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5 Ways Retailers Can Embrace Mobile In-Store

We all are constantly using our smartphones - in meetings, while walking, while driving (yikes), while waiting in line for 3 minutes; we just can’t pull ourselves away from them.  I believe that retailers are missing the boat when it comes to providing mobile options while consumers are in the store.  From what I can tell, there aren’t many retailers who are taking advantage of this precious time. I’ve seen Target post large advertisements in 5 or 6 aisles instructing consumers to text a number to get a $10 discount. Granted, the consumer has to text a number, receive a reply text, then remember to scan it when checking out which doesn’t exactly translate into an easy process.  With that being said, I’ve thought of 5 easy ways stores can enhance the shopping experience using mobile.

  1. Find it! Don’t you hate when you’re trying to find something in a store but can’t seem to even locate an employee to help you?  Well, I think it would be great if the store’s mobile app could search for the product and tell you what aisle it was in.

  2. Connect my store list, please. There are mobile apps where you can create your shopping list (think: ‘Remember the Milk’), so I think it would be great if you could choose your store, and have the app label your list by the aisle number. Then, you could reorder your list by numeric order and streamline your shopping process.

  3. Use my data. There are thousands of data points for each individual shopper.  Why not utilize that data to benefit the store?  Take inventory of purchases and then suggest other items a consumer might be interested in. The same method could be used for sending coupons of frequently purchased items right to the consumer’s mobile phone.  Perhaps you could get a text if an item you bought before is on sale that week.

  4. How much is this? Thankfully, price scanning already exists.  There are plenty of mobile apps that allow you to scan a bar code to find out the price of a particular item.  In fact, some apps even show prices from surrounding stores so you can find the best deal.  Honestly, I’d rather not drive around town to save a couple bucks, so if the store doesn’t do it already, they should think about matching their prices based off the app scan. Chances are the consumer would rather just buy the item in the store they’re currently standing in.

  5.  I can’t find a parking spot. HELP! This might be wishful thinking, but why not?  What if you were trying to find parking and a mobile app could tell you exactly where the open spots are?  I realize that there are garages with censors on open spaces and sure, the kiosk knows where there is an open space, but why not go the extra mile and push that helpful into to a consumer’s phone?

So there you have it - 5 simple ways retailers can enhance the shopping experience using mobile, because we all need another excuse to be on our phones.

By John Boyer, Director of Marketing, Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates.