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Most people don’t particularly enjoy grocery shopping, but they’re generally very good at it. They approach the supermarket as if they are entering battle, equipped with a grocery list, shopping cart, wallet, loyalty card and, more often than not, their smartphone.
Because mobile users are becoming increasingly comfortable with conducting e-commerce and other everyday activities on their smartphones, it’s only natural to want this level of convenience at the brick-and-mortar level too. Retailers must consider the strategic impacts of this growing trend. Are you ready for mobile commerce in your store? To kick start the mobile experience, there are six steps retailers should follow:
1. Remember that mobile point-of-sale (POS) is not mobile commerce. Implementations of mobile POS ebb and flow across retail, but its focus is on alleviating front-end backups, not providing a satisfying mobile shopping experience. Providing self-checkout functionality in a smartphone -- where shoppers take 30 minutes versus three to checkout -- creates myriad complex pricing scenarios that need to be invisible to every shopper during every trip.
2. Personalize content based on purchase history. Providing shoppers with relevant promotions during their trip doubles mobile commerce usage -- versus mobile self-checkout only. By harnessing the treasure trove of loyalty data, retailers can delight their mobile shoppers, generating incremental loyalty for their stores and their brand partners.
3. Leverage the power of real-time shopper location and purchase behavior. When a shopper receives an offer for an item he wasn’t going to purchase, but buys it because it was compelling, everybody in the retail chain wins. Imagine walking by the center of the store and receiving an offer for multivitamins that rivals the price you pay on Amazon. Leveraging real-time location data and basket contents significantly increases the power of loyalty data for the benefit of shoppers, retailers and brand partners.
4. Provide an intuitive, integrated mobile experience. With the plethora of mobile apps out there, a shopper can easily become overwhelmed and frustrated. It is the successful retailer’s job to keep things simple and effective by integrating the apps shoppers want into a single experience. For example, shopping list apps should be an integral part of mobile commerce where scanning a bottle of multivitamins crosses them off my list. Or, when my mobile deli order is fulfilled, I’m reminded to scan it into my basket. When the trip is complete and it’s time to pay, make sure there’s a fast lane for those of us doing our part to streamline the process. Better yet, allow me to use a pre-registered payment method like I do on Amazon (and don’t tell me to wait for Google Wallet or MCX)!
5. Offer secure and simple in-store mobile payment to your mobile commerce customers. Chief among shopper complaints is the wait at the checkout. There’s no good reason, beyond practical POS development issues, for not providing these premium shoppers with this FastLane/1-Click Checkout experience. The key to mobile commerce adoption, and the loyalty and operational benefits that come with it, is making the experience at the end of the trip as rewarding as the middle. In five years, it’s estimated that at least half of smartphone users will be using mobile wallets as their preferred method of payment. Lead the charge. Don’t force mobile commerce users to endure waiting in line -- because they won’t. Maybe even link this privilege to use of ACH and debit to reduce transaction fees.
6. Implement scalable, intelligent loss prevention systems, optimized for the mobile experience. Asset protection is extremely important, and introducing mobile commerce in the store makes both shoppers and retailers nervous. It’s a balancing act to eliminate loss from the few dishonest customers, while empowering loyal customers. Establishing a system that deters theft by the few, while limiting annoyance of the many, is achievable as demonstrated by the current leaders in this space. Considering past shopper audit results, extended delays between scans, high numbers of voids, shopper status and other retailer-specific parameters makes this work.
Whether you’re halfway to a mobile experience in-store or you’re just starting down the path, in-store mobile commerce is the next wave of innovation for the supermarket. It’s coming, it’s inevitable and customers will increasingly demand it.
Mike Grimes is SVP of mobile commerce at Catalina, the personalized digital media network influencing over 175 million consumers every month, driving measured lift and loyalty for the world’s largest CPG brands and retailers.