One of the incredible opportunities for mobile technology within retail is the ability to offer a service to customers in addition to a product. Brands trying to make the shift into the eCommerce space should consider how today’s emerging tech trends can help them build an online following through value-added marketing. Many of the features available within mobile apps can create new opportunities for marketers while easing purchase for consumers.
Many marketing firms have already increased their budgets for digital mediums, with a heavy focus on newer features. Augmented and virtual reality can play a significant part in merging the digital and physical shopping experiences. Image recognition will also become a strong source of leads. Brands should understand how these new eCommerce innovations will change their marketing needs to maintain sales online and in store.
How New Mobile Technology in Retail Is Changing Product Discovery
Whether they’re using a shopping platform or a search engine, most consumers will use a text-based search. Marketers face heavy competition in trying to corner the market in non-branded search terms. However, technology has created new search options for consumers that may offer brands a way to break away from the competition.
- Voice: The use of voice to search and shop via smart speaker or wearable device is growing. By optimizing products for audio search, brands can stand out. While little is known regarding audio ranking processes for products, most data shows that customer ratings and reviews play a key role.
- Image: 2D image recognition allows consumers to discover products in the real world via their phone’s camera. Major retailers like Amazon and Walmart are looking to optimize this technology, which enables consumers to upload photos to find similar products. Partnering with the platforms that offer this type of technology before it takes off will give brands a definitive edge.
- Proximity and personalization: Through consumer data, brands can better target their offers and improve purchase potential. Proximity-based marketing allows brands to connect with consumers who are physically near their products. Additionally, brands can personalize their offers based on a consumer’s past browsing or purchase behavior. Both of these strategies work best through a third-party app, like Shopkick, as these apps have substantial existing user bases for brands to access.
Brands can improve the process of product discovery by focusing on these three emerging avenues. This way, when consumer adoption spikes, they’ll be best prepared to serve increased demand for searches.
Innovative Options for Mobile Marketing
Through mobile technology in retail, marketing becomes an added service for consumers. Stéphane Bérubé, L’Oréal’s chief marketing officer for Western Europe, adopted this strategy when connecting with consumers in the digital space. Bérubé knew that traditionally, cosmetics were bought in-store, right off the shelves as consumers wanted to see how a product would look in person. The brick-and-mortar option allowed cosmetic brands to offer an additional “try-on” service, and to further engage consumers.
Mobile technology in retail allows brands to connect with consumers regardless of their location.
L’Oréal wanted to provide this innovative service for the eCommerce space, and augmented reality created the option. The brand purchased Modiface, an AR beauty service, to use as a platform to digitally showcase their products. The company also changed its focus from being “the top beauty brand” to being “the number one beauty tech company.” Essentially, a platform designed to sell the brand’s cosmetics became an added service that replaced a critical part of the in-store experience. This added value marketing strategy is one other brands can emulate to improve the customer experience. Other options aside from AR include:
- Digital rewards: Digital rewards allow consumers to participate in loyalty programs while brands are offered a unique way to showcase their products. Shopkick uses this strategy for brand marketing right in the shopping aisle by offering consumers kicks for scanning UPCs and interacting with featured products. Through this strategy, consumers are incentivized to locate and handle the product, which primes them for sale.
- Mobile wallets: Mobile wallets make it easier for consumers to buy products, which eliminates barriers to purchase that may cause shopping cart abandonment. Consumers can store their payment information in one secure place on their phones and use that as their universal payment option.
- In-store pickup: The increased speed of delivery has been a significant driver of eCommerce adoption. Now, consumers who want to cut that delivery time in half can opt to pick up their items in the store, sometimes even utilizing curbside pickup. Mobile shopping apps also allow consumers to receive real-time notifications when an order is ready to speed their trip and eliminate waiting.
Mobile technology in retail allows brands to connect with consumers regardless of their location. Brands can use apps that leverage this technology to create a service for their products, which in turn builds brand affinity and leads to sales. Apps that make shopping more convenient for the consumer are also beneficial for retailers, as they build engagement. As eCommerce goes mobile, brands can improve their sales by investing in innovative mobile features.
Image courtesy of Montri Nipitvittaya