Insights on Marketing & Technology

Bridging mobile and retail buying experiences will repave the path-to-purchase

Customers don’t live in silos—they move throughout their days with smartphones in hand, serving as constant consultants for a majority of their daily decisions. In order to better connect and engage with increasingly tech-reliant consumers, retailers have to consider how they use mobile both inside and outside of stores.

  • By: Amelia Bernier
  • Published: 13-11-2014

To deliver mobile purchasing experiences that encourage shopper engagement, retailers should reimagine the customer journey—from start to finish—as involving mobile at every step. 

The path-to-purchase historically includes a number of steps to get customers into a retail location and through the checkout line. Brands used to have to depend on traditional touchpoints to connect with customers outside the store, including print or digital advertisements, while battling competing messages from independent consumer research, reviews, and word-of-mouth. Today mobile technology gives brands the power to insert themselves earlier and more consistently into the consumer buying process by delivering critical product information right to the shopper and controlling every stage of the conversation. 

Mobile allows brands to enter the buying conversation earlier and have a role in shaping the buyer’s perception.

The customer’s behaviors and medium choices at any given time impact the trajectory of their buying journey—are they looking up a product review on Amazon from their couch, or are they walking by window promotions right in front of the retail store? Brands that offer experiences specifically catered to customers inside their store are allowing themselves the opportunity to connect with potential buyers on a deeper level. By delivering value to a customer’s fingertips through contextual coupons, deals, or important information, retailers can boost customer confidence in their potential purchase and, ultimately, in the brand. 

Providing comprehensive experiences for users outside the store to engage with the brand is equally important. Customers who use mobile for product comparisons and research will expect enough information to feel confident in their purchase. The consumer may feel ready to purchase on the spot from their device, however, if this experience at least brings them into the store, brands will have an amazing amount of pertinent information ready to serve up the most relevant experience. 

Mobile e-commerce and retail sales aren’t opposite ends of the spectrum—a smart mobile strategy improves the experience of both. 

Shopping, or some form of it, has been around for ages—brands need to use innovative technologies to create new, unexpected, and exciting experiences for customers. In-store beacon sensors are just the beginning of what’s possible with location- and proximity-based technologies assisted by passive smartphone antennae. Understanding where customers are within the store and how they’re interacting with physical products will have massive implications for how stores are arranged and how physical storefronts are arranged for customer engagement. 

Brands that facilitate easy purchases will capitalize on the final stage of the customer journey. Consumers who embark on a brand’s buying journey expect ease and efficiency once they’ve made their purchasing decision. Whether in-store or on mobile, purchasing decisions are made in an instant—brands can capitalize on the moment by offering seamless services that facilitate payments with the tap of a screen or wave of a device. Recent revolutions in mobile payments, like Apple Pay, are the future of both in-store and mobile e-commerce payment processing transactions. 

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