Although online shopping and the BOPIS model remain strong, browsing in-store is far from a lost pastime. As a matter of fact, a survey conducted at the end of 2018 showed that a majority of retailers (63%) are seeing in-store shopping make a comeback. Another report that used data collected around the same time found that 60% percent of consumers still make in-store purchases weekly, and 90% do so monthly. The desire to see and try products before buying them was cited as the shoppers’ main motivation.
Thanks to online retailing, shoppers in brick-and-mortar stores are better informed and more demanding than ever. They may love the in-store shopping experience, but it can be enhanced by interactive mobile marketing to create greater engagement. There are several tactics that can help your store engage and convert those browsers.
How to Engage Consumers With Interactive Mobile Marketing
Individual attention creates emotional attachment, even when it is delivered automatically. Personalization leads to customer retention and, according to research conducted by PwC, around a quarter of shoppers are willing to pay more—up to 16% in some cases—for a product specifically in response to personalization. PwC also found that, while 43% of U.S. consumers say they would not allow companies to collect their personal data, which is a necessary step for personalization, 63% say they would share data for the sake of a service they value.
Purchasing history, personal information provided by the customer and recorded browsing patterns are among the information sources for personalization. Human service is essential for a positive retail experience as well, but the human and the digital can work in tandem to create a fast and targeted experience. According to a Salesforce report issued in 2019, the use of AI for personalization in retail and consumer goods marketing is expected to grow to 70% over the next two years—a 176% increase.
Personalization uses a combination of familiar tactics and the latest technology to engage consumers.
- Targeting. As customers walk in the door with a shopping app turned on, they can be greeted by name and view product suggestions based on previous buying patterns.
- Mapping. In large stores, customers can even be guided through the aisles to locate items of potential interest to them.
- Events. Customers can receive invitations to special sales, product premiers, and appreciation events based on their shopping patterns.
- Feedback. Giving customers an opportunity to leave feedback on items they purchase or read the feedback of others before making a purchase can enhance the shopping experience.
- Chatbots. Using natural language, AI chatbots can engage customers on messaging services by providing product suggestions and information, customer service, and branded entertainment in a conversational format. Chatbots are available around the clock and can generally respond faster than human assistance. They can also be used to gather information about customers, simply by asking for it.
Augmented reality (AR) is fun, informative, and easy to deliver—it is technically simpler to produce than virtual reality, and it requires no user headset. Consumers can use their smartphones to enrich the shopping experience. Augmented reality technology is still relatively new, making it enticing and exciting to most consumers. Many of them may be familiar with apps like Ikea’s that superimpose the seller’s furniture onto a view of their living rooms, or ones that find ATMs, stores and restaurants on the street.
Inform the Shopper
Customers can scan a QR code to find out the backstories of unique products, see demos or take a deep dive into the specs and options for products that interest them. The app might check the store’s stock for availability, sizes and colors as well, and even suggest alternatives until the shopper finds the item that suits them just right.
Try Products Out Virtually
Sephora makes even more extensive use of AR, allowing users to see what certain makeup products would look like on. A shopper looking for clothes might use AR to see a 360° view of garment on a model or combined with other garments. In a kitchenware store, a shopper might watch a demo of the countertop appliance on the shelf in front of them.
Take Time, Save Labor
AR creates a rich, customized experience for shoppers, who can take in as much or as little information as they please, and work their way through alternatives of their choosing at their own pace. Only at the end of the experience, when the shopper has made their purchasing decision, does a salesperson need to become involved. Thus, the customer gets to enjoy the benefits of modern technology and the human touch too.
There are a number of ways to reward loyalty with interactive mobile marketing, and they are often among the most effective measures for retailers. Fifty-eight percent of shoppers visit stores where they are members of a loyalty program at least once a month—and 69% say their choice of retailer is influenced by loyalty programs.
These are some of the most widespread and popular tactics found in retail marketing.
- Loyalty Rewards Programs. Many loyalty programs are available via a mobile app. In Shopkick’s case, shoppers can earn rewards for using the app when visiting a store and interacting with products at-shelf.
- Proximity marketing. Beacon technology can be combined with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to guide shoppers to sale items. According to Beaconstat, 75% of U.S. retailers already use it, and its popularity is still growing. Shopkick worked with early adopters T.J. Maxx and Best Buy.
Interactive mobile marketing combines familiar tactics like rewards points and events with the latest digital technology to generate excitement and help shoppers make purchasing decisions. It presents ample opportunities to increase engagement among shoppers in your store and turn browsers into buyers. Using these tactics will create a satisfying shopping experience that is met with appreciation and positive response from your customers.