More retailers are weighing the benefits of mobile technology and marketing. However, to create a multi-dimensional brand experience, improve engagement and maximize customer service, retailers must understand the wants and needs of their customers, as well as the best tools to deliver upon these needs.
During a recent webinar presented by Retail TouchPoints, titled The Mobile POS Tipping Point, Ken Morris, Principal of Boston Retail Partners (BRP), discussed two ways retailers can leverage mobile POS (mPOS) in stores: associate- and customer-facing mPOS. Associate-facing mPOS focuses on line-busting and allows store associates to provide product information and recommendations via smartphone or iPad. Customer-facing mPOS, however, allows shoppers to receive instant access to offers, inventory details, ratings/reviews and social media accounts directly on their personal mobile devices.
“Most retailers are unfamiliar with the type of shopping experience today’s technology-savvy consumers expect, with mobile key to that experience,” Morris explained during the webinar. For example, “mobile devices provide instant information about the products on retailers’ shelves, and allow consumers to talk to friends and social followers to learn about past brand experiences.”
During his presentation, Morris revealed findings from BRP’s 13th Annual POS Survey. Survey results indicated that most respondents (82%) considered customer service as very important, as well as efficient processing at the register and speed of service (75%). As a result, retailers are focusing more on mobile’s role in the in-store customer experience, and how specific tools and technologies can maximize shopper satisfaction.
“While customer service is king among retailers, we have to consider what merchants are doing to cater to it,” Morris said. “Creating a strong shopping experience that exceeds expectations is high priority and using mobile technology is essential to achieving that goal.”
According to the BRP survey, 61% of retailers plan to increase spending on customer-facing mobile solutions within the next 12 months. Within the same period of time, 48% of retailers anticipated that they will spend more on mobile POS within brick-and-mortar stores.
“There’s a technology convergence taking place in which customers are at the center of all business decisions,” Morris noted. As a result of this continued convergence, retailers will be rolling out several mobile-driven marketing strategies, and at a more rapid pace. These strategies include:
Smartphone scanning of 2D barcodes (44%);
Text message campaigns (42%); and
Retailer-branded mobile applications (40%).
“Since associates are not always available to answer questions, these mobile tactics allow customers to communicate with retailers directly and even leverage vendor content to move the intimacy forward,” Morris explained.
Mobile’s Role In Omnichannel Retail
As consumers continue to demand more relevant retail experiences, mobile will become a more vital asset to merchants’ overall engagement and marketing strategies. However, retailers must focus on integrating all channels to be successful, according to Morris. More specifically, they must adopt a centralized platform that holds all product information, offers and pricing across digital and physical channels to create “one version of the truth.” As a result, merchants will create a powerful omnichannel retail experience.
“This omnichannel approach allows a seamless experience that creates a consistent brand message to the customer,” Morris explained. “The convergence of mobile, traditional POS and the web is going to be key as the retail industry moves forward.”
Click here to access an on-demand version of the webinar titled: The Mobile POS Tipping Point.