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Three Ways to Enhance In-Store Customer Experience through Mobile Notifications

Smart phones have become ubiquitous nowadays and it has been predicted that by end of 2016, 50% of all mobile phones on our planet will be smart phones and by 2020, there will be 6.1 billion smartphones.

Mobile is transforming the world around us, which is equally true for the retail industry. According to Deloitte Digital’s latest study, digital interactions influence around 64 cents of every dollar spent in retail stores — a grand total of $2.2 trillion last year. In addition to that, another recent study showed smartphones and tablets used before and during shopping influenced 28 percent of in-store sales in the United States alone. Both these numbers are growing more rapidly than originally expected — both a cause and an effect of the mobile transformation.

There is strong evidence that mobile is resulting in consumer conversions. In fact, Deloitte showed that “consumers who use digital while they shop convert at a 20 percent higher rate compared to those who do not use such devices.”

Given such powerful impact of mobile, it is imperative for the retailers to make mobile part of their overall business strategy. Mobile is a big opportunity for retailers however they need to plan it carefully and think from customer perspective. Here are the three ways of how retailers can capitalise on this opportunity keeping in view customer’s perspective:

1. Relevance:
With everyone singing ‘think mobile first’ these days, retailers should not get uber-excited and should not try to forcefully engage with customers through retailer mobile apps by bombarding them with endless discounts notifications causing ‘notification numbness’ which is spreading through our mobile society. The customer notifications should be pushed very carefully after adding targeting and segmentation to the notifications and by making them relevant. According to Jeff MalMad (Managing Director, Mindshare), when simple targeting and segmentation are added to the customer notifications, they see up to 300% to 500% greater response than broadcast messages.

Past purchase data helps in making the discounts relevant and personalised. In-store messaging can increase shopper interactions 45% more than traditional push messaging, only if the messages are relevant.

The frequency of messages sent should be carefully controlled as well. According to Inmarket, oversaturation and irrelevant push notifications caused app usage to decline; sending more than a single push notification per location caused a 313% percent drop in app usage. Notifications should only be sent during sociable hours. I hate waking up at 1am when my mobile beeps as a food delivery and discounts mobile app on my mobile pushes me notification about its 2 for 1 pizza deal, at that time.

2. Value for Consumer:
Each interaction with customer should deliver excellent value to the customer. Consumer surveys have shown that over three-quarters of shoppers are willing to share their location if they receive some level of value in return. If a retailer pushes a discount notification to a customer about something that he is already inclined to buy at a time when he is in the store, there is high probability of swaying customer’s buying decision.

“If my phone is alerting me to the discount or some information about items I might like, that will totally pull me in,” said Ms. Lisa Libretto (as covered in a recent article by Glenn Rifkin), who lives in Ridgefield, Conn, US. Lisa is a stay-at-home mother of two children who remains very busy. She also added: “My time is so short that when I do get to shop, the alerts are fantastic”.

3. Customer Experience:
The primary goal of shoppers is shopping. The push notifications through mobile app should enhance the shopping experience and not distract the customer or compete with the in-store shopping experience. Therefore, it is important to ensure the content being delivered in notifications is not too complex and is simple glance-able media. In addition to that, Deloitte’s study indicated that 10 consumers (76%) surveyed interact with brands or products before arriving at the store. Shoppers now make buying decisions at other points in the shopping journey, where they find ideas and inspiration, research product information, validate performance through reviews and even make purchases online to pick up in store. Therefore, retailers need to measure and focus on moments that matter during the shopping journey, both in and out of store.

If the retailers can manage the mobile interactions with the customers well by offering them relevant offers, sent at the right time while delivering excellent value and by aligning the mobile customer experience with that of store and online customer experience, mobile has the potential to make shopping experience truly rewarding as well as causing colossal impact on retailer’s sales and revenues.

Ali Hasnain Shah is the CEO and co-founder of DealSmash.

Get in touch with Ali at ali.shah@dealsmash.co and follow Ali on twitter at @alihshah

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