If you don't have mobile in your retail engagement strategy then you are becoming a showroom for your competition. You only have to look around your store to see how mobile is a big part of retail- even if you don't have a mobile app or website. Without a mobile strategy, customers could be searching for product information from an app or website that you cannot control. Even worse, customers can utilise your store to test or try on an item before they buy it from your competitor's online store. Where these might sound like reasons to be fearful of in-store mobile, in fact it shows us that retail customers are ready for new and exciting in-store engagement processes. If you have a great in-store mobile experience then you lower your risk of losing your customers to your competitors- while still in your store.
One of the most successful retailers for great customer experience is Apple. Their retail stores are seeing record profits per customerand their commerce system is almost invisible. Most transactions are made on the shop floor soon after picking up an item or trying it out. Apple retail staff are empowered by a mobile payment system that allows them to assist their customers make a transaction anywhere in the store. But what if we could take this even further and allow customers to make their own transaction?
If you allow access to online payments in store then you enable your customers to make purchases where and when it suits them. This could be as soon as they pick it up, or perhaps as soon as they try it on in the change room. We would start to see purchases made when the customer is emotionally connected to the item and excited about owning it.
Retail staff will still be an important part of the customer experience but will be providing genuine assistance as opposed to simply managing transactions. The customer will experience better service as a result and the retailer will have an increased capacity to assist more customers at once.
Here are two simple tips to provide a mobile payment solution in your retail store.
1. Provide a great in-store mobile experience.
It is important to create the best environment for mobile payments and for this we must first focus on the mobile experience. You can start by making sure your website is mobile friendly. Following this, provide specific web applications that work well in the physical world. Think of 'digital merchandising' and compare how your customers walk through the store to how they browse through the App. Start the project by asking your customers some basic questions about what information they would like to find in an App. Finally, make it easy for your customers to discover the App and work QR codes and NFC into key locations within the store to allow a fast way to launch the mobile web page.
2. Use an online payment solution within your App to allow purchases anywhere.
It really is simple. If you embed an online payment solution in your retail App, you can start accepting online payments for your physical goods. This allows your customer to make a transaction on individual items and pay for it when it suits them.
With real time data the sales assistant can make sure their customers have actually paid and offer to package the item once they have seen the transaction go through. Of course you could be using the same system for your online store and eliminate any double handling.
Feature image by Sydney based visual artist James Brown.
Jon McFarlane Co-Founder, QuayPay
'The web is getting physical' and Jon has a passion for helping clients use web technology for engaging in the physical world.