What’s the value of those phones consumers carry into your stores? About $1 trillion in retail business, according to a new report.
Nationwide, retail shopping has continued to grow in physical stores, becoming a $2.9 billion business. Online shopping drove an impressive $334 billion, but it remains well behind the earnings of in-store retail.
But digital influence isn’t absent from brick-and-mortar locations. As a Forrester report points out, smartphones affected more than one-third of those sales dollars. That means the value of mobile phones in a physical retail setting is roughly three times the overall value of all online retail transactions.
Going off those numbers, it’s clear that brick-and-mortar selling is nowhere close to its end. But the need for a mobile-supported retail experience is higher than ever for retailers of all sizes.
Responding to Retail Shopping Habits
Smartphones have an undeniable role as a supplementary sales tool, and brands should seek new ways of leveraging this technology to assist shoppers. The most prevalent use of mobile phones is as a window to resources and information positioned outside the store — product reviews, price comparisons, and other unbiased information that the Internet can provide.
Many of these activities are cost-focused, and mobile devices could be leveraged to respond to these consumer needs. Traditional selling strategies such as price-matching guarantees could be a savvy approach for retailers — so long as their research proves they can afford it — but there are other methods to capture in-store sales, such as the use of mobile-only coupons, access to online discount codes, or promotional contests that are entered online.
At the very least, brands should do everything they can to facilitate mobile devices in their stores. Providing free in-store WiFi is a good start, and a mobile app can help build a second-screen retail experience. It’s ideal to keep consumers on brand websites and apps, but even when that isn’t possible, retail stores should encourage mobile device usage, if only because the overall numbers suggest those smartphones will help elevate sales.
Retailers will continue to face the risk that the use of mobile devices in stores could draw shoppers out of their stores and through the doors of their competitors. But that’s a natural cost of doing business in the Internet age.
If retailers manage to build a strong mobile experience, smartphones will ultimately prove to be a great selling asset.
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