Mobile Goes Shopping and Brings Competitors Into Your Store

5 Ways for Marketers to Get More Out of Mobile Shopping

Merchant beware! In the not-so-distant past, once shoppers entered your store, you had a good chance to get the sale. But that’s no longer necessarily the case. While Starbucks’ recent news about taking mobile payments has grabbed the mobile marketing headlines, the issue for retailers and etailers, large and small, is less about micropayments and more about mobile information, customer service and competitive offers.

Now, when consumers shop with a smartphone in their pocket, you’re no longer as much in control of the in-store marketing experience. It’s not just the “Which-brand-do-I-buy” call that guides their buying decision. It’s a wide variety of content seeking behaviors that consumers employ to get the information about products and prices. Amazon, eBay and even some traditional retailers provide smartphone apps and offers to help retail customers compared your in-store prices to theirs, even when they are on your turf. As a result, you must think about your competitors even while customers are perusing your aisles.

5 Types of Mobile Shopping Tactics You Must Consider

As with any targeted marketing campaign, it’s critical to integrate these mobile strategies into your overall marketing mix. Further, you need to think broadly about competitors and close substitutes. To help get you started, whether you’re a large national retailer or a small mom and pop shop, here are a few mobile commerce tactics to consider:

  1. Be present on mobile search. Don’t think that once you’ve optimized your Internet website for search you’re finished. Mobile search is critical, especially if you have a retail location since over half of mobile searches are local. If your competitors are present and you’re not, prospects may never know you exist. Bear in mind that sites like Yelp provide competitive shopping information while Amazon, eBay and other online etailers may offer specials.
  2. Build a mobile website. You can’t assume that your internet-optimized site will load effectively and display legibly on a mobile or smartphone. Think in terms of the information that consumers need on the go, either on the road or in the store. Among the features to provide are location finder, map and mobile friendly web pages. Ensure that product information across your offering can be readily accessed.
  3. Use QR codes to facilitate information gathering by in-store shoppers. Since customers prefer to check product information via their smartphones, include QR codes on signage to provide browsing prospects with additional information. Make sure that the QR codes kicks devices to the appropriate information about the product and not your homepage.
  4. Assemble mobile phone number house file. 27% of US households are mobile only and this skews higher for younger households according to research by Center for Disease Control. As with other forms of house files, you need customers’ permission before you can start sending out messages. Since text messages can cost your customers, you need to offer them real value or they’ll turn you down. Don’t block area codes that are traditionally landline only from your mobile list since customers can take their phone number with them.
  5. Offer mobile coupons. Mobile coupons are just the newest version of this reliable promotional sales driver and with good reason. Recent research by Opus Research, Valassis/NCH, Cellfire, and Valpak all found that consumers were significantly more likely to use mobile coupons than paper coupons. In part, this can be attributed to the fact that they’re handy, don’t have to be clipped out and carried around, and can be very targeted.

Today’s wired customers want a lot of information about your products and services, even once they’ve entered your store. Further, they may be checking your competition even while examining your product. It’s critical to make sure that you provide them with the information they need to clinch your sale. Remember this holds true whether you’re a major big box store, mom and pop local shop or an online etailer.

Are there other mobile marketing techniques that work well for your organization? If so, what did you learn while implementing them? Please include your comments in the comment section below to add to the conversation.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Related mobile marketing resources:

Hat tip to David Berkowitz for his help with a couple of mobile facts.

Photo credit: peterSit via flickr

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