As more consumers use mobile devices to connect to the internet while they shop, it becomes ever more important that businesses integrate their mobile and in store experiences. This may seem simple enough but in reality it’s something few businesses have been able to do successfully. This isn’t just the opinion of one marketer, a recent study by Accenture show that many consumers expect more from retailers when it comes to mobile in store integration. This article will examine the recent data from Accenture to show what consumers want from retailers when using mobile devices in store and how businesses can provide the best possible experience.
The Accenture report is based on a recent survey of 750 U.S. consumers as well as an analysis of how U.S. retailers operate across multiple sales channels. The data indicates that retailers need to enhance their mobile commerce offerings and improve the in-store shopping experience. Nearly one in three (32%) of the respondents said the second biggest improvement retailers need to make in the consumer shopping experience is to enable the use of all three sales channels, physical store, online and mobile, in an integrated way.
One issue that is growing in importance is price consistency across channels. People expect the prices in-store to match the prices they see on mobile apps or on the main website. Four out of five (82%) of survey respondents said they expect a retailer’s prices to be the same in-store and online. To show how much that sentiment is spreading, just last year, only 69 percent of the respondents felt that way. Despite the overwhelming demand for price consistency, the analysis of retailers indicated that only one-third (34%) had the same pricing in-store and online for more than 80 percent of the items assessed.
Addressing these deficiencies in in-store and mobile integration will improve the shopping experience for the consumer and provide several new avenues for marketing to loyal customers.
“Physical and digital commerce are converging at an incredible pace,” said Dave Richards, global managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice. “The fact that many consumers use their mobile devices to check inventory availability while on their way to a store and are looking for real-time promotions to be sent to their phones means retailers have an opportunity to capitalize on the power of these devices.”
The biggest part of the experience that retailers need to fix, according to the survey, is the in-store shopping experience. Even then, the solutions consumers want are tied to mobile devices. When asked what they wanted to see improved 19 percent of the survey respondents cited easy ordering of out-of-stock merchandise and 15 percent wanted to see free Wi-Fi added (which would be for mobile devices). These changes can lead to increased revenue, more than one-third (36%) said they would order out-of-stock items via their mobile phone while in-store if they had that option.
A recurring theme of the study and survey is that there is a large base of customers who want to use their mobile devices while they’re shopping in the store. This goes beyond traditional mobile integration tactics like having inventory information available on mobile. More than a third (39%) of the respondents said that they would take advantage of the opportunity to earn loyalty points and save money on their purchases through in-store mobile phone offers.
Similarly, nearly half (45%) said they would like to receive real-time promotions sent to their phones or tablet. According to the assessment of sites done by Accenture, only 28 percent of sites are capable of delivering these features. Read this article on Inc.com that shows how and why businesses should consider using beacon-triggered marketing technology to provide some of these options to consumers. Investing in these mobile features for retail stores is something the study’s authors clearly recommend.
“By investing in mobile applications and frictionless digital payment tools that incorporate loyalty, coupons and rewards in-store, retailers can provide a seamless bridge between customers’ online and offline experiences,” said Richards. “All sales channels must be equally desirable to the consumer, so that the path to purchase is not chosen based on satisfaction in one channel over another, but simply on what is most convenient at that time.”
The Accenture study is full of interesting data and worth taking a look at. Everything that retailers do to improve the shopping experience across platforms puts them ahead of the majority of businesses. Also, as the data indicated, customers will spend more if business owners use technology to make it easy for them.
For more on this topic, read this article on an IBM study that shows some more things customers want from an integrated in-store and mobile experience.