Mobile Shopping

How Better Mobile Experiences Combat Showrooming

Consumer shopping habits are shifting to become more mobile centric. Many marketers perceive mobile retail trends like showrooming as an obstacle, and feel they must combat this behaviour. In reality, retailers can turn new mobile behaviours to their advantage maximising both online & mobile shopping and foot traffic. So how can brands use mobile innovation to turn showrooming and webrooming (when customers research online then buy in-store) into sales uplift across all channels?

Mobile experiences drive in-store sales

The popular notion that consumers are merely window shopping before they find a better deal online has since been proven false. The 2016 Global Powers of Retailing report not only debunked this myth, but found that consumers using mobile devices in stores were more likely to make a purchase. The same study found a gap between the digital behaviours and expectations of consumers, and their local retailers’ ability to cater to those expectations. Brands need to think of online and mobile shopping as supplemental branding to complement the brick and mortar experience. An incredible mobile shopping experience may bring customers in store while in-store shoppers can be rewarded via mobile apps and social media to build loyalty. The key is to integrate across multiple channels of distribution.

A recent Google Analytics study found that 44% of in-store shoppers visited the store’s website within 7 days of making a purchase, and 9% of in-store shoppers had visited the website the same day they made an in-store purchase. Google’s analysis of the data found that mobile visitors converted to offline buyers 11% more often than desktop visitors did, which poses the question: What can brands do with their mobile shopping experience to incentivise in-store visits?

Snapchat – a messaging platform known for it’s temporary messages – is also being used as a ‘showrooming killer’ by creative brands. Some stores have sent Snapchats with a mystery discount that can only be redeemed if shown at the checkout. Customers have to take their phone to the checkout and open the snapchat on the spot to discover the offer details. This technique brings customers in-store out of curiosity, as well as generating interest in sales. Other creative applications include in-store Snapchat treasure hunts with customers having to remember the location clues when they arrive at the store. When combined with beacon technology, Snapchat can also be used to send signed up members snapchat offers when they’re identified as in-store or nearby. These kinds of mobile experiences provide a genuine opportunity for companies to interact personally with each of their customers.

An Accenture study found that 84% of shoppers use their mobile device while shopping, mostly to compare prices and look at product reviews. Whether it’s building anticipation or utilising hyper local technology like Beacons to offer special coupons when consumers enter the store, mobile experience can enrich the experience and drive in-store sales. When promotional mobile offers are delivered during a customers visit, or only valid for a limited time (eg. while in store for the next 30 minutes) it decreases the odds that that customers will use their device to find better offers elsewhere. Likewise, brands that add value with mobile offers within an app or mobile notifications of VIP events can increase footfall.

Innovate your cross-channel experience using mobile

The same offer on different platforms can lift sales across all platforms. Integrated campaigns with consistent messaging and targeting across multiple channels and platforms can drive awareness and increase footfall. A Snapchat campaign to generate interest supported by geo-targeted mobile media offers can drive foot traffic. Follow this up with an Instagram promotion in store, and retailers can deter deal hungry showroomers, generate social media buzz and bring customers back to claim rewards.

Local clothing retailer General Pants chose to combine online and offline sales activity by installing interactive booths. The brand combined fashion, music, and social media, offering an ‘insta-opinion’ at the booth. Shoppers could snap photos of themselves wearing or holding up an item from the store and share for instant feedback from other kiosk users for a thumbs up or thumbs down. Consumers could then buy the products in store, email details to themselves for later purchase or order at the kiosk for shipping to their home. The entire experience was even more personalised by allowing shoppers to choose the kiosk music via Spotify.

A UK retail store used Millennials’ love of gifs to spurn a cross-platform promotional campaign. The department store set up a window installation and digital gif booth in store to promote a makeup line. When shoppers finished receiving a makeover, they could create a quick gif of themselves and post it to their social media accounts. But the strategy didn’t stop there- the company also rented two giant screens on Oxford Street, and published the photos on the big screen. This strategy created a personalised brand affinity, gave shoppers content and a unique way to celebrate their new look, and drove footfall.

Luxury car company Jaguar Land Rover provided an enhanced experience for car shoppers who weren’t quite ready to hit the lot. The brand created a large screen VR experience to allow customers to experience what it would be like to drive the car. Consumers choose which car they drive, what color it is, and experience a 360 degree view from the inside. Experiences like these not only drive footfall, they use mobile technology to improve the shopping experience, and turn excitement into brand affinity.

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