Remember back in the day when shopping online was a big deal? When we figured out we could skip going to the store and just stay home to click and shop? The impact of the Internet on retail sales is undeniably huge and mobile’s impact will be even bigger – but in an entirely different way.
Internet sales often reduce in-store sales. Although buying online with in-store pickup is starting to be more common, generally if someone is purchasing online they are not buying in the store. Mobile is starting out differently right from the start.
Mobile channels are being built specifically for customers to interact with retailers WHILE they are in the store. As an example, Sephora, a leading beauty retailer, has just launched a mobile reviews site (m.sephora.com). Shoppers can see user generated product reviews from their mobile device while they are making their selection. Smartly, Sephora has tapped into the importance of peer reviews in the mind of consumers.
Another mobile strategy being employed is using mobile to bring customers into the store. Mobile coupons are the most common example and text message alerts are right behind. Sears has built into the Sears2go mobile site a text message alert when product is ready to be picked up. Consumers can shop at Sears wherever they are and pick it up at their convenience – exactly when their product is ready to go.
Mobile makes retail shopping better for the consumer without replacing the in-store experience. The hurdle now for retail is making sure consumers know these useful mobile channels are available to them.