Mobile Retailing 101: A Blueprint for Success

A Blueprint for Success

The National Retail Federation Mobile Retail Initiative recently released its updated version of the Mobile Retailing Blueprint, a 185-page comprehensive guide to helping you navigate mobile retailing. The complete report is available for download at [][/url], and we’ve included a few tips here to get you started.

Shopping Tools
Many useful shopping tools are available for consumers from both retailers and third parties; these tools enhance the shopping experience and generally influence consumers indirectly. Adding these tools to a retailer’s mobile application adds value to the application, making it more likely that a consumer will rely on the application. Such tools include:

  • Product holds: Product holds enable a consumer on the way to a brick and mortar to hold a product.
  • Card aggregation: Consumers want to minimize the number of different cards they carry. Mobile phones provide a unique opportunity to consolidate cards, especially loyalty cards, which have become more popular in recent years, on one easily accessible device.
  • Nearby search: Applications running on phones equipped with GPS capabilities can determine the consumer’s location; the application can search for nearby stores, restaurants, products and events.
  • Recommendations: Deciding which product to purchase can be daunting. Fortunately, guides are available on the Internet. Mobile applications can provide product recommendations at the time of purchase, which can influence consumer behavior. Retailers that can become trusted advisers to their customers will establish long-term relationships that can be very profitable.

Loyalty Programs
Typical loyalty programs include three major functions. One function allows the participant to sign up for the program; another provides some method of identifying the participant at checkout to award or redeem points; a third, administrative function, allows consumers to manage their accounts, typically using a website. Mobile phones allow all three functions to be combined in such a way that a consumer has constant access to the loyalty program. This convenience benefits both the program participant and the retailer.
The ability to tie a loyalty membership number to a mobile phone not only dramatically increases customer participation in a loyalty program, it also enhances the data that is collected about that customer. The average household belongs to 14.1 loyalty programs but is only active in 6.2. The main reasons for this discrepancy are typically a lengthy sign-up process, not understanding the program, not being able to quickly redeem the rewards or simply not wanting to carry multiple cards or key fobs. The mobile phone can address all of these issues, while allowing the program owner to develop data in addition to information about what the consumer does at the POS.