Is mobile an effective sales channel for retail?
Given that Forrester states consumers have spent $60 billion from mobile phones in 2016 alone and have influenced over $1 trillion dollars in brick and mortar sales, that question may have to be marked “Answered and Resolved!”
No doubt you have seen the various posts on the demise of bricks and mortar retail over the past few months; however, there are some conflicting stats. Accenture surveyed nearly 10,000 consumers and found that while social media is the most preferred method of purchasing for millennials and post millennials, for 77% of them, bricks and mortar were preferred.
This being a generation that has spent their entire life depending on smartphones, its inevitable that devices play a key role in finding product, comparing prices, looking for reviews and promotions; so let’s look at the top things they are doing on their devices
- Compare Prices (52%)
- Look up product information (47%)
- Read customer reviews on a product (44%)
- Search for a coupon (39%)
- Locate a store nearby and hours (32%)
- Checked availability of product (30%)
Where brick and mortar retail excels is in its ability to provide superior brand engagement to consumers – there is a personal authentic experience that cannot be replicated in online sales; however, giving consumers transparency to the inventory and experience from their mobile devices is a key component of this process.
Gen Z consumers are typically looking to start the shopping experience before they even walk into the store, they want a high level of engagement on the store floor but a frictionless easy checkout process. Ideally, surveys show most of them would prefer checkout directly from the devices (Amazon & Walmart are already making inroads in this capability).
While online will continue to grow, I believe that traditional brick and mortars refusal to provide their consumers a mobile interaction channel is really what will ultimately be more of a detriment than the online boom. What their customers want is the ability to provide a high engagement experience that incorporates the online and offline experience in one seamless process. Mobile will continue to be the key in enabling that process