Because of its close proximity in the pockets and handbags of customers, the mobile phone has become a readily used companion when making purchasing decisions. Consumers use their phones in a multitude of ways beyond its core function of making calls. For a retailer, there is no one-size-fits-all mobile retail plan; however, we offer basic tenets that retailers can adopt to help deliver a unique and valuable mobile channel.
The 7 Tenets of Mobile Retail
1. Mobile Optimization If you have a website then there should also be an optimized mobile version. This goes beyond just duplicating existing web content. Mobile consumers have less time and are usually targeting something very specific. This translates into prioritizing the most important functions to your customer and putting those front and center, easy to find and navigate. A mobile phone’s screen is only 2” – 4” so only show essential information and make selecting links and inputting information as user friendly as possible. Investing in platforms that support texting, mobile web and applications will set the foundation for a positive user experience.
2. Functionality and Differentiation As a retailer there are fundamental elements that should be included in any mobile app or site experience – store locator, product search and shopping cart. These are just the minimal expectations set by the customer. What used to be differentiators, such as barcode scanning and savable shopping lists, are quickly becoming the standard. Take the approach that your mobile commerce offering is a tool and provide the answer to why yours should be used over the rest.
3. Channel Integration By providing real-time synchronization between mobile and online wishlists and carts, retailers can decrease cart abandonment and increase conversion rates. Furthermore, providing an interactive in-store shopping experience keeps customers focused on a retailer’s offering as opposed to that of their competitors’. For example, allow customers to scan barcodes in-store to access product reviews and ratings or offer a way for customers to communicate with customer service representatives through their mobile devices.
4. Consistent Brand Communication Retailers spend millions on branding and investing in brand equity. This key point should not be forgotten when developing a mobile commerce strategy; in this exciting arena, many times a retailer’s brand is lost or misinterpreted. Think about the demographics of your customer and align mobile communications with existing messaging and expectations.
5. Get Social Friends and ‘virtual strangers’ drive transactions and retailers should offer an easy method of facilitating these relationships. Allow customers to share information through your mobile channel by allowing them to link to existing social networks or email product links and content from their mobile address book. Similarly, inform customers of your own social media presence and encourage them to them to interact with it.
6. Rapid Checkout Checking out on a mobile device should be faster and easier than any other channel because users are mobile and on the go. Develop ways for customers to checkout without reaching for their wallet whether through linking to services such as PayPal or existing online accounts. Most importantly reassure customers that their private and financial information will be kept safe and confidential.
7. Personalization A strategy point of any mobile commerce strategy should be to build customer loyalty, always keeping in mind repeat customers will spend more than new ones. One way is to provide personalized offers and recommendations, recent search history or a recently viewed items list based on items purchased or searched for in the past or collected interests data.