March 31, 2011, 10:32 AM

Mobile devices present a path to personalization for bricks-and-mortar stores, report says

Aberdeen Group finds that more than half of retailers want to offer personalized mobile promotions.

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51% of retailers plan to adopt technology over the next two years that enables them to beam offers to the mobile phones of consumers inside stores, suggests survey data from market research firm Aberdeen Group.

The findings are based on surveys of 100 retailers, and are part of Aberdeen’s report, “The Customer Connected Store.”

About 40% of surveyed retailers consider personalization of in-store shopping to be increasingly important to their overall marketing strategy. Among the factors boosting the importance of those efforts include more consumers becoming accustomed to shopping via multiple channels, including online and mobile, and the desire to provide what at least one survey respondent called a user-friendly experience for busy consumers.

When it comes to personalization, offering promotions to specific consumer niches—for example, categories based on gender, ethnicity, age group, profession and interests—are a growing priority for retailers, with 22% of respondents already doing so, and 48% planning to. 24% of retailers say they have plans in place to offer exclusive sales, cross-selling opportunities and related promotions for specific customer demographic groups, while 41% of retailers plan to make such offers in the future.

The report urges retailers to focus more on the mobile channel to help boost in-store sales.

“Retailers will need to utilize capabilities including customer identification, location-based SMS messaging and wireless network upgrades to enable seamless mobile promotion messaging to store customers,” writes Sahir Anand, the report’s author.

The report also finds that while 24% of retailers enable shoppers to place web or catalog orders from inside stores, 36% plan to offer such services within the next two years. The report adds only 16% of retailers deploy kiosks inside stores to enable customers or employees to place those orders, but 34% plan to do so within two years.

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