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Kantar exec: Move from combating showrooming to engaging targetingBy Rebecca Borison
NEW YORK — A Kantar Retail executive at the Mapping Mobile @NYUStern conference said that the days of fearing showrooming are over, and retailers should embrace in-store mobile usage as an opportunity to engage consumers before, during and after purchases.
During the “Mapping the mobile path-to-purchase” session, a professor from UNC Kenan-Flagler along with executives from Sequent Partners and Kantar Retail discussed how mobile impacts consumers’ daily lives and how retailers can integrate mobile into both in-store and online efforts. The Kantar Retail executive focused more on the consumer-based services retailers can offer, while the UNC professor focused on linking mobile application usage to conversions and the Sequent Partners executive spoke about understanding millennials and their relationship with mobile devices.
“The interactions are becoming more targeted, more individualized,” said Robin Sherk, director of retail insights at Kantar Retail, London. “And we’re only going to see that increase.
“We’re seeing it become more contextualized,” she said. “Based on physically where I am, am I in the store or not, also what time is it. The other piece is we’re seeing this conversation shift from price transparency to allow retailers to connect with shoppers and develop a personal conversation, offering them deals that you can’t price compare with someone else.
Before, during, after
During her session, Ms. Sherk looked through the entire purchase cycle from pre-shopping to post-purchase engagement to show how retailers can leverage mobile throughout the cycle.
Some of the ways that retailers can use mobile before a purchase is through list making, coupon finding and circulars.
Ms. Sherk pointed to Walmart as a great example of a retailer leveraging mobile for list-making. Walmart offers a voice-activated list system in its app that lets consumer compile a shopping list verbally.
Consumers can open their fridge to see what they need, say eggs or milk, and the app will automatically compile a list. The app will also connect to the store to determine prices for the items and filter for any coupons to help the consumer budget.
Ms. Sherk also mentioned Target’s app Cartwheel, which provides mobile coupons for consumers. It goes beyond simply providing mobile bar codes and adds a social element, letting consumers see which coupons are trending and allowing them to share coupons with friends.
A retailer that successfully integrates mobile into print circulars is Lowe’s. The retailer added augmented reality to its print circulars to let consumers visualize products in their homes before making a purchase.
According to Ms. Sherk this helps create a sense of excitement beyond the traditional print paper.
To enhance the consumer experience during the actual shopping period, retailers have begun adding interactive in-store maps to apps, mobilized customer service and scan to purchase online.
Walgreens and Home Depot are two retailers that provide in-store maps to guide consumers through their stores. Some grocery stores are even mapping out the most efficient route through the store based on consumers’ shopping lists.
Walmart has implemented a kiosk in front of its customer desk that lets consumers enter their number to receive an SMS when it is their turn in line.
Other retailers such as Tesco and Target are creating endless aisles by letting consumers purchase items that are out of stock in the store. Consumers can scan a code if the product they want is not in stock and have it shipped to their house for free.
After consumers actually visit a store, retailers can still engage them via loyalty programs.
For example, Walgreens lets consumers set health goals such as walking a certain amount or getting a flu shot. When they complete a goal, they earn points that can be redeemed in-store.
All of these innovations that retailers are rolling out point to the importance of leveraging mobile throughout the entire purchase cycle.
“As I have a better understanding of what my shoppers are doing, how they’re planning their trips, I’m going to have a much more sophisticated understanding of how to understand this audience and what engages each and every one of them,” Ms. Sherk said.
Linking app usage to purchase
Isaac Dinner, assistant professor of marketing at UNC Kenan-Flagler, Chapel Hill, NC, spoke about a different challenge for retailers: Tying in-app activity to online and offline purchases.
Mr. Dinner studied app usage for an upscale fashion retailer to see its impact on in-store and online purchases.
One thing they noticed is that app usage drops very quickly after the initial download. However, they were able to increase app usage by online and offline advertising.
Additionally, purchases drive access to an app, so if a consumer makes a purchase in a store he or she is more likely to visit the retailer’s app.
This relationship goes both ways. Consumers who spend more time in-app are more likely to make a purchase online or in-store.
While actual in-app purchases are still lagging, Mr. Dinner was able to point to a connection between app activity and purchases through other channels.
“There are purchases that happen outside the app category, you see the app and go to the store and purchase from other categories and channels,” Mr. Dinner said. “The app mediates advertising impact on sales. There is a reinforcing cycle: access drives purchase which drives access. Having this app leads to a cycle of purchase.”
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York
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