Retailers Use Mobile to Enhance Shopping Experience on Holiday Season's Big In-Store Shopping Days
With the holiday season coming up, we’re starting to see a good bit of anxiety from brands and retailers…especially now that customers expect you to have high functioning multichannel commerce. Remember the days when making a purchase meant browsing around a mall full of stores until you found the perfect product? It seems like those days aren’t quite over yet. But then again, neither are the days of one-stop online shopping. Customers now want opportunity for commerce anywhere they are. What’s different might simply be their preference for what products and when.
Retailers are Staying In-Store
A recent article in The Wall Street Journal, shows that retailers haven’t been vacating their shopping mall real estate at quite the same rate they used to. The article suggests that that might be because customers’ are unwilling (or simply can’t) buy certain products online and also because malls are strategically stocking up on ecommerce-averse shops as a result. Instead of rows and rows of apparel stores and electronics shops, mall goers might start to see more brick-and-mortar friendly fitness centers or restaurants. In other words, it is by no means dying, but the face of physical commerce does seem to be changing.
More Mobile for Holiday Shopping?
It’ll be interesting to see how the slight downtick in mall vacancies affects our omni-channel commerce clients, especially as they head into the holiday season. Comscore reports show that while online sales on Black Friday increased 26% last year, in-store Black Friday sales actually declined 2%. And while that might seem like bad news for physical stores of multi-channel retailers, the vacancies downtick suggests that they’ve something up their sleeve to compete with online sales.
One way is to merchandise with customers’ preferred purchase location in mind (i.e. sell products in-store that can’t be sold online, or that customers are unwilling to buy online). Another way is to leverage mobile, especially on traditionally big in-store shopping days. 84% of smart phone shoppers use their devices as in-store companions. One in three shoppers turn to their phones instead of asking an employee. Furthermore, the three biggest days for mobile queries were Black Friday, Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas. Retailers definitely want to use mobile to enhance customers’ in-store experience and give them extra incentive to buy in-store.
In short, ecommerce technology isn’t tearing customers away from traditional shopping outlets like malls and physical stores. It’s completely changing the way they shop (and consequently, should change the way merchants sell). Moving forward, retailers can’t limit themselves to a strictly virtual or a strictly in-store presence, or they risk limiting their visibility with a population that wants opportunities for commerce, everywhere they are.
Photo via screenmediadaily.com
[rendertool][type_person][prop_name]Ron Bongo[/prop_name] is [prop_job]CEO[/prop_job][/type_person] of [type_corp][prop_desc][prop_name]Corra[/prop_name], a [prop_loc]New York[/prop_loc] and [prop_loc]Los Angeles[/prop_loc] digital agency that specializes in ecommerce solutions for fashion and lifestyle brands and retailers. [prop_mkffr]From responsive design to systems integration, we deliver award-winning web design, development, strategic consulting and support services for the Magento Enterprise and hybris platforms.[/prop_mkffr][/prop_desc][/type_corp][/rendertool]