It doesn’t start when the shopper nears the store or walks in the door, though. It starts by building a meaningful SoLoMo strategy. One interpretation of the mobile shopping funnel captures the essence.
Social marketing helps build—or maybe for the small local retailer builds all by itself— awareness and a positive brand image. Retailers use tactics ranging from paid advertising to instore promotions and events to lure followers to their social platforms. Mobile marketing—whether paid ads or content marketing—reaches people when they are actively researching a purchase or provides a triggering cue by suggesting a reason to purchase. Local marketing reaches them at the point of purchase, giving them compelling reasons to buy at that moment.
The data also highlights another important mobile issue. Price comparison apps also experienced explosive growth. Showrooming—checking prices in stores then buying more cheaply online—seems to be ongoing.
But there’s good reason for local retailers not to hit the panic button. The trend can be their friend! No less a retailer than Walmart is encouraging people to use their phones in stores. Wired explains it well:
Walmart’s stores are “geo-fenced,” which means the location-aware app enters “store mode” when you walk through the door. Once in store mode, you have access to an interactive version of the weekly on-sale circular for that store. You can see what’s new in the store. You can scan bar codes with the phone’s camera for prices and keep a running list of everything you’re buying so you’ll know the total cost when you get to the register.
How can retailers without Walmart-level resources turn showrooming to their advantage? The advice from the Retail Customer Experience site is:
1. Embrace omnichannel.
2. Bring the best of online shopping into the store.
3. Implement innovative in-store technologies.
4. Empower in-store personnel.
Putting it all together they say:
Innovative in-store technologies can help shoppers engage with brands and create a great, enjoyable shopping experience that leads them to both return to the store and to act as brand ambassadors through social media, leading to more visits from their peers.
Very interesting—it all comes full circle. Use both the human touch of your store employees and the power of technology to give your customers a great shopping experience and they will share it with their friends on social media. Like all good advice, it’s easier said than done, but the guidelines are there!