It was almost abundantly clear how valuable mobile shopping was for the 2012 holiday shopping season. With some reports suggesting that roughly every other shopper made some kind of mobile purchase over the season, and others saying four out of five will use it to at least help, it's clear that there are plenty of gains to be realized on this concept. But, as is ever the question with anything new, the how of it all will prove elusive for some.
How can retailers take advantage of the mobile shopping frenzy to fuel their own bottom lines? There are eight basic steps to get retailers to the pot of gold at the end of the mobile shopping rainbow, so let's take a look at just what it takes to make those smartphones a smart move for business.
First, examine the current mobile shopping experience. There have already been several reports of mobile shoppers who've had terrible experiences with their foray into mobile shopping, and in some cases, the negative experience is bleeding over into the entire brand, poisoning shoppers against their brands of choice. Providing special deals on mobile devices only and ensuring that the app itself used for shopping is at its best, go a long way. Additionally, run some market research based on what devices customers currently use so that the individual specials and promotions can be tailored to the best device for the job.
Next, check into the history of the mobile shoppers at the particular brand. Find out what products are selling well to call better attention to them, and what products aren't selling to adjust their presentation or to otherwise remove them for other stock.
The next points tend to focus more on site design than anything else. That mobile shopping experience is absolutely vital for users, so make sure it's as easy to use as possible. Keep unrelated offers to a minimum, and make sure the process to reach the checkout--and clear the checkout--is both safe and smooth to help ensure happy customers. Consider allowing PayPal (News - Alert) or a mobile wallet as checkout options to get the best chance at reaching customers.
When buyers look to abandon their carts, consider pulling out a last-ditch special deal, or otherwise provide a better deal with a focus on cross-selling to try and keep those who would abandon their purchases in the fray by any means necessary.
Getting buyers to the mobile app in the first place may be a bit tougher, but consider the use of user-generated content to get people to spread the word and do the marketing themselves. Word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool, and happy customers often tend to be a better advertisement than anything bought at a station or newspaper office. Finally, look into the right kind of mobile users. The ease of use and rapid progression through the checkout lane should be a welcome treat for your current customers, while at the same time being available and accessible for others who haven't had the pleasure of shopping with the business yet.
Opportunity abounds when it comes to mobile commerce, and the business that ignores opportunity likely won't be in business too long to ignore many of them. But like any other opportunity, the necessary groundwork needs to be laid to prepare for the oncoming rush of shoppers. So with a little advance planning and some sound consideration of the overall experience, mobile shopping can be a retailer's best friend.
Edited by Stefanie Mosca
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