While we’re all familiar with the impact of mobile device prevalence in the shopping journey, in-store retail sales still drive over 90% of total retail sales, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
So how can retailers boost in-store sales in a digital age? The short answer is to embrace new technology to blur the line between physical and digital shopping experiences.
Start With Mobile
Since 2015, mobile has influenced more than $1 trillion in physical store sales, according to Forrester Research. A GfK study, commissioned by Facebook IQ, showed 45% of all shopping is influenced by mobile, with that number jumping closer to 60% for Millennials. And, according to the Adobe “2017 Mobile Maturity Survey,” 92% of respondents consider their smartphones to be their primary device.
As a result, retailers have to think through all the ways that consumers use mobile devices across the shopping journey and then be present at the most influential moments. For instance, when consumers go to YouTube or Pinterest for ideas and inspiration, retailers have the opportunity to be there. Or when consumers seek deals in a shopping companion site or app, retailers can be there, too.
Mobile first means making the retail store experience better for the consumers who are interested in using their phones to engage with the store. Several retailers are doing this well, including Sephora and Kohl’s.
For instance, Sephora’s app allows users to scan products to read reviews with the “in-store” mode, and out of the store, it introduces products in a game-like way to pique interest in buying. Features like these bring the best of the online shopping experience to the physical shopping experience and highlight how mobile continues to be the origin of the shopping journey for many consumers.
Bring It In-Store
In-store shopping can’t just be the basic reflection of the online experience or vice versa. Shoppers expect experiences that reflect the channel they’re utilizing, yet blend seamlessly to offer one unique vision of the brand.
All manner of surveys have produced results leaning one way or another—favoring the preference of the digital shopping experience or harping on the importance of a knowledgeable associate for an optimal in-store experience. So which one is important? Both.
Shoppers still love the experience of touch-and-feel before buying, and many retailers are capitalizing on the desires of Millennials to really integrate with brands. Physical locations can help boost consumer loyalty, especially when added-convenience features are included, such as the ability to buy online and pick up in store, easy-return kiosks for online purchases, and mobile payments. Starbucks is an excellent example of a retailer that offers a seamless process from mobile while in-store with its app.
Without a doubt, consumers are demanding new mobile-integrated retail experiences in 2017. And retailers that are making strides to capture mobile shoppers are those that are succeeding at capturing revenue. Across the shopping journey, the trick for retailers is to do more than check a box and get it done. Think it all the way through and implement the technology that will make the shopping journey an enjoyable one for customers in-store and across devices.