Today’s shoppers have come to rely heavily on their mobile devices throughout the purchasing process. They use them to find and compare products or read online reviews, even when they’re inside the actual store. Some of them have also developed “showrooming” behavior, which involves visiting a physical store just to look at the products before purchasing it elsewhere at a lower price.
In an ebook called “Zero Moment of Truth”, Bob Thacker, the former CMO for OfficeMax, says that “Pre-shopping before buying has become a huge, huge part of customer behavior.” Pre-shopping was mostly done for “big-ticket items” like homes, vehicles, or expensive electronics in the past, but people now do it even when shopping for smaller things. “It’s crossed all categories of shopping behavior. It’s just the way people buy today,” Thacker says.
Pre-shopping and showrooming behavior is expected to increase throughout 2014. The following tips can help business owners adapt to these behaviors and provide a seamless mobile and in-store experience for their shoppers.
Make Mobile a Priority
Mobile is now an essential part of any business’ marketing efforts, and failing to prioritize it in 2014 could make a store miss out on sales and conversion opportunities. Many shoppers’ first point of contact with a business is through mobile channels. Today, a potential customer who passes by a restaurant for the first time will probably use their mobile device to do some online research about it or ask about it in social networks. Adopting a “mobile-first” mentality allows businesses to create mobile campaigns that really make that first contact a memorable experience.
Personalize Mobile Experiences Further
Personalizing a user’s mobile experience isn’t just about adding their name to template emails or text on your website. Users have come to expect online stores to offer product recommendations and other features based on their preferences and shopping history. The developments in mobile technology in 2013, such as the introduction of Apple’s iBeacons, could revolutionize shopper personalization this year.
iBeacons allow stores with mobile apps to provide customized, location-specific notifications using Bluetooth technology. Stores that use beacons can allow users to access specific product information or reviews, or even send exclusive coupons and information about special promotions.
This video by Estimote, the company that pioneered this beacon technology, shows just how much potential this new technology has when it comes to improving mobile and in-store experiences:
Provide More Mobile Payment Options
Mobile transactions still aren’t as common as desktop ecommerce transactions, but the number of shoppers using mobile wallets and apps for payments are increasing steadily. Accepting payments through platforms such as Paypal, MasterPass, PayWave, or Google Wallet can make the whole shopping experience more practical for customers. Paypal has also developed its own beacon that supports hands-free payments, and could be worth looking into this year.