We see it all around us every time we go out the door. People using smartphones to do all kinds of things other than taking and making calls. But have you thought about how that behavior affects retail sales?
Cathy Halligan, SVP, Marketing & Sales at PowerReview, has. The rise in mobile Internet access via smartphones has changed the pattern for research and shopping she writes in Mobile Access Rules for Weekend Retail Shoppers (ClickZ).
Instead of doing their research at home, then going to the one store they've preselected and probably making a purchase, "shoppers will be checking product availability, price, and reading online reviews while at the mall, standing in your store, or standing in your competitor's store."
So it's important that you take steps to ensure you're reaching shoppers who are doing product research on their mobiles. Cathy Halligan recommends:
- Publishing customer reviews daily;
- updating your product pages frequently;
- reminding customers, through email, on your website and through in-store notices that they can access information about your products and services 24/7 on their mobile devices.
Taking it one step further, there's no real need for Christmas shoppers to even come to your store. How shoppers with smartphones are changing the retail landscape (CBC News) describes how consumers shopping at Future Shop's Boxing Day Sale will be able to see and buy bargains that night "without doing anything more than tapping out an order on their smartphone or tablet".
Now, so far the numbers of Canadian consumers using mobile apps to Christmas shop are small (20% according to consulting firm Deloitte in its 2011 holiday outlook survey), but that doesn't mean that the trend is insignificant.
Research by Deloitte suggests that customer research, on their devices, about the products they might like to buy is driving spending in stores, and that the "multiplier effect" of that trend will double between 2010 and 2015. "So if you're a retailer now and you don't have a mobile strategy, I think it's time to get up to speed," says Alain Michaud, a Canadian retailing analyst at PwC in Montreal (CBC News).
Image (c) Peter Cade / Getty Images
More on Mobile Devices and Business
- 8 Mobile Marketing Strategies for Small Business
- Where You Got to Be: Mobile Marketing
- Mobile Marketing - Getting a Grasp on the Basics (About.com Marketing)