Online shopping is here to stay – over half (56%) of US shoppers prefer online, and quarter of the entire global population has made at least one purchase online. A mobile retail strategy is critical to the success of retailers.

The biggest reason is convenience – and when you’re shopping online, there’s nothing more convenient than a tablet or smartphone. Shoppers have their mobile device with them anywhere and everywhere, putting the retail experience at their fingertips 24/7/365.

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So it’s no wonder that in 2022 sales from mobile devices account for more than half of all online shopping, and in the UK and the US the figure is as high as 75% of all online browsing sessions being from a mobile device.

For retailers, mobile shopping is an essential element of the omnichannel retail mix – offering an opportunity to increase online sales, and to drive more customers to the brick and mortar store too. It’s even more important during the holiday season, when shoppers want convenience more than ever and retailers are focussed on maximising online and in-store sales.

If retailers are to maximise the potential of mobile shopping, they must have a well-thought out mobile retail strategy.  

That strategy has to recognise that the retail experience from a mobile is not the same as shopping from a PC or laptop. A mobile device can be used at home or in the retail store, has a smaller screen, and has features such as GPS, camera and voice that can be used to enhance the customer experience.

So where to start? Here’s our take on the top ten considerations when building your mobile retail strategy.

  • Website design – it is essential to ensure that your website is optimised to intuitively adapt to the shopper’s mobile device. Nothing will ruin the customer experience faster than not being able to easily use your site from their phone or tablet. Whilst many retailers may believe that they are designing for mobile, shoppers don’t agree, and mobile has the highest cart abandonment rate of any device, at 65% for phones and 80.74% for tablets, compared with 69.75% for desktop. So ensure your ecommerce solution is built on a flexible, adaptable platform.
  • Payment options – shoppers want to choose how they pay, including digital wallets and Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL). In the US, use of BNPL grew from 37.7% in 2020, to 50% in 2022, so ensure your mobile retail strategy is flexible enough to incorporate a range of payment methods.
  • Geofencing and beaconing – mobile devices allow retailers to use location features to personalise the customer experience. Shoppers can receive send tailored messages when they are close to, or have entered the retail store, or even based on which department they are in, so consider incorporating geolocation in your mobile retail strategy.

  • Augmented reality (AR)AR boosts sales by increasing the shopper’s engagement with the product – such as showing them furniture in their own room, or how a particular lipstick would look on their complexion. Shoppers are very comfortable with this technology and 61% of consumers say they prefer retailers who offer AR, making it an essential for a mobile retail strategy.
  • Gamification in retail apps, particularly promotions and contests, can increase conversion rates by up to seven times. The mobile gaming market is growing rapidly, so savvy retailers consider gamification as part of their mobile retail strategy.

  • In the US, 71% of shoppers prefer to search using voice rather than typing, and mobile lends itself to this growing use of technology.
  • Image search is close on the heels of voice search, and shoppers love its convenience. Incorporating image based artificial intelligence searching in your mobile retail strategy is a smart future-proofing move.

  • Social proof – 7/10 of shoppers are influenced by friends’ social media posts, and 39% of adults have purchased through social media. A mobile retail strategy therefore needs to include the ability to integrate social proof into the retail experience.

  • In-store mobile – mobile shopping doesn’t stop just because the consumer is in your brick and mortar retail store. Shoppers use their phones in the store to check prices (15%) to find product information and offers (14%) and to find nearby retail stores with stock. So ensure your mobile retail strategy makes it easy for shoppers inside your walls as well as outside
  • Links to loyalty program and types of promotions – mobile digital passes mean you can send coupons and promotions literally directly into your consumers’ hands. 67% of US consumers said they’d choose a retailer who offers mobile coupons over one that doesn’t, so digital pass software has to be an essential pillar of your mobile retail strategy.

With these ten considerations in mind, every retailer can build a mobile retail strategy that will drive business this holiday season and beyond.

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