The role mobile commerce plays in retail has become an important topic over the past year. Recent studies have confirmed that shoppers are increasingly using their cell phones in stores to help them make buying decisions. And this means that retailers must come up with new ways to keep customers in their stores – and keep them coming back.
What is customer loyalty?
There are many ways to view and define customer loyalty. We view it as a strong emotional connection between the shopper and a particular merchant or brand. In fact, loyal customers act as brand advocates, often convincing their friends and family members to become loyal customers too.
When a loyal customer thinks of a particular merchant or brand, itâ€™s not a question of whether he or she will buy from that merchant again, but when. The value in building a loyal customer base is obvious – you donâ€™t have to spend months or years trying to convince customers that your products or services are worth buying. Loyal customers are already convinced – theyâ€™re just looking (or waiting) for the right price or product incentive.
So how can you as a retailer build customer loyalty?
The key is to combine the best of both in-store and online retail experiences. Loyal customers will want to know that theyâ€™re valued, and be instantly “recognized” whether theyâ€™re in your store or browsing your store online. They also want the ease of online shopping while physically in your store. And, they want to enjoy the overall shopping experience – so much so that they look forward to their next in-person visit to your store.
Think about your own experiences with brands you trust. What is it these brands have in common? Hereâ€™s our short list:
- Rich in-store and online experiences with helpful sales interactions
- Accessible product recommendations and reviews
- Easy-to-locate items
- Smooth, fast checkout
- Hassle-free returns
- Personalized rewards and offers
Mobile technology is a great enabler for this. Give your customers a way to interact with your store via their mobile phones while physically in your store, and you instantly create an enjoyable, convenient shopping experience customers will seek out again and again.
For example, one of our customers, a high-end beverage retailer in New York City, uses mobile technology to help their in-store staff offer recommendations to shoppers based on products they’ve purchased in the past. Customers can access their past receipts on their phones, and the staff can take a quick look at those past purchases, get an idea of that shopperâ€™s taste preferences, and offer personalized recommendations. Itâ€™s an experience that canâ€™t be replicated online. And one that gives shoppers an incentive to keep coming back.
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