Gone are the days when shopping takes place in one destination. Instead, consumers engage with a variety of retail-minded touch points before ever making a purchase. Among them? Social media, email marketing, company websites, Yelp reviews and more.
Since most customers research their purchases on multiple devices — including mobile — it's necessary to provide a seamless shopping journey across all channels in order to make sales happen.
The modern customer expects to have the same experience with a brand whether browsing inventory via a retailer's website on their smartphone, clicking on a link provided by a retailer's recent email, or visiting the brand's Facebook page on their desktop while holding their smartphone in their opposite hand and scrolling through Instagram. As you can imagine, no one customer journey is the same when exploring a retailer's brand, yet for retailers, their brand presence must stay consistent among all of these avenues.
Consider the following three steps when creating your company's mobile strategy for omnichannel success.
Step #1: Optimize Your Website for Mobile
Among the most obvious — and most important — areas to strengthen when aiming to achieve omnichannel success is to provide an easy-to-navigate Responsive Web Design site that tracks the browsing and buying experiences taking place on the site. In combination with Google Analytics and your website's host platform, you should be able to identify the various touchpoints on your website that customers are making — as well as whether it's leading them to make purchases or not. Once you figure out where your website traffic is coming from and where your customers are spending the most time, you'll know what parts of your website are most valuable to your customers and your selling strategies alike. Remember, the goal here is to create a seamless omnichannel experience that easily allows your customers to navigate your store online — even if that means directing them back to your physical store to make purchases or pick up products they may have either put on hold or bought online.
To further support your mobile website, be sure to eliminate any clutter, or content that isn't absolutely necessary, when creating the mobile version of your site. Include an accessible search box on the home page that takes customers where they want to go, as well as a dropdown menu that gives customers instant access to the high-traffic sections of your website.
Step #2: Offer Customers Incentives to Use Your App
As any retailer who has recently launched a mobile app knows, it can be difficult to get customers to download an app and even harder to get them not to delete it after the first use. What you might not realize when you're in the first stages of marketing your company's app or mobile website, is that you already have all of the customer data you need to create a strong mobile presence stored in your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, which may be incorporated into your POS.
All you need to do to get started is to download your customer contact information from your CRM system and email your customers an incentive to use your app or mobile website. The most common way to do this is by offering customers a percentage off their first in-app or mobile purchase, but it also can extend to offering mobile customers first access to sales and in-store events. This is your chance to get creative in how you engage your customers. The catch is simply to make sure you are, in fact, engaging them.
Step #3: Use Mobile Marketing to Bring in Foot Traffic
In your brick-and-mortar locations, customers can get a real feel for your brand and interact with your store associates on a personal level that will leave them feeling excited about experiencing your brand when they're not physically in your store — yet they still want to engage with your business. This is where mobile once again becomes a key aspect in your overall marketing efforts.
To get the most traction out of your mobile app or website, cater your mobile strategy towards bringing omnichannel customers into your physical store. Build foot traffic with digital promotions to create a relationship with your customers across channels. Even the most stringent mobile-first customer will want to visit your store when you send them mobile and digital coupons or incentives that can only be used at your physical locations.
Tips for Your Mobile Strategy
- Shop your own store on multiple devices to assess the fluidity of your customers' omnichannel journeys. If you come across any kinks in the shopping process, so will your customers. Identify kinks before they do, ensuring your customers will have a seamless, mobile shopping experience.
- Let omnichannel customers do product research while they shop in-store by offering free Wi-Fi at your physical locations. The reality is consumers reference their phones for more than just shopping, such as for opinions from friends and family, social media updates and more. Make sure you make it easy for them to do this via their mobile device while in your store.
- Ask for customer feedback. Create an area for comments on your mobile taskbar so that customers can share their personal experiences and thoughts with you. Additionally, invite customers to share their feedback via social media!
Even if you've never made a purchase online or prefer to shop mobile only as a last-minute effort, remember that your customers may not have this same sentiment. By incorporating mobile into your customer outreach and omnichannel strategy, you are welcoming the opportunity for stronger customer engagement and sales.
Find more ideas to strengthen your customer relationship in CNA's 2018 Guide to the New Realities of Small Retail.
From the Author
Nicole Leinbach Reyhle is the Founder and Publisher of RetailMinded.com, an industry publication that has been recognized worldwide for its leading retail insight. With a core concentration on independent retailers and small businesses, Reyhle is a frequent guest and contributor to various media outlets that include The Today Show, Forbes and countless B2B publications. Additionally, Reyhle has been the spokesperson for American Express's Small Business Saturday since 2014 and is the author of the book Retail 101: The Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business from McGraw-Hill. Reyhle writes regularly as a retail thought leader for various industry resources that include Entrepreuner.com, Fiverr.com, Forbes, IBM and more, as well as having taught Retail Management at Columbia College for eight years as part of their adjunct faculty. Reyhle is also the Co-Founder of the Independent Retailer Conference. Learn more about Reyhle at RetailMinded.com.
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