This is the first in our two-part series. In today's post, we're revealing five of the reasons you need to get serious about mobile retail. Watch for the second blog with the remaining five reasons, coming soon!
Question: How often do you look at your smartphone? Research tell us it is more than 50 times a day. Speaking for myself, I definitely check my phone more than 50 times a day, especially during the 'edges of the day' to catch up with the news or connect with friends.
Another question: how often do you check your smartphone for shopping purposes? I mean, when you’re out shopping for clothes or fueling up your car, or you’re on-the-go to pick up some groceries, how often do you check your phone or look up some information? A survey by Deloitte reveals that 93% (!) of consumers check their smartphone while shopping, whether that’s viewing last minute additions to the shopping list, browsing for price comparisons for the same items online, checking ingredients or reading reviews in the case of more expensive purchases.
Digital engagement has become an integral part of our lives, and there is no exception for shopping. In this blog series, I’ll identify 10 reasons why I believe every retailer should have a clearly defined digital strategy. Here are the first five:
Reason #1: Consumers Feel Emotionally Attached to Their Smartphone
Users have a strong emotional relationship with their mobile phones, much more so than they have with any other computational device. Retailers should leverage this fact, as messages shared via the consumer’s smartphone are reaching our deeper emotional layers. Communicating with consumers -- whether in-store or on-the-go – via their smartphone provides a very personal and intimate experience that may even surpass the direct emotional link with a retailer’s products and services.
Reason #2: Convenience for the 'Last Mile' of Checkout
Amazon is testing out mobile checkout, and others are now following. Despite some hiccups and technical glitches, consumers seem to love it. Why? It eliminates a lot of the friction in the shopping process. Especially for convenience stores, but also for quick service restaurants (QSRs) where you hop in and out in a few minutes just to get your snack or cup of caffeine, you want the process to be as efficient and flawless as possible. As virtually every customer has a smartphone, why not make use of this mobile device to expedite the checkout process? The same goes for introducing self-scanning in your stores: next to dedicated hand-held scanners, embarking upon a BYOD (bring your own device) strategy may be just the right thing to do. (Self-scanning is a topic of its own, you may want to read more about it in our blog series.)
Reason #3: Consumers Crave Apps
Speaking of convenience, marketers know that today’s shoppers value convenience over most other factors. And what is the easiest – most seamless – way to offer convenience to shoppers? Via an app on their smartphone. It partly explains the success behind companies like Lyft, Airbnb, Instacart or Takeaway, and now retail brands are following suit.
For example, retail giant Walmart is investing heavily in digital to increase convenience for its customers, at a time when a lot of brick-and-mortar stores are struggling to stay relevant. In a move to compete with online players like Amazon, Walmart is looking to increase convenience for its customers with an app -- allowing shoppers to create shopping lists, find special offers and deals, refill prescriptions, etc. Another example is Starbucks, with its former CEO Howard Schultz referring to Starbuck’s investment in digital as the key reason for its business growth, outpacing its direct competitors.
Reason #4: Mobile Payments
As part of optimizing the last mile of the checkout process, mobile payments are yet another step in the direction of frictionless shopping. Let’s be honest – we all like shopping, but paying is typically not the most fun part. So anything a retailer can do to make the payment process as smooth as possible will make consumers happier! A nice example is the FuelPay app introduced by Caltex Australia, one of Australia’s largest fuel and convenience retailers. FuelPay® is based on Diebold Nixdorf’s solution stack, and is a new feature of the Caltex Australia App that lets drivers pay for fuel without the need to queue in store. They can simply refuel their vehicle, open the app and enter the pump, and tap ‘Pay now’. Or think about the Starbucks’ app, where you can order and pay ahead using your smartphone, so you can pick up your coffee while skipping the waiting lines and avoiding any ‘transactional fuzz’.
Reason #5: Differentiated Ways to Engage with Consumers
Mobile apps introduce a whole new slew of ways retailers can interact and engage with their customers. Think about Duty Zero by cdf, the retail brand of the China Duty Free Group (CDFG) and Lagardère Travel Retail joint venture. Their new digital application, built by Diebold Nixdorf, allows customers to pre-stage tax-free purchases up to three days in advance of arriving at the airport. To increase convenience for travelers who may not have time to shop or do not want to carry bulky items while traveling, CDFG partnered with Diebold Nixdorf to launch a customer-facing mobile app powered by DN Vynamic™ software. The app allows incoming travelers to pre-order tax-free purchases like food and liquor up to three days in advance and collect from Duty Zero by cdf's pick-up counter at various airports.
There are (at least) another five reasons why retailers should be serious about Mobile Retailing. Stay tuned for more in our next blog on this topic!