Whether it’s through a smartphone or tablet, mobile shopping is now an undeniable part of the retail experience for consumers and retailers of all sizes. As the retail space is transforming, new shopper behaviors crop up, and brands are recognizing the importance of a multi-channel approach with mobile at the forefront. For retailers, the explosive mobile shopping trend creates opportunities to engage with consumers outside of the retail store environment and beyond the traditional e-commerce experience, reaching them wherever they go through their various mobile devices. According to a recent Google finding, 85 percent of online shoppers start searching on one device, most often a mobile phone, and make a purchase on another, further highlighting the need for an omni-channel approach. Shoppers aren’t just purchasing via mobile channels, they are turning to mobile devices to become inspired while they shop.
A recent eMarketer report predicted mobile commerce will reach $37 billion in 2013, indicating how critical it is that retailers position their brands digitally within this burgeoning marketplace. Unlike big-box retailers, independent retailers might not have the internal capacity to develop mobile assets like optimized sites or apps, and are frequently looking for cost-effective ways to have a presence on these new channels, while staying true to their core brand.
Amazon and Google see the need to provide retailers with an omni-channel marketplace, reaching their shoppers on multiple touch points. Another example is CoffeeTable, a top-ranked catalog shopping app for the iPad and iPhone. Ben Choi, CEO of CoffeeTable, says, “Independent retailers love working with us because we do all the heavy lifting for them. We provide high-touch service and each retailer has a brand manager that drives every step, from digitizing catalog assets, to mapping products to their data feed, to quality assurance, customer service and post mortem analytics.”
Retailers of any size select a campaign appropriate for their marketing needs, and drive customer acquisition and engagement. With sites like Pinterest and apps like CoffeeTable, retailers have the opportunity to act as a discovery engine for shoppers to both engage with trusted brands as well as discover new boutiques. “Prospecting is critical for independent retailers, who are always looking for ways to grow their engaged customer base,” Choi observes. “By guaranteeing engagement with the retailer’s catalog, CoffeeTable provides a significant channel for increasing brand exposure and sending new, highly qualified users, to a retailer’s website.”
Given consumers’ increasingly mobile behavior, retailers must take advantage of today’s technology and the vast big data available to make more insightful decisions when it comes to overall strategies. “With CoffeeTable, brands are able to acquire real-time data and unprecedented insights about how shoppers engage with their products, and these analytics are critical to all retailers, especially independent retailers, who may not have access to co-op data or a multi-million shopper base to test with. CoffeeTable’s analytics dashboard helps retailers get access to that rich data without having to build a costly infrastructure in house,” adds Choi.
Retail partners can take this newfound data and learn how to correctly merchandise products in their catalogs. Whether it’s discovering what types of cover images work best with their consumers, or positioning products on the page, these unique insights can give retailers a leg up in a competitive and noisy marketplace. For independent keen to go mobile without spending massive budgets to build and market an app in-house, partnering with mobile commerce experts is a way to mitigate the risk of big, up-front costs and still get the reward of driving engagement with both new and existing customers.