As consumers shift focus toward spring and the warmer months ahead, engagement efforts must target the evolving adaptations in play for today’s retail experience.
Marketers recognize mobile has become intrinsic to who we are and drives a myriad of cultural behaviors. Indeed, the net continues to cast wider with smartphone use specifically. According to eMarketer, the number of U.S. consumers with a smartphone will exceed 192.4 million by 2016, when 58.5 percent of the total U.S. population will have a smartphone.
Meanwhile, the traditional sales funnel is being replaced by the Mobile Shopping Life Cycle. This variation of the customer journey highlights times, locations and mindsets when customers are primed for engagement. As one industry expert concludes, today’s consumers “no longer go shopping, they always are shopping.”
Connected consumers are information hungry, price savvy and mobile reliant. Their expectations require consistent experiences across retail brick and mortar and online touch points. Mobile experiences must be relevant, personal and easily accessible.
The trend we’re observing suggests what’s old is new again. Retail coupons are no longer reserved for the Sunday newspaper-clipping crowd. With the rise of mobile has come increased consumption of digital couponing. What was once a specialized base of price-conscious shoppers has become a larger, more mainstream audience.
The intersection of mobile, couponing and rewards has shifted dynamics entirely for category-leading brands. Starbucks mobile integration has been enormously successful with over four million mobile wallet payments per week. Of course, the McDonald’s launch of NFC-based mobile payment and Apple’s introduction of Apple Pay has altered the landscape. The steady consumer embrace of mobile-oriented shopping and the impact on loyalty and engagement is ripe with opportunity.
WHAT IT MEANS + WHAT TO THINK ABOUT:
Retail shopping and online buying appeal to distinct consumer needs and motivations. The online world offers privacy, faster purchasing, bargain hunting and a solution for procrastination nation. Conversely, on premise buying allows for touch and feel, immediate gratification, sociability and expression of loyalty. Today’s connected consumers really seek attributes of both worlds to enhance their retail experience.
As retailers continue to advance the mobile experience through e-receipts and other relevant integrations, communications must drive back to consumers evolving and nuanced shopping behaviors. Retail consumers are connected – they are, in fact, always shopping. We need to intersect with them in a meaningful way by utilizing tools that are shaping their retail engagement.