July 21, 2011, 12:28 PM

How to deal with the new smartphone in-store reality

OpinionLab offers retailers five tips on engaging mobile consumers.

Lead Photo

Smart integration of smartphone capabilities can aid retailer efforts to keep customers engaged and shopping.

Smartphone owners in large numbers are using their devices in retail stores to research products and compare prices, numerous studies show. It’s a trend merchants can’t ignore.

 “Smartphones are rapidly transforming the retail landscape and blurring the lines between online and in-store customer experiences,” says Rand Nickerson, CEO of consumer feedback firm OpinionLab.

OpinionLab offers retailers five tips on how to engage smartphone-toting consumers in ways that will convert them from browsers to buyers.

The first tip is to put as much information into the consumer’s hands as possible. Shoppers in the information age like to research while in a store, OpinionLab says. Retailers can include Quick Response, or QR, 2-D bar codes to in-store displays that enable shoppers with a quick scan by a smartphone app to link automatically to branded mobile commerce sites or promotional mobile web-based content.

Another tip is to offer exclusive incentives via mobile devices. Such promotions appeal to well-informed mobile consumers, and highly targeted offers encourage customer to take action on special deals, OpinionLab says.

Merchants should not shy away from product reviews and video demonstrations either. Customers trust the opinions of their fellow shoppers more than they do manufacturer descriptions, and video has proven to be a powerful tool to keep customers engaged and help boost conversion. “Keep shoppers in your backyard by linking them directly to reviews through QR codes on store displays, and include store-made videos showing products in use,” OpinionLab says.

Merchants also can put social media to work for them. Merchants can invite shoppers to compare how many points they’ve earned in a loyalty program with others, or ask them via Facebook or Twitter to introduce the business to other consumers, OpinionLab suggests.

The fifth tip is to constantly listen to consumer feedback. Make it easy for them to use their mobile devices to send feedback whenever they want, and use social media as a way to communicate with mobile shoppers, OpinionLab says. 


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