How Retailers Can Use The 3-Phase Mobile Path To Purchase

Mobile retail shoppingSmartphone penetration has gone over 50% now. Mobile search is rapidly gaining on the number one way people search online. Our society and online use is going mobile and retailers need to figure out how to best use these tools to capture their share of the market.

Last week I attended a presentation put on by Mobile Monday Detroit entitled Mobile Technology: Changing the Face of Retail. In it, Jason Unger of MARS Advertising and Aaron Smith of Team Detroit spoke about the three-phase mobile path to purchase and what retailers should do at each phase. I thought I'd share it here as a good primer for anyone selling products today.

Phase 1: Pre-Shop. This is where you use mobile to let consumers know about your products or services before they begin to shop. Since they may not be actively seeking out informaiton on your product, you want to engage with them while they're doing the things they're already doing on the phone to influence them to choose you later. You want to be fishing where the fish are. 

The four most common places to connect with people in this phase are: mobile search, mobile ads, apps and SMS (texting). Screen takeover videos on mobile devices have a high click-thru rate. And on tablets, video is in much higher demand – so you can and should do longer videos if they're going to be seen on tablets.

You can also make use of apps like Vogel – which is like Get Glue, in that it allows people to check in on what TV program they're watching. However, Vogel has an audio sensory component that allows it to listen in and know what shows you're watching. then it can serve up show related content and ads, coupons, contests, etc… that relate to that show's audience.

Showrooming products in storePhase 2: Mobile Shopping
. In this phase you want to educate, incentivize and help them shop. One example of education during this phase was Kraft foods Inspirations campaign. It allowed you to scan in a code or type in a URL if you didn't have an idea for what to cook for dinner tha night. Then, it would offer a suggestion for dinner and tell you what all you need to get while you're there at the store. 

An example of a help you shop strategy is the app by Walmart that lets up upload your list. And then uses your GPS on your phone to tell where you are in the store and  remind you of stuff you need when you get close to it – telling you it's near and where it is.

Phase 3: Post Shop. This phase is about creating loyalty and advocacy. There are many ways to turn a customer's mobile device into their loyalty card. Starbucks did it by reversing the QR code. Instead of one code from the store to all customers, it gave a unique code to every customer. This allows them to use their loyalty program, collect their rewards, even pay for their purchase all on their phone.

Chase banks created advocacy by creating a way for customers to use their phone to avoid coming in to deposit checks. With their app, they can simply take a picture of each side of the check and deposit it electronically from wherever they are.

During this presentation, Unger said we are headed towards and "app and mortar" world where brick and mortar stores use apps to create a hybrid between physical stores and eCommerce. As a retailer you need to start thinking about how you're going to move into this world. It's a world where 60% of shoppers will leave a store for just 5% savings. How are you going to incentivize your customer to stay in your store when they are showrooming your products with their Amazon's app? These are things that will only get more prevelent as time goes on. The time to start planning is now.

Mike McClureMike McClure, Going Mobile.

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