Independent retailers need to start embracing mobile technology as a way of bringing customers back in store.
Smartphones are already having a significant impact on the way we shop and this is only set to increase as the tablet market joins the fray. IMRG m-Retail sales index showed a 359% growth in mobile device sales in the 12 months to May 2012, and is predicting a 13% online sales growth for 2012 in its e-Retail report. Although the true impact of tablets is yet to be established, with 65% of owners using them to browse online stores and 72% of them purchasing according to the IAB, it’s likely to be pretty significant.
This demonstrates an increasing acceptance amongst shoppers to bring technology into the overall shopping experience, and mobile is able to impact through every channel of the retailing experience. However, rather than being another nail in the coffin of the high street, including this multi-channel flexibility within their marketing plans presents independent retailers with a real opportunity.
Marketing is about putting the customer centre stage and mobile technology does just that. Morgan Stanley predicted that by the end of 2013 the number of searches done on phones will overtake those using a desk top with, according to Google, 40% having a local intent. O2 Media figures suggest that 7 out of 10 smartphone users are happy to receive location based messaging and additional research revealed that 69% of UK users would be happy to share their location in order to receive relevant information.
Add to this to the development of mobile coupons, the recent launch of PayPal inStore in Aurora Fashions’ stores Oasis, Warehouse and Coast, QR codes and near field communication, and you can begin to see the potential that high street retailers have in merging the online and offline shopping experience
Using location based messaging you can speak directly to potential customers when and where it’s most effective, using mobile coupons you can target your offers, using QR codes in store you can add offers, value and track response. Rather than dismal these really could be exciting times for the high street..
David has worked in advertising and marketing services for 30 years both client and agency side. Having worked with local, national and muliti-national clients, he set up DLH Marketing to help small organisations, owner managed businesses and those organisations without in-house marketing.