Roughly 98% of the U.S. digital shopping population use their smartphones while in stores to research and buy products and services, according to annual shopper research from Cisco. The company also reported a 15% compounded annual growth rate for smartphone shoppers over the next three years.
As mobility in retail continues to grow, how can merchants find and capture true mobile value? How can mobility be used to transform store operations and increase profits? As retailers expand their wireless network infrastructures, which Wi-Fi and mobile technologies should be included?
These were among the issues addressed during a webinar, titled: Mobility In Retail Today: Connect With Customers To Drive More Revenue. The discussion featured insights from two Cisco executives: Jon Stine, Director, Consulting Services, and Bob Friday, VP and CTO, Wireless Networking Group. A Q&A followed, along with comments posted to #CCSeries13.
The webinar was the first in the Connected Consumer Series (CCS) 2013. Hosted by Retail TouchPoints, the CCS program features nine complimentary webinars over four days. A single registration provides access to all nine sessions, during which top thought leaders discuss analytics, RFID, social media, store operations, cross-channel and other retail trends and best practices.
Stine and Friday provided perspectives and data points about the expansion and growing influence of smartphone shopping and how retailers can create business value from mobile opportunities.
Mobility should not be considered a channel, nor just a device, said Stine, but “a critical point in the cross-channel strategy ― the digital integration of retail.” He discussed ways retailers can influence consumers in their mobile shopping journeys, capture and keep shoppers, and “win during this anytime, anyplace mobile screen that is in the hands of shoppers, all the time.”
Key areas in which retailers should place their mobility money, said Stine, include:
- Decision influence;
- Transaction and payments; and
- Using mobility as a means for in-store behavior analysis.
Most shoppers begin the decision journey online then spend nine out of 10 retail dollars in physical stores, Stine said. Therefore, the critical point for retailers in creating value from mobility is in the moment the shopping journey begins; then they must keep those shoppers inside the brand through to final decision. “It’s all about the research and the transaction: understanding and observing where and through which screens shoppers obtain information and at what point in the shopping journey, then delivering the content that can influence those decisions all the way to the transaction.”
Statistics about mobile shopping journeys, available from the Cisco survey and from Deloitte, also were shared in the webinar.
Wi-Fi Becoming As Necessary As Power And Water
Mobile shoppers are not mild-mannered, but ferocious video carnivores whose shopping habits will require aggressive retail networking capabilities, stated Friday. Though the shopping journey starts outside the store, he said, “mobile consumers want to continue shopping inside the store with a Wi-Fi network, which is becoming an in-store necessity on par with lighting, power and water.”
When Wi-Fi devices are brought to stores, consumers demand the same level of service that cell operators have provided for years. Moreover, retailers must build infrastructures that allow consumers to maintain the same cell, social networking and other provider relationships they expect outside the store.
Wi-Fi is the basis of indoor location-based services, analytics and marketing, Friday said. He addressed the importance of accuracy and consistency of location-based content for user engagement as well as for store operations, based on how and where people move through a store.
“As retailers become mobile operators, they must understand the new trends and technologies emerging in the mobile space,” said Friday. This includes a new standard that “allows phones to engage networks before even being associated or authenticated.”
The goal for retailers of the future is to give mobile shoppers the information they need “with two clicks of their mobile devices,” reported Friday. “If typing is required, friction enters into shopper engagement.”
There’s still time to register to receive access to all nine CCS sessions. Click here to access the CCS agenda, or here to register. Qualified registrants who attend at least two sessions will be entered to win one of three great prizes. Attendees are encouraged to share sessions with peers and post them to social profiles.