By the end of the year, smartphones are expected to influence more than 32% of in-store retail sales in the U.S., signaling to companies the critical significance of a perfected mobile browsing and shopping experience.
The convergence of physical and digital retail environments should no longer be viewed as a suggested business strategy – rather, a necessity.
There are several strategies retailers can implement to optimize the mobile element of their multichannel operation and, in turn, help grow customer loyalty.
App downloads and usage often come from a company’s most loyal customers, and can be vital to fueling an enhanced experience. Recent research from Forrester proves The Home Depot and Sephora excel in this field.
In the study, Forrester reviewed nine leading U.S. retail apps for functionality and user experience. Most notably, The Home Depot best integrated its app with its in-store experience: once inside a store, customers can use the app to navigate aisles using visual item mapping data and inventory availability. Certain product pages offer out-of-the box features like augmented reality (AR), 360-degree views and video buying guides.
Sephora earned the second-highest score, due in part to its ability to “put the full power of its customer base right in the app.” Customers can post pictures, which other customers can use to find the best makeup for their look, skin tone and style. The in-app checkout experience also hits a high note, requiring customers to complete only two steps to finish the transaction.
While apps should be tailored to your most loyal customers, a mobile web (mWeb) experience should be built for everyone else. The mWeb approach aims to provide a great user experience for a multitude of customers that aren’t your most loyal – yet. In fact, companies often report higher traffic through this channel as non-loyal consumers browse and price check based on results from a browser search.
In these instances, mWeb effectively serves as a bridge between a new customer, an intermittent shopper and a loyal one. For this reason, coupled with the fact that mobile devices generated nearly half of global website traffic in the first quarter of 2019, a responsive mWeb experience is vital to a company’s mobile strategy.
Nearly 60% of shoppers today will make a purchase online (either through a smartphone or computer) after first seeing the item in store. It’s likely they browsed product reviews and competitor pricing online before making a purchase, too. In fact, recent research found 65% of consumers use online reviews to inform purchase decisions. Each of these mobile touchpoints is an opportunity for businesses to entice their customers with a frictionless experience.
Synergy across purchase devices, particularly in the form of shared shopping carts, is an example of a growing consumer demand in which more companies may begin to capitalize. By enabling a shared cart, shoppers could, for example, add an item seen in-store to their cart in a mobile app and later purchase from a computer. According to a recent report by Boston Retail Partners, 56% of customers prefer retailers that have a shared cart across channels, but only 7% of retailers offer that functionality.
A shared cart that carries a consumer’s preferred form of payment throughout their purchase journey, regardless of which channel they begin and end with, can be a real differentiator for retailers. By creating a consistent, cohesive and seamless experience for their customers across all channels, businesses will find themselves with an advantage in the marketplace.
This article originally appeared on PaymentsSource.