One strategy that major retailers like Target and Walmart are using to improve the mobile customer experience is streamlining in-store shopping. In-store optimization is especially crucial for holiday sales, as consumers increasingly turn to their mobile phones to guide them on the path to purchase. Mobile sales are expected to drive 44% of all eCommerce activity this year, and that doesn’t even account for all the mobile features consumers will use in the shopping aisle. Smart retailers like Walmart and Target are using mobile apps as year-end marketing ideas to help eliminate common consumer frustrations with holiday shopping.
The biggest holiday shopper issues involve long lines, low stock, and large crowds. However, there are several ways to use mobile app technology to eliminate these common problems and streamline sales. Both Target and Walmart have announced mobile marketing strategies as central parts of their holiday promotions. Other retailers can do the same to improve the consumer shopping experience. Mobile offers a way to connect with consumers during those crucial moments before they make a purchase decision, which is indispensable during the hectic holiday period.
Walmart Streamlines Checkout via Mobile
While Cyber Monday promotions and shipping deals will increase holiday eCommerce sales, about 88% of overall holiday sales will still occur at brick-and-mortar locations this year. To make the most of these visits, retailers like Walmart look to mobile strategies to engage consumers in the shopping aisle. According to the company’s manager of corporate communications, about half of their customers have smartphones and use them to help them shop in the store.
One major initiative to streamline holiday shopping is the company’s “Scan & Go” promotion, which they’re rolling out at about 200 stores in major metro areas. Using the Walmart app, the consumer can make a shopping list. Then, as they shop, users can scan barcodes and check the products off their list. At the self-checkout lane, all they need to do is scan the QR code on their phone’s screen. With this strategy, Walmart leverages:
- Purchase priming: Any app that gets a consumer to physically handle a product increases the likelihood of purchase. Priming is a strategy Shopkick also implements, by allowing consumers to collect kicks (rewards points) for scanning product UPCs. Consumers handle the product and have a positive experience, establishing brand affinity and increasing the likelihood of purchase.
- Streamlined self-checkout: An everyday issue consumers face when using self-checkout is scanning individual items. Often, items won’t scan, so the consumers must get cashier assistance anyway. Walmart eliminates this frustration by having the consumer scan as they choose products, allowing for a more seamless and efficient checkout experience. At the end of their trip, they simply have to scan their phone to check out and pay.
- Automated customer service: As staffing is often challenging during the holiday season, apps like Walmart’s can aid associates. These apps manage simple tasks for the customer and allow associates to focus on helping other customers.
Holiday shopping can be stressful. By leveraging mobile technology in the retail industry, Walmart reduces that stress and builds goodwill with shoppers. These types of positive experiences help improve sales not just for the holidays, but all year long.
Target’s Mobile Customer Experience Eliminates Lines
Helping consumers cut the long holiday lines is a popular retail trend this year. Target has also created an app-enabled program which consumers can use to reduce checkout time. In Target’s case, employees will use mobile devices to check customers out right on the sales floor. The service, dubbed Skip-the-Line, will specifically focus on the busiest areas of the store, like electronics, and will be available during peak shopping hours. This mobile initiative is only a small part of a more extensive, convenience-focused campaign. Consumers will be able to receive same-day delivery through Target’s partnership with Shipt. The curbside pickup option will also be expanded to cut down on in-store congestion.
A significant driver of Target’s holiday campaign is it’s strategic partnerships. By working with third-party app developers, social media platforms, and other online venues, the retailer has created a flexible campaign which they can use to monitor results and update strategies as needed. Technology partnerships also help the retailer connect with younger consumers who desire faster, more convenient shopping experiences that are mobile-optimized.
The mobile customer experience will play a vital part in gaining sales this holiday season.
The mobile customer experience will play a vital part in gaining sales this holiday season. Consumers may still prefer shopping in-store, but common issues like long lines and limited stock act as barriers. Retailers like Walmart and Target are using mobile in the shopping aisle to aid consumers in making purchases and finding items. This improves the experience and ensures the retailers will maintain their brick-and-mortar holiday sales even as eCommerce takes a bigger portion of the market.
Shopkick partners connect with consumers through our innovative app which allows them to collect and track rewards points easily. For more information on how our app can boost your holiday sales, contact us.
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