Retailers Prioritize In-Store Mobile Tech But Struggle to Implement It
Mobile technology is impacting the way that consumers shop in physical retail stores. I know. Shocker, right? But the findings from a recent survey dive a little deeper into the role mobile technology has had in how retailers think about their own in-store shopping experiences. And while they certainly are aware of the role of mobile technology in their stores, they haven’t necessarily figured out the best way to capitalize on it.
The findings come from BRP’s 2019 In-Store Mobility special report, which is based on the consulting firm’s wider consumer engagement study.
In it, BRP found that 63 percent of customers reported using their phones while in a store shopping to do perform various tasks. Customers, then, clearly expect to, and actively do, have their phones out and active while they’re in a store shopping. As such, 49 percent of retailers said that the customer mobile experience is one of their top customer engagement priorities.
As for what customers specifically do with their mobile devices while shopping, the answers aren’t all that surprising. Customers most-commonly indicated that they compare prices (34 percent), look for coupons and other offer codes (28 percent), check online reviews and ratings (20 percent), check in-stock status (18 percent), and look up product information (16 percent).
Mobile devices offer more ways to engage with the customer, though, than as a pricing and product research tool. The survey found that 44 percent of customers would choose to shop at a retailer more often if they offered a self-scanning mobile app or some other form of mobile point-of-sale technology.
On the retail side, though they’ve made mobile technology a priority, businesses are struggling to make the most of these mobile solutions. For example, BRP found that more retailers are attempting to implement something like customer-owned device POS services—8 percent offered this last year, compared to 22 percent this year—but still half of those companies said their solution needs improvement. Another 16 percent of retailers reported still being a year away from implementing this kind of technology, and another 25 percent said they’ll have a solution in one-to-three years.
And looking up and down the list of other mobile services, not a single level of mobile tech has been successfully implemented by more than half of the retailers BRP surveyed. Further, there’s still a large chunk of retailers who have either implemented the service but said it needs improvement, or who are still working to get their mobile services up and running.
If retailers can get over those hurdles and bumps, the benefits of a strong in-store mobile tech environment are endless. The promised land of omnichannel retailing is one where the wall between the digital shopping experience and in-store one is broken down. Retailers who can figure out how to capitalize on the mobile shopping experience in their stores can realize improved in-store operations as well as actual improved in-store customer performance. The key, then, is understanding how customers shop in your store, how they’re using their own mobile devices within your four walls, and implementing the right strategy and the right technology to take advantage.
Easier said than done, of course. But the first step is simply coming to grips with the fact that you really need to get on board with the evolving nature of in-store shopping.