By now retailers know better than to fear “showrooming.” That’s a good thing. With more and more shoppers researching products on their phones while perusing the aisles, merchants can take full advantage of these multi-channel opportunities by encouraging phone research and providing product information that customers care about.
Mobile search queries that take place in stores have grown by 15% in the past few years, according to Google. At first, retailers tried to quash phone use, fearing that shoppers were buying items wherever they could find them online at a lower price – but the evidence overwhelmingly shows that most in-store phone use supports immediate in-store purchasing. For example, Google found in-store shoppers are four times more likely to search for the retail brand of the store they’re currently visiting, compared to the next highest competitor.
But despite this opportunity, most retailers aren’t yet taking full advantage of in-store phone use to drive sales and satisfaction. Despite 63% of consumers using phones to shop while in stores, just 49% of merchants view the customer mobile experience as a top engagement priority, according to research firm BRP. To make sure in-store phone use works for their brand, merchants should:
Provide wifi – and make good use of it.
Many stores now offer free wifi to shoppers, and while the sign-in process shouldn’t be cumbersome, it can also be an opportunity to invite further engagement. Shoppers can be invited to sign-in with email or proceed as a guest, for example, and retailers can also suggest signing up for email or SMS promotions or downloading store apps for access to coupons and deal alerts.
Highlight access to online product info.
Shoppers using their phones in stores are predominantly looking for more information about the items on the shelves. Product-related information took the top three slots in a RetailMeNot survey asking shoppers what they seek on their phones while in stores, and Google found that half of in-store phone users access online product videos prior to consulting store associates. Merchants should highlight access to this information with QR codes on shelf tags and product packaging, signage that quotes reviews, and even product videos that auto-play on store kiosk screens.
Personalize coupons and loyalty offers.
Retailers should apply personalization tools to in-store browsing experiences, automatically honing products, offers, and events by location and then layering in recommendations based on what shoppers are researching in real time. Loyalty program members should additionally be able to access rewards information and VIP coupons tailored to their current search.
How are you connecting in-store phone research with in-store buying opportunities?