Interaction One, a Bangalore-based startup had launched an app called Mobmerry. which connected retailers to consumers. Its aim was to have a higher engagement with the consumers through real-time notifications, deals, and discounts in the consumers’ immediate areas. The technology of mobile phones is changing rapidly and therefore it is becoming very challenging for the companies to capture the market share. The growing use of mobile applications has totally transformed the shopping industry. While a lot of people still do not rely on online shopping, the reason being the inability to touch and feel the product. Retail stores have an advantage and can bridge the gap by offering better communicative ways. It has been observed that even the retail stores are opting for mobile based strategies and techniques to offer a unique experience to the user, somewhat similar to online shopping. We have a few examples on how mobile apps are being used to engage in-store customers:
Digital Storefront: These basically are digital store windows where you can swipe through a virtual collection. It is like window shopping! So even if the shop is closed and you see something that you like, you just have to press the ‘order’ button and the payment and other details link will be sent to your mobile. It's like taking the window shopping to a whole new level. It is one of the best methods to engage the customer and make them familiar with your products and variety. They can scan the product and make a buying decision without even entering the shop!
Beacons: A beacon is a small wireless device that transmits radio signals and its signals can be detected by a nearby smart device. The signal tells the smart device that ‘ You’re Here’. Now suppose you are walking through a apparel store, which say has some footwear on sale. There is a beacon placed next to the footwears. This beacon will alert you about that sale when you pass by. Thus it helps in providing location-targeted advertisement. The retailers can send beacons and digital coupons to the customers on their mobile phones based on their specific location. In India, more than 70% of the fastest growing retailers see Beacons as high value.
In-store offers and coupons: Such Real Time Offers are a great way to lure customers and share more about your products. A lot of customers use their mobile phones to explore more about the same and redeem the offers. They are also keen on knowing more about in-store promotion/store events, etc. In addition to it free store Wi-Fi is another strategy being used. They say, ‘ if the customers stay more, they buy more.’ A lot of retail stores are offering free Wi-Fi services. With WiFi or an active Internet the customer can read about a particular product and offers before purchasing.
Mobile Apps: Only a loyal customer will download the mobile application of your retail store. They will take interest in reviewing your app. It helps you to engage more customers and a lot of retail stores have used this method to kick start their business. Apps can help you in navigating nearest stores and checking inventories. With the various features of the app such as maps, the retail stores can guide their customers and thus help them in getting the desired product.
Thus, technologies have made our life much easier. As per the market reports the Indian technology and services market is poised to touch US$350 billion by 2025. We are increasingly adopting technology through social, mobile, cloud and analytics. It looks like an ideal time for businesses to invest in technology. Many retail stores have already embraced technology enabled features to attract more customers. In this war between online and offline shopping experience, lets see who grabs more customers!