Can Retailers Leverage In-store Shopping Using Mobile Commerce?

Abhirami Sankar


April 28th, 2015

In the past 2 years, the share of search through Mobile has gone up and so have the Social Media advertising revenues. Customers are shopping on-the-go and the digital buyer journey has been redefined to incorporate location-based marketing with the rising importance of Mobile. Smartphones are increasingly being used as Shopping Assistants and local in-store shopping is on the rise.

Customers today use their mobile devices not only to make purchases but also research products, compare prices and check reviews. The strategies of smart retailers has shown that combining local shopper strategy with digital marketing strategy has increased their overall revenue. So how it is that retailers are leveraging this in-store shopping using mobiles?

Here are some examples of how mobile commerce can impact retail :

1. Showrooming facilities

In a survey conducted, it was found that 51 percent of online mobile shoppers said they would prefer using the corresponding retailer’s mobile app once inside the store.

“Showrooming” is the practice of examining merchandise or products in a store and then buying it online for a lower price. It benefits online retailers, since they can offer cheaper prices than brick-and-mortar retailers for identical products because of their lower overhead. They also do not collect sales tax in most cases. The tremendous surge in popularity of smartphones and mobile devices has substantially aided and abetted showrooming, since it gives shoppers much greater flexibility to check online prices and even place product orders online. 

For example, Sephora found that its customers rely on their smartphones while shopping in-store to help them find the perfect products. It designed its Sephora App to assist shoppers, giving them direct access to product ratings and reviews.

2. In-store Navigation

Customers are always looking for a very flexible in-store navigation and developing a good app that can do this, can definitely boost sales for retailers.

So that’s what differentiates a smart retailor from its competitors. The quality of the products sold is one factor, but giving the customers a good shopping experience online is also extremely important

According to a recent Consulting Digital Shopping Behaviour survey conducted by Cisco, 66% of shoppers who frequently used mobile to make purchase decisions said that they preferred a mobile app with in-store navigation feature.

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3. Instant Payments

Many customers don’t prefer waiting in long queues to make a payment in a store. So one of the major advantages that m-commerce has is that you can make the payment within few seconds using a mobile point of sale. For example, a company Nordstrom, a large scale retailer, saw a 15% rise in quarterly retail sales after having deployed 6000 mobile POS devices across its stores.

4. Web-rooming facilities

Showrooming is not necessarily the best way for retailers to attract customers. The core issue of showrooming is that retailers lack information about their potential customers and the offers their competitors have currently either on or offline. Or if they have the information, they do not have the ability to properly use it in their offerings on the spot for customers who are visiting their store. Many customers face with some bad experiences of buying a product online, and which, once delivered, did not meet the expectations that were set online.

In such situations, customers prefer webrooming. Webrooming is the behaviour of customers doing analysis or research online (RO) but ultimately buying or purchasing

the product offline i.e. in-store. One of the required capabilities to deal with webrooming is knowing exactly what information a customer has been looking for online. It is also necessary to be able to attract your customer to come to your store and finally to make him or her an offer they cannot refuse. Being an online retailer, you can use this to your advantage by letting your customers find the nearest offline store on your mobile website using the GPS information. Most online shoppers are drawn to this feature these days as it lets them fulfil their immediate need and also avoid shipping costs.

Web rooming is at a critical intersection of the digital and physical worlds. Showrooming may get a lot of attention and hype because it is an effective illustration about a real pain point in retail. But webrooming is a much larger opportunity.

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5. Offers and coupons

Relevant mobile coupons are very helpful to engage shoppers in real time and drive them to your nearby store to make a purchase.

For example, in a survey conducted, 51% of shoppers said that they are more likely to enter a store and purchase something if they receive a coupon on their mobile device while they are near that store.

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6. Rating system

Now the beauty of showcasing products online or in mobile devices is the rating system. Consumers rely on product reviews to make decisions before purchasing an item. This can be significantly used to improve the conversion rate of the retailer’s products by providing customers with authentic customer reviews.

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7. Social Media

The use of Social Media is beneficial for both the customers as well as the retailer.

For example, if the retailer sells clothes and letting customers share their experience or photos about the product (which probably is being shared on many social websites already) on the retail site can help the retailer popularize his brand and increase his market reach. This could make the product feature more authentic for other customers as well. Advertising product ratings and customer reviews on social media such as facebook,google,twitter,etc and maybe based on seasonal trends is another great way for retailers to target the right customers and increase retail sales.

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Interested in a career in Retail Analytics? Explore Jigsaw Academy’s Retail Analytics Course.

Suggested Read:

How Online Retailers can use Analytics

Using Big Data to Improve Customer Experience


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