Brick-and-mortar retailers once feared that mobile would eat into store sales, either via “showrooming” or simply by siphoning off shoppers. But now, omnichannel retailers are discovering that they can leverage mobile to bring what had previously been online-only tools into the physical store. These tools allow retailers to deliver targeted promotions and personalization when it matters most: the moment of purchase intent. Nearly half (47%) of retail executives say their mobile strategy is to increase shopping basket size both in-store and online by catching customers at the point of intent, according to the 2018 Retail Mobility Insights report by Oracle.
“If you think about the experience that consumers are looking to have, the reality is most of them are shopping with a smartphone,” said Jeff Warren, VP of Solutions and Strategy at Oracle Retail. “A number of different retailers are seeing that they have to provide a more compelling experience in-store. There’s an opportunity to blend physical and digital, and they can use the advantage that the consumer is actually carrying around a computer with them as a way to engage.”
Online-Only Personalization Is No Longer Enough
Personalization initiatives, which often lag when it comes to the execution phase, could benefit from this merging of online and mobile tools. Retailers recognize their weakness here: 62% feel that they’re “leaving money on the table” by offering general discounts to all shoppers. Mobile tools can provide an in-store solution by enabling targeted promotions tailored to specific needs and shopping habits culled from online data. These are much more likely to be effective than simply offering storewide sales that treat every customer as part of a faceless, nameless crowd.
“[Retailers] are able to use all of the data that’s coming in from people to understand what they’re most likely to buy, and at what price they’re most likely to buy it,” said Warren. “They can also understand the impact, socially, that the person would have if they bought that item — how that purchase will actually influence their social network to also buy.”
Retailers clearly understand shoppers’ interest in more targeted promotions: 77% of executives believe that customers expect them to anticipate their needs by analyzing loyalty, purchase history and brand interaction data. Cutting-edge retailers are leveraging AI to create systems that continuously learn from every visit, ensuring that the shopper is given the most relevant experience possible from the moment they load a page or step inside a store.
“Out of the gate I get an experience that is relevant, based on what it is that I’m likely to buy and the interaction that I’ve had with that retailer in the past,” said Warren. “That’s really key, and you’re seeing more and more advancement in this technology.”
Mobile Expands In-Store Payment Options
The convenience of online payments is also making its way into the store environment. More than half (54%) of respondents indicated that payment options like contactless checkout, self-checkout and mobile payment are either in use today or are part of their technology roadmap.
The growing popularity of alternative payment systems points to the most important aspect of mobile: the technology’s potential for reducing friction. Regardless of how personalized promotions become or what touch points retailers use for their interactions, they must make sure they are reaching out to shoppers in as simple and unobtrusive a way as possible.
“The next trick for retail is distilling all of that information,” said Warren. “The interactions that I have with the retailer should be down to what is my actual taste, what is my intent, and then only presenting me with information when it benefits me and is relevant to me. That’s the key. Whatever platform that retailers choose to do that through, the key is to not overwhelm, but to make it relevant.”