Analysis / Australian Smartphone and Tablet Data / Mobile Location / Mobile Shopping

Australian Retail’s Mobile Challenge

Research last year from Frost & Sullivan found that Australian retailers were not adapting fast enough to the way customers use mobile devices when shopping.  According to the research, only 30% of Australian retailers have mobile websites and 21% have mobile apps. This is in stark contrast with findings from AIMIA which show that over half of Australians now go shopping using their smartphone and three quarters using their tablet.

Google’s recent change to their search algorithm may be the wake up call that Australian retail needs.  From last week, websites that can’t be easily read and navigated on a smartphone will be penalised in search results on mobile devices.  According to local analysts, more than half of Australia’s largest companies will be impacted.

So what do Australian retailers need to do to catch up with their customers on mobile devices.  A recent white paper from U.S software company Phunware focussed on the mobile customer experience for retailers.  The paper aggregates a number of studies that confirm the data on mobile’s potential, such as:

  • 84% of consumers use mobile devices to help them shop in stores
  • 8 out of 10 US smartphone owners say their device has changed how they shop
  • Frequent mobile shoppers spend 25% more in stores than those who only occasionally shop on mobile
  • Apps consume 86% of consumers time spent on mobile devices
  • 2/3 of U.S. Adults with smartphones say they are more likely to shop at a store if it has a mobile app.

The white paper document is obviously designed to promote Phunware’s service platform but it does a good job of overviewing the key tools and techniques available for maximising the mobile customer experience in store.  Optimising the use of data about a customer’s context and mobile location are central to many of the recommendations:

  • Using a geo-fence to engage consumers before they enter a store
  • Triggering alerts to deliver contextual info to customers using beacons
  • Connecting an existing rewards program to a mobile app and in-store alerts to create a seamless customer experience
  • Delivering information and videos relating to nearby products using an app and beacons in store
  • Using an app to let customers browse and save digital coupons for redemption in store.
  • Help shoppers navigate stores and shopping centres using a location aware mobile app
  • Monetise store traffic by running manufacturer ads within apps or promoting higher margin items
  • Using data on customer activity in-store to deliver targeted mobile advertising
  • Tracking the effectiveness of mobile advertising by monitoring if ads prompted customers to enter the store.

While some of these strategies require complex integration and systems, many of them can be rolled out independently, giving retailers a chance to test the water before committing to deeper integration.  Of course the reality is that an integrated approach often delivers the best results, but retailers can use smaller scale trials to test ideas, measure in-store impact and assess customer responses.  Whatever Australian retailers do, they will need to move fast to keep up with the pace of change.

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.