Thursday, April 19, 2012

Smart Shopping with Smartphones

  People eat, sleep, work and play with smartphones readily in hand. Most people are gaming, texting or using Facebook. There is a new phenomenon striking smartphone users and it is called smart shopping. A third of shoppers are using smartphones in stores while they shop to scan merchandise, read reviews, ask friends for recommendations and then share with you, the business, what they've found. If they are not satisfied with your response, they will locate a business that has better prices or service.

This trend in mobile shopping and price comparisons means consumers are willing to forgo an instant purchase in the store if they can save money ordering a product via the Internet — giving online retailers a serious advantage. Or, they will insist that physical stores match or beat the prices of online competitors. Consumers are entering brick-and-mortar locations to review and try out the product but then buying it from their mobile devices.

 What are your options as a brick-and-mortar retailer? The first step is embracing mobile technology instead of this natural impulse to push it away. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile browsers so you can be competing in the race of gaining mobile shoppers. If you cannot match or beat your online competitors prices, you need to approach the situation in a different way.

Offering private label or bundled package deals is a way to offer consumers something they cannot buy somewhere else. Having a reward program is a great way to make your customers want to shop with you because they get ‘points’ or occasional freebies. Also, make sure your employees are well rehearsed and ready to answer savvy, knowledgeable customers. This adds a superior customer experience not available via mobile shopping. Don’t we all love that comforting and personal attention from sales associates?

Play on the natural strengths brick-and-mortar stores have. You have the advantage of instant gratification for consumers, rather than having to wait days or even weeks to receive a product and face robust shipping fees. Consumers’ purchase decisions are not finalized when they arrive at the store, so in-store advertising and promotions can help drive more conversions and sales.

Make sure you have a captivating marketing and advertising plan to keep customers in-house!

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