Why Retailers Need to Bridge Mobile and In-Store Communication
Has your brand thoroughly considered how consumers use mobile phones and in-store signage? More than half of consumers today use their mobile phones to help them shop in stores — rather than as a replacement for physical retail. This trend underscores the importance of a mobile strategy closely tied to in-store communication.
While 55 percent of shoppers use mobile phones in stores, there are generational divides in this methodology, according to Big Red Rooster’s latest survey. While 52 percent of Generation Z and 56 percent of millennials leverage their phones in stores to save money through discounts or coupons, only 25 percent of baby boomers do the same. Younger buyers offer a glimpse into an increasingly analog-meets-digital future.
Read the Signs
We often hear that people don’t read signs, but it’s a myth. In-store signage is still the favored way to assist with wayfinding, which only one-third of shoppers like to do on their phones. Across generations, roughly 90 percent of customers prefer that signage announces new or sale products, alongside other parts of the visual communication system like category adjacencies, product organization, visual merchandising, and packaging.
Patrons rarely bury their faces in their phones in-store. Instead, the phone is a tool along their shopping journey, and should be thought of as a complement to helpful signage.
Embracing the Analog/Mobile Mix
These findings underscore the need for retailers to bridge the gap between in-store communication and the mobile experience. While more retailers are experimenting with things like in-store QR codes that give customers access to mobile product reviews, it’s hardly mainstream for retailers to acknowledge and embrace mobile behavior. Savvy brands embrace both as parts of the “phygital” communication hierarchy at every stage in the buying journey.
Take Burberry’s social retail store in Shenzhen, which touches on the awareness and engagement phases. The concept takes interactions from social media and brings them into a physical retail environment. Through a dedicated WeChat mini program, consumers can unlock exclusive content and personalized experiences and share them with their followers.
Albertsons partnership with Pinterest and Vestcom allows shoppers to scan a tag next to the price of a product. That takes them to Albertsons’ Pinterest page, where the recipe features the signature product and other ingredients available at Albertsons.
Further down the funnel, the body-care brand LUSH has two stores in Asia where an augmented reality (AR) app can scan products, giving users detailed ingredient information and “how to use” demonstrations. There’s also the Allure Store, an experiential beauty store curated by Allure Magazine. It uses AR capabilities that enable customers to try on products virtually and QR codes that drive them to multimedia content where they can learn more about a product.
Emily Albright Miller is senior vice president, strategy at Big Red Rooster, a JLL company.
Related story: How QR Codes Are Driving the Customer Experience
Over the course of my career, I have stayed focused on one principle – great strategy starts with a consumer obsession. My background as a brand strategist, global marketer and consumer researcher provides me with the foundation necessary to design breakthrough innovation and connected experiences that deliver brand and business growth.