As an employee, business owner, homemaker or any other occupation, getting through the working week means bypassing a host of distractions; whether you’re answering emails, attending meetings or dealing with contractors, you have to multi-task effectively to make sure everything gets done properly. So when it comes to your retail therapy, time is precious but offers a much-needed outlet.
Being the digitally-savvy creatures that we have become, the rising trend is that we do our online research before venturing to the store or our local mall. Whether using a mobile app, or surfing on our trusty tablets or PCs, 55% of U.S. internet users became aware of products on the internet via websites and apps (Google and TNS, April 2015). As a retailer, your in-store efforts must be airtight to turn these online browsers into paying customers.
An optimal customer journey
To remain truly competitive, retailers need to leverage their brand equity to provide a personalized retail experience and create a lasting relationship with the individual. By connecting their online browsing experience to the in-store scenario (O2O), retailers can provide a seamless experience to transition the consumer to completing a satisfactory purchase.
Mobile integration is a critical feature of the in-store experience that uses consumer’s previous research and supplements it with timely and relevant content to assist in their final evaluation and drive them to the cash register. This history can help to define the purpose of the trip, their location and other pertinent information they may need to close the deal. Combining these data points and producing a fulfilling and personalized in-store experience are the fundamentals of creating and extending your customer’s lifetime value.
Right message, right time, right customer
Let’s look at 2 possible scenarios – an existing customer and a potential buyer enters your store.
Customer A, who has a loyalty card, enters your store and receives a text message welcoming them and suggests items that may complement their recent purchase or online browsing session. The message may also offer a time-sensitive discount for the duration of their visit, or advise them of promotional offers specifically for loyalty card members. In addition, they may already have your app downloaded on their phone which provides them with the ability to scan product barcodes and receive supplementary information about the item. This activity is a valuable tool to enhance the brand/client relationship, and is welcomed by the customer as their preference for your brand has been proven through membership to your loyalty program.
Prospect B arrives in your store after having spent considerable time researching online and realizing that your store offers a likely solution to their needs. With Beacon technology, the user’s browsing history of your brand (plus their consent to receive your promotional messaging) can trigger a message making them aware of current offers and incentives to encourage an initial first purchase. This location-based technology provides the perfect solution to entice customers into your store and ensure your brand stands head and shoulders above the competing brands in the vicinity. As this visitor walks through the store, additional messaging is offered that highlights their original product enquiry and/or supplementary items likely to be of interest.
Such a scenario is again welcoming and received positively by the mobile user, without appearing overwhelming or unrequired.
Avoid being over-friendly or obtrusive!
Retailers should avoid going into the gray area between being too friendly and just plain intimidating. As much as consumers should be welcomed and targeted with the right information, don’t make it appear like “Big Brother” is at work and their every move (both online and physical) is being monitored.
For example, biometrics (such as facial or fingerprint recognition) is becoming widely used as a security measure to reduce identity fraud; such information is stored against the individual and is used to determine their name, sex, age, address etc. That said, you don’t want to scare customers on arrival by acknowledging them by their name or making them aware of their viewing history from their mobile device. Or, imagine them being in the fitting room and they receive an SMS message suggesting that they try on the matching item to complete their outfit (because the product barcode has been recognized by the store’s remote inventory system).
Proximity marketing delivers tailored messaging to drive in-store visits and optimize buying activity. By utilizing real-time and location-based profiling, retailers are able to provide an enhanced shopping experience and achieve incremental revenues to benefit their bottom line.
So ask yourself this, is your brand regarded as a welcome distraction or an unwelcome stalker?