market. Marketer’s can take the opportunity to generate a sense of immediacy along with a convenient shopping experience, which is what consumers look for. In-store mobile marketing represents the best integration of digital technology and the authentic store experience.
Marketers can create touch points to facilitate the consumer purchase journey. Mobile marketing can enhance the retail experience, incorporating essentials such as product and price information, customer service, product sharing, personalized customer data, barcode scanning, location-based services, and payments. For instance, consumers are likely to search for the nearest locations of the specific brand, use mobile barcodes to gather more information about the products and enjoy mobile coupons that can be redeemed in the store immediately. All of the features of the mobile channel can be used to improve the shopping experience and enhance customer value.
The challenge for marketers is to not only develop strategic approaches but also come up with creative solutions. The integration of strategic and creative approaches will effectively create more appealing content that will resonate with the brand in the market. Mobile marketing can also create a high level shopping experience by integrating compelling digital content and in-store experience. It is easy to deliver rich media content over mobile devices, building on in-store displays and providing additional information. This can play an important role in engaging consumers with the brand. Consumers are looking for credible and trusted information covering all needed categories, along with interactive visualization, which enables them to interact with the brands at higher emotional levels. Branded mobile applications, too, have transformed shopping, and social media can lift shopping into a social interaction.
These methods can all enhance the shopping experience for mobile users, enriching their time on the shop floor, and making shopping more convenient and fun. Pairing shopping experiences with mobile devices can also effectively increase the level of immediate sales conversion, which enables the business to further build the brand value and achieve the goals in the future. The opportunities are great, and consumers have already shown their willingness to use their devices to add to their own shopping. It is time for mobile marketers to join the party.