Using Mobile to Transform Retail to ‘Me’tail
What excites me most about Adobe is the way our products shape the entire consumer journey by delivering highly personalised experiences. This is the need of the hour given no two consumer journeys are alike. The era of mere personalisation is gone, replaced by hyper-personalisation replete with demographic, behavioural, transactional and predictive targeting.
Mobile technology has played a huge role in creating the enormous digital footprint of consumers today: from content curation and generation, to socio-economic status, e-commerce activities, location and language.
Given the wealth of data that brands can harvest about today’s consumers and, equally, consumer expectations of omnichannel brand experiences, it is imperative brands engage with consumers by using the right data, at the right time in their purchase journey, and in the right place. Only then can this journey truly be transformed from retail to ‘me’tail.
Let’s start by broadly organising the retail consumer journey into five key stages, or the “5Ds” as I like to call them: discover, direct, decide, double check, deal. Let’s see how each of these stages can be hyper-personalised by leveraging the power of mobile technology.
This is the point when consumers walk into a retail outlet (single brand, multibrand or shopping mall) and evaluate which stores or brands to explore. They will be probably be wondering: Should I check for sales? Which brands had I planned to check out? Do I have time to browse? It’s crucial for your brand to be present at this moment of truth, and set the stage for an awe-inspiring customer experience. Here’s how:
- Make it personal: Greet return customers with a personalised message while welcoming them to the store; offer free access to wi-fi when customers check in.
- Make discovery easy: Provide access to real-time information such as low-traffic areas in the mall and the best time of day to visit the store. These are great ways to make the shopping experience more personal so consumers feel well looked after.
- Aid serendipitous discovery: Guide consumers to in-store products based on their preferences by leveraging GPS-enabled mobiles. In Seoul, UK supermarket giant Tesco set up “virtual supermarkets” – a digital display of products on walls of metro stations and bus stops. Commuters could scan the QR codes of the products on display with their smartphones, and place their orders as they waited for their train or bus.Tesco then delivered the items to the consumer’s home – and often the delivery would arrive before they did. By making the brand more discoverable at the moment of truth (in this case, immediately after work when planning dinner), online sales rose by 130% and site registrations by 76% in just a few months.
Once the consumer decides on the brand or outlet and arrives in store, they will try to identify products of interest and find them. This is a great time for the brand to engage meaningfully with the consumer.
- Based on inspiration: Brands could leverage mobile technology to showcase available inventory and guide the consumer to the right location in-store. Fashion and cosmetics brands in particular could use geo-positioning to locate the aisle in which a product is found. For example: imagine if you love a pair of shoes you see someone else wearing, but you don’t know the name of the style. You walk into a shoe store where you are prompted to open an in-store app allowing you to browse various shoe categories and click on designs alike to the pair you’re seeking.
- Based on potential: Direct consumers to products based on filters they select. For example, men who are 25-30 years old and own an iPhone 8-10 typically buy a particular style of headphones.
- Based on agendas: Translate shopping lists into purchases by guiding the consumer to the right aisle for the items on their list. American supermarket chain Wegmans offers shoppers an app with recipes linked to past purchases and shopping lists with ingredients organised by aisle.
At this step, consumers are evaluating options, shortlisting products, finding more information and specifications to suit them, and checking for items in stock. A content velocity strategy can harness these moments to deliver customers brilliant content, at the perfect time and accelerate the experience.
- Mobile first: Offer mobile check-ins to fast-track fitting room access.
- Mobile shopping assistance: Help the consumer through query resolution, and offer special assistance based on personal tastes, requirements and budget.
- Extended aisle: Deliver additional product information and stock availability in-store. For example, the IKEA augmented reality app, Round the Home, uses augmented reality to provide a virtual preview of furniture in your own rooms.
4. Double check
Consumers are validating their decision about a product, seeking feedback, and creating on-the-spot metrics for comparison between shortlisted products.
- Familiarity breeds intent: Use mobile technology to connect consumers in store or in a mall who are happy to share reviews in person. Locate people or owners of the brand or product so they can chat live with other shoppers.
- Crowd-sourced decisions: Connect shoppers in real-time to one another by allowing instant voting on photos of items being considered by a single shopper.
- Mobile favourite: With every visit, equip consumers to continue their journey rather than start over by allowing them to “favourite” searched items. Send routine updates about these products, such as discounts, new features and reviews. Mobile-shopping app Shopular alerts consumers to sales and discounts when they’re in a store or mall, allowing for greater certainty before making a purchase.
At this final step of the purchase journey, a consumer is making a transaction, applying deals and discounts, and buying the product.
- Deal-in-time: Allow the consumer to check in and be surprised by instant deals and discounts in-store.
- Expedite checkout, pay anywhere: Mobile points-of-sale solutions, secure mobile transactions, self-controlled payment tills, and home delivery are all examples.
To find out more about Adobe Commerce Cloud and how retailers can focus on the customer to deliver stand-out experiences, head to Adobe.com. Did you miss Adobe India Symposium 2019? Watch the keynotes online here.