Mobile Metamorphosis: How to Win in the Changing World of Retail
Experts have long bemoaned the demise of brick-and-mortar retail. There's no denying consumers’ preference for mobile has incited a major shift in the retail landscape over the last decade. While skeptics talk a big game about the “retail apocalypse,” the current state of the retail industry couldn’t be further from a doomsday scenario, especially for retailers that understand the value of mobile. The numbers speak for themselves, as mobile retail sales are expected to outpace online desktop retail sales by 2020. As consumers’ preference for mobile reaches a tipping point, what will the future of retail really look like? Let’s take a look at the key trends in consumer engagement and mobile shopping, and what retailers can do to strengthen mobile commerce strategies in the years ahead.
Mobile Moves the Needle
Each month, Americans spend an average of about 70 hours on their smartphones. It’s no surprise, then, that the Ibotta 2018 Mobile Commerce Survey found that more than 40 percent are shopping less in physical retail stores today than they were just five years ago. To remain competitive, retailers must find a way to reach consumers where they are. Examining where, how and when customers engage in the shopping experience is key to mapping out the right mobile commerce strategy.
Offer Consumers a Deal
In order to win on mobile, brands must be clear about the value they create for the consumer. One way to do this is to offer incentives that bring both new users into the funnel and inspire existing customers to make incremental purchases. Interestingly, more than 90 percent of consumers feel like they receive better deals online than in-store. The brands that offer mobile incentives in the form of cash back, discounts, points, free shipping, etc., drive five times the conversion of those that don’t. To boot, they’re often able to more accurately measure the impact of these promotions, which in turn allows retailers to better understand shoppers’ purchasing intent.
Convenience is King
Convenience, personalization and near-immediate gratification are also critical aspects of the consumer shopping journey. Forty percent of Ibotta’s Mobile Commerce Survey respondents cited convenience as one of the main reasons they choose to shop online rather than in-store. With this in mind, brands must work to ensure their customers are presented with a tailored and frictionless mobile experience so their shopping journey is intuitive, easy and relevant.
The Bottom Line
Retailers that curate a rewarding and personalized experience for their customers are teed up to win over the legions of consumers who increasingly prefer a mobile-first shopping experience. While the traditional brick-and-mortar landscape is certainly changing, retail itself continues to thrive through shopper-centric mobile innovation. The brands that implement the right mobile strategies now, and work to engage shoppers intelligently will be poised to effectively navigate shifts in consumer habits in the years ahead.
Chris Jensen is senior vice president of partnerships at Ibotta, the premier destination for rewarded shopping on mobile.