Three Ways to Engage Mobile for Retail Success Before Year-End

This is the second installment in a three-part series on high-tech shopping trends.

As you’ve no doubt seen, this holiday shopping season is all about mobile. With my respect for the power of technology, I’m glad to see retailers recognizing the impact mobile devices are having on shaping shopping habits.

In my first column in this series, I highlighted three consumer trends that will stick around: local goes social, personalization goes high-tech and the dissolving of lines of distribution. This article focuses on three ways to activate mobile before year-end to create localized, personalized interactions that lead to sales.

APPS
  • 29% of mobile users are open to scanning a mobile tag to get coupons, which can be used instantaneously in-store. (1)
  • A survey from Consumer Reports National Research Center shows about 40% of subscribers use their phone to see whether a product was being sold elsewhere for less, or checked promotions and coupon codes. (2)
  • Apple recently launched a new category in its App Store called "Shopping," which makes it easier for users to find retailers' apps.

Smart Shopping Expert Trae Bodge added, “As we head into a future that includes almost total adoption of smart devices, consumers will expect to be able to engage with their favorite beauty brands, and discover new ones, all from their smart device of choice. Brands should be thinking in these terms and incorporating mobile into their business model, whether it's with a proprietary app, such as Skin Authority's My Skin Authority; by having a presence on a retailer's app, similar to Sephora or Ulta; or getting involved with an app like ShadeScout. [Just as] social media has become fully intertwined with the way we do business, so now will mobile.”

Mobile can best be used in-store via:

  • Alerting shoppers through notifications, such as, “Receive a special gift today with purchase”
  • Pointing them toward products you want them to see while they are on-site
  • Training employees to coach customers to download your app when they are on-site. And send push notifications for instant gratification

Three apps you may want to consider adding to your business:

  • Shopify allows retailers to set up an online store to sell goods. It lets you organize products, customize your storefront, accept credit card payments, and track and respond to orders, all with a few clicks.
  • The Collect app uses rewards to encourage people to shop and tell their friends about your business. Collect allows owners to create personalized rewards based on each customer’s shopping history and sends push notifications to connect with users wherever they are.
  • The Boutique Window app integrates with your Shopify account and enables easy sharing of merchandise ideas wherever shoppers are via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
FACEBOOK MESSENGER

Hyatt is being touted as one of the first brands to successfully use Facebook Messenger. More than 700 million people currently use Messenger each month and the popularity of Facebook’s standalone app had a 40% growth spurt from 2014 to 2015. (3)

Businesses are using Facebook Messenger after realizing its potential as a communication channel for offering customer service and building personal relationships with mobile users. Execs with cloud-based customer service company Conversocial said Messenger may be used to have real-time chats with customers and even send transaction receipts.

Due to its millions of subscribers, Messenger can be viewed as a customer service channel. For example, if most of your customer traffic is directed to social media, Messenger can streamline customer requests and questions for employees.

Conversocial’s chief marketing officer Paul Johns suggests that brands, “Have a focus on near-immediate acknowledgment of the inbound message. Focus on resolving whatever issues you can in the channel—do not divert customers to another channel. Do not be tempted to script or auto-bot the dialogue. Keep the conversations as human as possible. This is an opportunity for brands to have real conversations.”

As more brands roll out concierge and coaching programs, and expect customers to interact via their smartphone, the Messenger app offers great opportunity. Before going full throttle with Messenger, you’ll want to have your team versed on social media and your key messages. I also suggest you assign staff who are very active on social media and are conscientious to reply quickly to posts.

YOUTUBE

Beauty brands are making an impact on YouTube. The video marketing company Pixability found that from January 2014 to April 2015, brand-produced beauty content on YouTube gained an impressive 78% monthly view increase. Additionally, 55% of beauty video views come from mobile devices.

When you are thinking of topics for videos, men’s grooming and beauty for people over 45 are often-viewed videos. For example, the Pixability report shows monthly video views of beauty content aimed at consumers over the age of 45 grew 62% faster than the overall YouTube beauty library. So-called crossover videos (which combine beauty with other topics, such as fashion) routinely attract 530% more views per video than beauty-only clips.

As you likely know, YouTube content is typically shot and edited via a smartphone. In 2016, you may want to consider adding video responsibilities to existing employees who are often on their phones or demonstrate a creative flair for video.

I’ll have more information on ways to use your video in my next article, as well as new ways to approach advertising and public relations. Have a wonderful holiday season. See you in January!

If you missed Celeste's first installment on high-tech shopping trends, click here to read it.

About the Author: With more than two decades in beauty, Celeste Hilling is a recognized media expert on the science of skin care and trends in technology. Based in Southern California, Hilling is also the founder, CEO and product formulator for Skin Authority. Skin Authority is the healthy skin lifestyle company utilizing technology to develop pure, powerful products and engaging consumer experiences. More on skinauthority.com, Facebook at Skin Authority, Twitter @SkinAuthority and @MissSkin.

Check out the first and third installments in this article series on high-tech shopping trends.

Sources:
1. Smart Insightshttp://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics...
2. Consumer Reportshttp://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2015/11/7-free-shopping-apps-tha...
3 - Luxury Dailyhttp://www.luxurydaily.com/how-brands-are-tapping-facebook-messenger-to-...

[Image courtesy of Skin Authority]